Many lawyers use the terms “attorney/client confidentiality” interchangeably with “attorney/client privilege”, which is erroneous. The terms have very different applications..


What are attorney/client confidences?

Model Rule 1.6 sets forth the general rule that attorneys are required to preserve confidential client information. The Comment to Rule 4-1.6 states that a "fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client's informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation." Attorney/client confidences must also be preserved even after termination of the representation and the death of the client.


What is the attorney/client provilege?

The Florida Evidence Code, Chapter 90.502 (4)(b) and (d) delineates the statutory evidentiary privilege and sets forth those circumstances under which a party may refuse to reveal information which is protected by the attorney/client privilege. The same information may also be (and usually is) attorney/client confidential.



Even if information is not covered by privilege, it may still be confidential. Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer may also be compelled to reveal the information regardless of whether it is privileged or confidential. Although the use of the terms "lawyer-client confidentiality" and "lawyer-client privilege may often be used interchangeably, they are very different in concept, scope, and application.