February 20, 2023

The Ethical Obligation to Preserve the Attorney-Client Privilege

Written By

Shannon “A.J.” Singleton
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

The attorney-client privilege itself is not a legal ethics rule; rather, it is an evidentiary rule that shares as its core principle the importance of an attorney maintaining client confidences. Because we lawyers have an ethical duty to maintain the confidentiality of information relating to the representation of our clients, the two concepts necessarily overlap.

But what is our duty when we receive a subpoena requesting production of our client’s file? What duty do we have to keep abreast of changes in technology that may affect our ability to maintain client confidences? And what should we explain to clients, at the outset of a representation, about what the attorney-client privilege means (and does not mean) and about how easily the privilege can be waived?


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