I have a friend who is using her attorney for tax issues. Her attorney is also good with general litigation and some criminal matters. Generally speaking, are consultation or pre-retainer conversations or other correspondence protected under attorney client privilege? For example if I send an email or give a brief phone call with an overview of what the criminal charges are, could the police seize that communication and later use it against me?
This is an accidental double post of http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/are-consultations-covered-under-attorney-client-pr-1269288.html
Domestic Violence Lawyer
You bet they are!!! When you consult with an attorney, you can count on your information remaining private.
Nothing discussed should be taken as legal advice. Posting details of your case on an open forum could be used against you, so use extreme caution. The best way to get legal advice is to consult privately with an attorney.
Family Law Attorney
Yes, they are covered under privilege, unless the client signs a waiver discharging the privilege.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Absolutely - the fact that a person has not paid the lawyer anything does not mean that the conversation is anything but confidential as though you had been a paying client.
But that means all the regular things must apply - the conversation must have been relating to the attorney-client relationship, the conversation must have been had in a confidential setting, etc.
If your next-door neighbor is a lawyer and you see him at the store and loudly say "Hey Jim - I bought some cocaine this weekend - want to buy some?", this will not be a confidential communication.