By Jedidiah McKeehan
One of the most important and secretive relationships in the world is that of an attorney and their client. An attorney can almost never divulge what a client tells to them to anyone.
Even though communications between an attorney and their client are considered, “privileged,” I have found that some clients will lie to their attorney, or hide information from their attorney, even though the communications are privileged. When this happens, this almost always ends up hurting the client’s case in the long run. That is because the information that is hidden from the attorney ends up coming out somehow, and the attorney cannot adequately prepare to respond to that information because they did not know about it ahead of time.
One thing that can destroy the attorney-client privilege is when there is a third party in the room. So, if you take your boyfriend or your mother to your attorney’s office to speak about your case, then having that person there can destroy the attorney-client privilege and that third party can potentially be forced to testify about what was discussed during the meeting. That third party is not a client of the attorney.
It is important to note that even if you do not hire an attorney, simply consulting with them can create an attorney-client privilege. So, if you go to meet with an attorney for a consultation, but do not hire them; what you tell them is still protected by the attorney-client privilege.
There are a few rare exceptions to the privilege going in to effect. If someone is saying they are going to kill someone, then you have the ability to warn the person whose life is being threatened.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.