What is Attorney-Client Privilege?
Attorney-client privilege is a pillar of our judicial system. In a nutshell, the attorney-client privilege ensures that all the information a client gives an attorney will remain confidential and that the attorney will not reveal the information without the client’s permission. There are some qualifiers to this, such as that the information must be given with the expectation that the attorney will give the person legal services.
The attorney-client privilege allows clients to discuss their legal problems with their attorneys and trust that their attorneys will not disclose or reveal anything that they would not want them to. In fact, Florida attorneys are bound by their ethical rules of conduct to keep their client’s information secret, except in certain specific situations.
Without this age-old and valuable privilege, clients would not feel free to talk candidly with their attorneys and attorneys would not be able to properly advise their clients because they would not have all the relevant information about a case. Privilege has lasted as long as it has because it is essential to our legal system.
Below is a quick overview of the attorney-client privilege in Florida.
What the Attorney-Client Privilege Covers
Florida’s law on attorney-client privilege can be found in Florida Statutes 90.502. The law is quite broad in what it deems to be attorney-client privilege-protected. Under the law, the attorney-client privilege in Florida covers all communications between:
The client’s attorney
The attorney’s employees who help with the client’s legal representation
Those who are reasonably necessary to facilitate the transmission of the information (translators, office employees, etc.)
The privilege covers both oral and written communications, which means that clients can feel confident that emails, texts, letters, phone conversations, and other means of communication will be kept confidential between them and their attorneys.
What Attorney-Client Privilege Does Not Cover
Despite how broad this privilege is, there are situations in which communications between clients and attorneys are not covered. For instance, the privilege does not protect information communicated to help the client plan or commit a crime or fraud. The justice system does not want its attorneys acting as agents to crimes that will happen in the future, but the justice system does want lawyers to be able to advise their clients about what the client may have done in the past.
A word of caution about attorney-client privilege: The information that is protected is the information that is shared between the client and the attorney. That means that you should always be careful with whom you share this information. Because sharing it with someone else could mean that it is no longer protected. As a result, you should be careful about copying anyone on an email between you and your lawyer, and ensure that no one is present that should not be during a conversation between you and your lawyer.
An Attorney You Can Trust
AtThe Pittman Firm we take the attorney-client privilege very seriously. We know how important it is to your case, and you can be sure that the information you share with us will remain confidential. Our firm is dedicated to giving you the best representation possible. If you have been injured in an accident in the Panama City area, contact us. We will evaluate your case and provide you with your legal options.