Lawyers deal with sensitive information every day. You’ve probably heard the term attorney-client privilege before, but what exactly does this mean?
Lawyers are fiduciaries, so they owe it to their clients to act in their best interests. Part of this includes adhering to strict rules on confidentiality.
Examples of breaches
If you’re going through a court case, it’s likely that your lawyer will advise you not to discuss the details on social media or anywhere online. Well, the same principles apply to them. In a world where data exchanges hands online at the click of a button, this is an even more pressing issue. Your attorney should not discuss your case with anyone outside of you, your legal team or the court.
Exceptions to the rule
There are some exceptions to the rules on confidentiality. For instance, if the relevant information is already in the public domain, then an attorney may be entitled to discuss it.
Also, if there is a legitimate public interest in the information being shared, then a lawyer may have a duty to do this. For instance, if a person indicated that they were planning to commit a crime, then a lawyer should pass this information on to the authorities. Additionally, if the life or well-being of an individual is at stake, there may be a duty to pass this information on.
Confidentiality during legal cases is extremely important. If a lawyer has been negligent in sharing sensitive information and it has damaged your case, then this could be classified as legal malpractice. Seeking further guidance on the matter will give you a better idea of what your options are.