Concepts of Attorney-Client Privilege

In any law practice, the confidentiality of information forms an integral part of solving legal cases amicably. Legal stakeholders ought to keep their information confidential and above board so that, third parties do not take the privilege of it and ruin their motives. Attorney-client privilege is a situation that sees clients and lawyers conceal confidential communications to third parties. The right, which is an evidentiary rule, prohibits third parties from compelling clients or lawyers to provide additional information made by them and believed to be confidential. The privilege is important in that, it cultivates open, forthright, and unrestrained communication discussed between the client and the lawyer. In any legal system, the attorney-client privilege serves as a fundamental identity whose role is to preserve individual rights as depicted in the American judicial system. (Rice, 1999, p.1).

Nevertheless, lawyers need information from clients so that they can analyze clients’ needs useful in judicial proceedings although at will and secrecy. Historically, this fundamental right to information disclosure started in ancient Rome. The constitution disallowed governors refereeing to advocates as witnesses, as the governors were bound to lose buoyancy in their lawyers. Later on, in 1577, England adopted this right and named it attorney-client privilege under English common law. Under the English common law, the attorney-client privilege ensured confidentiality of communications between the client and the attorney, despite whether the client and attorney took their discussions in public or private. Consequently, the privilege spread to other countries, including the United States that codified it in 1776 in what was then, the first American constitution. ( (Rice, 1999, pp.2-4).

Although the privilege is old, many jurisdictions around the world seem to respect it. The only contention about the attorney-client privilege is that it prevents the release of further information that would have been beneficial to legal proceedings. Perhaps this is the reason why; courts become cautious when handling such cases. Some courts demand explicit demonstrations before the privilege assumes primacy. For example, in the United States, the attorney-client privilege has proved a bedrock principle of justice within the judicial system for years.

Sometimes, confidentiality can be a problem, especially among corporate organizations. For instance, in a scenario where the client or clients are corporations, it might be hard to establish who will speak on behalf of the corporation and assume the attorney-client privilege. This has made some courts identify upper management as the one responsible for asserting attorney-client privilege. On the other hand, majority courts have argued that any assertion of the privilege is a prerogative that belongs to corporation directors, senior officers, members of the board, or even employees provided; the employee has permission from senior management of the corporation. (Michmerhuizen, 2010, Para. 1-13).

Nevertheless, it does not matter who the client is, as the attorney-client privilege is a right that safeguards the interest of the client and not the attorney. Clients have the right to prevent attorneys from divulging their secrets. For instance, the attorney-client privilege thwarts attorneys from releasing client information to third parties like the police, giving evidence in court, or releasing information to third parties. This makes the privilege beneficial to clients who might feel insecure to release secret information, which might result in a waiver. The attorney-client privilege is a beneficial constitutional right aimed at providing justice to clients. In the United States, the privilege, which the Supreme Court document, has been a central figure towards the realization of justice. This is because; any disclosure of information especially to third parties might endanger the life of the client. (Epstein, 2001, pp. 8-32).

Legal experts do argue that attorney-client privilege is one entity within the justice system, which perks up legal access through creating new channels. For example, inaccessibility of legal counsel sires conviction that trounces or waivers court cases. In most cases, most court cases that fail to reach fruition occur because of aloofness of legal knowledge and advice. Therefore, clients or defendants need legal advice, which will assure their communication confidentiality. Some clients have feared that, if their information reaches other parties, it might turn to hunt them. That is why; there should be a constitutional right in form of a privilege, which will ensure the confidentiality of their communications whether verbal or written. So far, many people regard attorney-client privilege as a fundamental right towards discretion. For years now, the attorney-client privilege has been a fundamental right, which ensures every client access legal advice hence, and fair dealing egalitarianism. (Rice, 1999, pp. 8-11).

It will be hard for people to communicate with lawyers if attorney-client privilege did not exist. This is because; many of them will fear victimization. Even in a situation where the client is the one in the hunt for legal advice out of willingness, they might be reluctant and dishonest to their lawyers if this legal privilege does not exist in our judicial system. However, with the privilege in place, clients can provide communications to lawyers who will prepare for defense, and yet, the information communicated remains confidential.

In conclusion, America should keep the attorney-client privilege in the judicial system because; the privilege allows openness or candor only when it is necessary. Even if clients decide to give their secret communication, the law bars attorneys from releasing it to third parties, lest the legal case is waivered.

Reference List

Epstein, E. (2001). The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work-Product Doctrine. (4th ed.). Chicago: American Bar Association.

Michmerhuizen, S. (2010). Confidentiality, Privilege: A Basic Value in Two Different Applications. Web.

Rice, R. (1999). Attorney-Client Privilege. Web.

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1. LawBirdie. "Concepts of Attorney-Client Privilege." August 18, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Concepts of Attorney-Client Privilege." August 18, 2023.