Dear YouDig? Making Jack Talk – The Attorney Client Privilege

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC
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Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC

Dear YouDig?,

I am dealing with a very sensitive problem related to a large project. Someone on our team may have (and I emphasize MAY) done something that could put us in jeopardy. I don’t like to hire lawyers. Who does? I am not sure I can trust anyone to help solve this problem. This time I need to have a candid discussion about our risks and my sense is I shouldn’t fly solo. Can I trust that what I tell my attorney stays between us? What is the “attorney client privilege” in the real world? I can’t afford any leaks on this one.

– Jack in the Trick Box

Dear Jack,

As the problem springs up on you, trust your instincts. Sure, no one wants to be in a trick box. A good lawyer will help identify it, triage it and help you get out of it. You understand risk and reward. The longer you are out there dealing with the issue alone, the faster the risks will increase. The problem will escalate exponentially. So, Jackie boy … go to your counsel on this one. If your counsel is not in tune with whatever “it” is, ask for a referral. The attorney client privilege is a key asset to help you solve your problems.

There are many legal nuances and differing views on the scope of the attorney client privilege in different states. In a nutshell though, the attorney client privilege protects from discovery (that means keeps secret) everything you tell or prepare for your attorney. It also protects from discovery everything your attorney tells or prepares for you. That is, it’s to be kept secret and no one can make you testify about what is between you and your attorney. Like most things, this can be messed up by you, your team or your attorney. All conversations and documents must be between and among only YOU (and your team) and the attorney. That includes emails and copies or blind copies of emails. Text threads? … don’t add any third parties. Once you get third parties involved in conversations or creation of documents you have with your attorney, there is a good chance the other side can discover that intelligence and spring it on you as they wish, Jack? YouDig?

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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