Conversations and communications between you and your attorney are covered by what is known as the attorney-client privilege. Privilege attaches to such conversations and communications so that you and your lawyer can freely discuss your matters without being judged and without hesitation, amongst other reasons.
To be entitled to the protection of the attorney-client privilege, a claimant must show that:
(1) a statement originated in confidence that it would not be disclosed
(2) it was made to an attorney acting in his legal capacity for the purpose of securing legal advice or services; and
(3) it remained confidential.
See Pietro v. Marriott Senior Living Servs., 348 Ill. App. 3d 541, 551 (1st Dist. 2004).
The policy underlying the attorney-client privilege is to encourage full and frank consultation between a client and his attorney by removing the fear of compelled disclosure of information. See People v. Jacobson, 119 Ill. App. 3d 103, 104 (1st Dist. 1983). Strict confidentiality, promoted by permanent protection from disclosure, is the very essence of the existence of the attorney-client privilege; it is also the basis for allowing such communications complete exemption from discovery.Jacobson, 119 Ill. App. 3d at 104. Privileged communications are at the instance of the client permanently protected from discovery. Id. at 105.
On the other hand, if a conversation, for example, took place in a crowded elevator, or if you went and told a co-worker afterward what was said, then the communication may not be privileged because it wasn’t confidential.
Another key point is that the privileged conversation has to generally be for the purpose of giving legal advice, and the advice can’t be used to further or cover up a crime. While this might all sound pretty straightforward, application of this privilege can come up in very unexpected ways – and sometimes in matters years down the road that you couldn’t possibly envision at the time you made the statements.
You can contact us here 24/7/365 if you have any questions and to learn how we may be able to help you analyze your particular situation. Most importantly, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.