Client Confidentiality Essay

1492 words - 6 pages

    In order for attorneys to effectively represent their clients rules govern how and what information is gathered, used, and stored or destroyed. The unit three seminar discusses the rules that regulate these things during and after the representation of a client. There are several systems in place that protect clients and their confidential information from being misused by those who are involved in their cases and legal matters. The duty of confidentiality, attorney/client privilege, and the work product privilege are the topics discussed during this seminar for the purpose of teaching the differences between them all as well as how each works and for what purpose.
    The duty of confidentiality refers to attorneys and their duty to keep their clients confidential information confidential. Clients must have some guarantee that lawyers will not divulge any of their confidential information so that they are able to seek early legal assistance and the duty of confidentiality allows them to do so. This duty also allows the client to feel secure when consulting with an attorney so that the attorney is able to gather all the necessary information needed to provide effective representation. Confidential information is all information that relates to the representation of a client no matter where the information comes from (Orlik, D. Ethics for the Legal Professional. Pp. 80). Even if the information is known publicly it is considered confidential to the attorney and their agents if it is information that relates to the representation of their client.
    Attorneys and their agents are bound by the duty of confidentiality to their clients forever. This means after the case is closed and even after client has passed away. The exception to this rule is when discussing the confidential information with the legal professionals who are included in the need-to-know circle. This circle includes the supervising attorney, others who work on the case with you, clerks, and paralegals or legal assistants. Unless the client gives written consent, the confidential information is being discussed within the need-to-know circle, or the attorney is undergoing psychiatric care in order to discuss their feelings about the case lawyers and their agents must keep the duty of confidentiality no matter what, forever. The exception under psychiatric care allows the lawyer to speak freely about a case without compromising the client due to the doctors duty of confidentiality to the attorney and this ensures that the client and their confidential information remains protected.
    The attorney/client privilege is a rule of evidence that protects the client from having their lawyer divulge their secrets while under oath. This means that the lawyer can not be called to testify against their client in court. This privilege is held by the client but it is kept by the attorney. The information protected by this privilege is limited by who knows it and where it comes from and...

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