What are the exceptions to attorney-client privilege?

The protections afforded to you through attorney-client privilege have been previously detailed on this blog. The intent of this privilege is to ensure that any information you share is used only to advance your own interests, rather than benefitting a Jacksonville attorney in some way. There are, however, certain exceptions to this concept, some of which are inherent and others that are defined by the state. 

Attorney-client privilege protects any information that you share with an attorney. Information derived from other sources, as well as the products of an attorney's work (e.g., case notes, research results, recorded thoughts and observations) do not have the same protection. They may be protected by the doctrines of ethical duty of client-lawyer confidentiality or work product protection, yet that may not stop an attorney from being compelled to share them by way of a court order. 

The Florida Bar Association has also listed scenarios where an attorney must and may reveal information without your consent. He or she must disclose anything that may prevent you from committing a crime or will prevent death or harm befalling another. An attorney also may share information in any of the following situations: 

  • To serve your best interests (unless you have expressly forbidden it)
  • To defend him or herself from any action that may arise between the two of you
  • To defend him or herself from any criminal charges he or she may face from his or her association with you
  • To respond to claims of misconduct regarding his or her representation
  • To resolve conflicts of interest due to changes in his or her firm affiliation

Even in cases where he or she may or is compelled to share information, he or she can only share as much as is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the disclosure. 

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