Cases In Which The Attorney-Client Privilege May Be Suspended

As a general rule, it is illegal for your lawyer to disclose any information you share with them to any third party. Such information is guarded by attorney-client privilege. However, as is usually the case with legal issues, there are exceptions to this rule. Here are four situations in which it may be legal for your attorney to disclose the content of your confidential conversations:

You Seek Your Lawyer's Assistance with Crime

If you commit a crime and then contact a lawyer to assist you with its defense, then your communications are privileged. However, if you consult a lawyer before committing a crime, and ask him or her to assist you in its execution, then the information is not privileged. For example, if you request the assistance of a lawyer in evading tax, then your consultation will not be privileged information.

Your Legal Issue Involves a Common Interest with Another Party

This issue arises when an attorney represents more than one person (or legal entity) in a single legal issue. In this case, you aren't supposed to invoke the right of attorney-client privilege to deny the other party's information about the case.

Consider a situation in which, together with a colleague, you have been accused of embezzling your employer's funds. Suppose you engage a defense lawyer to represent both of you, and later fallout occurs and you decide to get different legal representatives. In this case, neither of you can use attorney-client privilege to deny the other information about the embezzlement charges.

You Pass Away

There are also cases where your attorney may be forced to reveal information about your legal issues after your death. For example, an attorney that was handling your estate may be forced to reveal your discussions to your heirs if they (the heirs) disagree and contest the will. In such a case, your attorney will not keep the information from your heirs under the guise of attorney-client privilege.

You Have Terrorism Information

You may also lose your attorney-client privilege if you have talked or plan to talk about possible terrorist threats with your lawyer. The Patriot Act gives the Department of Justice the power to listen to conversations between you and your attorney if he or she reasonably suspects that you may reveal terrorist threats to the nation.

This means you should never fear to be honest with your attorney because the information you share with them isn't likely to hurt you. As you can see from the exceptions above, the exceptions to attorney-client privilege aren't everyday events. All the same, you can discuss with your attorney the potential repercussions you may face if your conversations are heard by third parties. 

For an attorney, contact a law firm such as Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC