How Much Should I Tell My Attorney?

Clients often fear that if the attorney representing them knows all of the negative facts of the case, it would cause the attorney to judge the client and perhaps be disappointed with the client. Many times the client believes that since negative facts cannot help the case, they do not need to be disclosed to the attorney. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

Attorneys do not take cases to judge their clients, and they need to know ALL of the facts surrounding a case in order to properly protect the client and provide the best possible representation. No fact is too small or too unimportant. It is always better to tell the attorney more rather than less. The attorney arms him or herself with the law AND the facts. You would not want to take your own attorney’s ammunition away.

Because of the need for FULL disclosure, the law creates an attorney-client privilege of confidentiality. This is a fancy way of saying that anything the client tells the attorney as part of the representation has to be kept confidential. The attorney is not permitted to disclose the client’s information without the client’s approval. (Note that certain specific and very limited exceptions do apply).

The confidentiality rule applies to actual communications by the client AND to ALL INFORMATION, in whatever form and from whatever source, so long as it relates to the representation. The confidentiality of the client is so important that the rule continues to be in effect, even after the representation is concluded. In addition, if an attorney is ever forced to reveal confidential information by a court or rule of professional conduct, the attorney is required to limit the amount of information to the smallest amount necessary to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure.

In order to properly represent a client, an attorney may need to discuss a case with other attorneys and staff within the office. Attorneys and staff, in the same office, all fall under the same umbrella of confidentiality. The confidential nature of an attorney’s representation of a client should always be taken very seriously.

The safeguard provided by the attorney client confidentiality allows the client to be honest with the attorney and not be afraid that saying “the wrong thing” will cause additional troubles. An attorney who is fully informed will have a much better chance of obtaining a positive result for the client than the attorney who is surprised to learn that he or she only knows some of the information. There is little that can be done for the client who does not tell the attorney about the negative aspects of the case and is left with counsel who is unprepared to address key issues at the last-minute. For a FULL and frank discussion of your case contact Longwell Lawyers.

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