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Confidentiality and Duty to Client

One of the concerns of any potential new client is confidentiality. The client, or potential client, wants to know if what they tell the attorney is kept secret. In short, "YES!"

Texas Rules of Evidence provides that a client has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications made in the process of obtaining legal services. This includes in any information provided by the client to the attorney or the staff and representative of the attorney. In a criminal matter, like those I handle, the attorney is prevented from disclosing any fact that came to the knowledge of the attorney by reason of the attorney-client relationship.

As I tell my clients, and potential clients, "I cannot share anything you tell me unless it is to your benefit or I have your permission."

Why is this so important? Without trust, an attorney cannot effectively represent a client. The purpose of this privilege is to allow a client to speak freely and share all the information regarding their case with their attorney. Were it otherwise the client would be afraid to trust in legal counsel which causes difficulty in representation. The Texas Supreme Court has held that the reason for “the privilege is to ensure the free flow of information between attorney and client, ultimately serving the broader societal interest of effective administration of justice.” Republic Ins. Co. v. Davis, 856 S.W.2d 158, 160 (Tex. 1993).

Further, it is the duty of the attorney to convey any and all information which could be used against a client in court. An attorney owes no duty of confidentiality to anyone but their client in a criminal matter.

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