Is confidentiality between attorney and client absolute?

An important part of the attorney-client relationship in Florida, the U.S. and throughout the world is the rule of confidentiality of information. It says that a lawyer should have full and informed consent from the client before disclosing information related to the client’s representation. 

In response to the recent FBI raid on the offices of President Trump’s personal attorney, The Washington Post quoted the U.S. leader as saying “Attorney-client privilege is dead.” Is that true?

In actuality, there is no absolute protection with any such legal privilege. The confidentiality privilege encourages trust between attorney and client and provides the attorney with the information needed to effectively represent the client.

While its purpose is to keep the scales of justice balanced by ensuring a fair court system, the rule cannot be used to circumvent the system by hiding criminal proceedings. This component of the rule is known as the crime-fraud exception, which says that exchanges with a lawyer that are meant to aid in the commission of crimes are not protected.

To be clear, a client can certainly speak to an attorney about their role in criminal acts and this communication is indeed privileged and protected. What a client cannot do is use conversations with a personal attorney to help commit future or ongoing crimes. Furthermore, clients should know that the only information that is protected by the rule are those communications aimed at obtaining legal advice.

The American Bar Association offers another instance in which the confidentiality rule does not apply, which is when another’s life or physical injury is in jeopardy or will be in the future. In these instances, attorneys may disclose information necessary to prevent harm.

The confidentiality principle is supported by related regulations protecting attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. These rules shield an attorney from being legally compelled to testify or produce evidence against his client. The confidentiality rule also applies to all information, no matter where it comes from, that relates to the representation of the client.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy



Jacksonville Office
1300 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Toll Free: 866-542-1996
Phone: 904-396-1996
Fax: 904-396-1991
Map & Directions

Miami Office
1395 Brickell Avenue
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-200-8674
Phone: 305-200-8675
Fax: 305-200-8801
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach - By Appointment Only
301 Clematis Street
Suite 300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 561-832-5991
Fax: 561-832-5985
Map & Directions

Panama City Office
305 Cherry Street
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-481-1386
Fax: 850-640-1247
Map & Directions

Tampa Office
10150 Highland Manor Drive
Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33610

Fax: 813-314-2163
Map & Directions