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Attorney-client privilege applies to email services

| Mar 14, 2018 | Legal Malpractice |

As you may know from watching movies or television, attorney-client privilege gives attorneys a chance to know everything about a case from a client’s perspective without the client risking the attorney turning them in. The attorney can’t be asked to release anything said in confidence.

Many people communicate through email, though, and that isn’t as safe as the communications you’d have if you were talking to someone in person. Email messages travel through multiple computer systems before they’re delivered, even though it takes only seconds for them to arrive. During that time, there’s a chance that your email could be intercepted, making it easier for the other party to obtain the information in that email.

The real question to ask is if email is secure enough to qualify under the terms of attorney-client privilege. In normal communication, if there is a third party present, attorney-client privilege is waived.

Ethically, email still suggests an expectation of privacy, making it likely to maintain the attorney-client privilege. Federal law makes intercepting emails illegal. If that happens in your case, there may be a chance to pursue your own claim against the other party for criminal behavior.

Your attorney can talk to you more about the ways you can protect your right to attorney-client privilege. If you have documents you don’t want others to see, it’s generally in your best interest to deliver them in a secure fashion. Our website has more information on what you can do if you lose your right to attorney-client privilege because of the negligence or mistakes of a past attorney.