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6 Tips to Understanding Lawyer-Client Relationships

Can your lawyer tell anyone the information you share with them? Do you have to disclose everything to your lawyer?  While relationships between clients and lawyers vary based on things like personality and how long they’ve known each other, Alberta lawyers have a legal duty to follow the Code of Conduct in all interactions with clients. To understand how these rules impact the lawyer-client relationship and what that might mean for you, keep on reading!

  • Are my conversations with my lawyer confidential? Lawyers have an ethical and legal duty to ensure that client information is kept in strict confidence. Put simply, a lawyer cannot share information about you or your claim without your consent. Breaking confidentiality is taken very seriously in the world of law and if a lawyer breaks client confidentiality, they could face serious consequences. According to the Code, lawyers owe a duty of loyalty to current clients, which includes the following:
    • the duty not to disclose confidential information;
    • the duty to avoid conflicting interests;
    • the duty of commitment to the client’s cause; and
    • the duty of candour with a client on matters relevant to the retainer.
  • What are the rules for speaking to my lawyer during Questioning? Questioning can be an important step towards reaching resolution in a lawsuit. During Questioning, you will be asked specific questions by the other party or their lawyer. During the process, you will be under oath and because of that, your lawyer is not allowed to respond on your behalf or make any comments that could sway your response while you are being Questioned. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry. Your lawyer will always prepare you in advance, so you’ll have a good idea of what to expect and what types of questions might be asked.
  • What can we talk about when we meet? Are current events and jokes off-limits? While there will always be legal matters to discuss with your lawyer, it’s perfectly acceptable to have casual conversation too! Some people may prefer to get straight to the legal facts, others like to be more personable – this ultimately depends on the personalities of the client and lawyer. In order to be good advocates and help our clients, we need to have open and honest communication with our clients. You should always feel comfortable speaking with your lawyer. At Litco Law, our lawyers are very personable, caring, and genuinely enjoy connecting with their clients.
  • Will my lawyer share details about my case with their family or friends? This falls under the rules of confidentiality that we discussed earlier. The Code states that “A lawyer should avoid indiscreet conversations and other communications, even with the lawyer’s spouse or family, about a client’s affairs and should shun any gossip about such things even though the client is not named or otherwise identified.” This is something that lawyers take very seriously. All the lawyers at Litco Law take their responsibilities very seriously and would not share a client’s personal information.
  • How honest should I be? In order for a lawyer to best represent you and your case, it’s important that you are honest and provide your lawyer with all relevant information. Your lawyer can best represent you if they can anticipate possible concerns before they arise. Ultimately, the outcome of a claim is often much better if your lawyer knows all the facts. It’s important to always be honest with your lawyer.
  • How secure are my medical documents and private information? Medical providers require your signed consent before they will release any documents to our firm. When we receive your documents, all your information is securely stored and only accessible by your legal team. Your personal information and medical records are some of the most important pieces of evidence for your claim. The rules around confidentiality ensure that this information stays within the parameters of the claim. As always, any information you choose to share with your lawyer can only be disclosed with your consent.

We hope this article answered any questions you might have had about lawyer-client confidentiality. Still have questions? Give us a call, anytime. Our caring team will ensure all your questions are answered, and it won’t cost you a thing!

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