Anytime a person hires an attorney and signs a retainer agreement an attorney-client relationship is created, and anything the client tells the attorney is privileged.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
My colleague is correct. The attorney-client privilege exists after the client formally retains an attorney to represent them and the privilege is not broken in some way (3rd parties involved in conversation, context of conversation, etc.). Privilege is covered under ethical rules governed by each state, so depending on the state you are in, attorneys have specific rules to abide by. Social Security Disability claims allow for non-attorney representatives to advocate on behalf of claimants seeking disability benefits, and in this instance, the privilege does not apply. It only applies to attorneys.
Any information obtained from this answer should not be treated as legal advice and in no way creates the existance, or appearance, of an attorney-client relationship.
Attorney client privilege is based on the sanctity of communications between an attorney and the client. It applies no matter what case is being handled. It does not apply to communications which are meant to be revealed or provided to their parties.
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As my colleagues have noted, attorney client privilege applies any time a client retains a lawyer. It does not matter what kind of case.
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Privilege attaches to all cases and is usually based on State Bar Rules. The law deciding social security claims is federal - but the law and rules governing each attorney is based on the laws, regulations and codes of conduct or code of professional responsibility bapplicable in the state(s) of their admission.
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.