In order to get the best possible representation and advice from your attorney, you need to be able to trust them with sensitive and confidential information related to your legal matter. The attorney-client privilege means that anything you tell your lawyer will remain between the two of you. Your attorney’s duty to keep your communications confidential can encourage you to be fully frank and honest with them.
This privilege is yours to hold onto or waive when necessary. With certain exceptions, your attorney cannot disclose what you tell them in conversations, voicemails, emails, text messages and other communications without your permission. Such a disclosure could seriously damage your case and might even be legal malpractice.
Proving attorney-client privilege
To show that an attorney-client privilege existed, you must prove four things:
- You were a client of the attorney in some capacity.
- The communications were to the attorney acting as your attorney.
- The communications must have been made in confidence for the purpose of obtaining legal services or an opinion (i.e., not to commit a crime or fraud).
- You must invoke your privilege without waiving it.
It is possible to waive the privilege by sharing your communications with a third party.
If you believe your lawyer damaged your case by purposely or carelessly breaching your confidence, you could have a claim for legal malpractice. Your lawyer owed you a duty of care, and if they breached that duty, you could be eligible for full compensation for the damages you suffered in your case. To find out for sure, consider speaking to an attorney who represents victims of legal malpractice.