Are Lawyer Consultations Confidential?
Have you wondered if lawyer consultations are confidential? Have you wanted to know what happens to the information you provide a law firm during the consultation process? There are many rules attorneys need to follow when being retained by a client. In this post we will explain a few of them.
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Every Law Firm Operates By The State’s Bar Association
Each state is different regarding the confidentiality of information a client is to give an attorney during a consultation. Every attorney has an ethics guideline they are required to keep to be within good standing with the bar association.
If you are having a consultation with an attorney, the information is and should be confidential. Law firms such as Barkemeyer Law Firm of Louisiana take extreme care in handling clients’s information. In addition, they consider their moral and ethical standards to be a defining asset for their Louisiana law firm.
You can take a look at their criminal defense law firm on this page here. Here you’ll see their reviews which support the fact that they are a very reputable criminal law firm. Barkemeyer Law Firm handles client confidentiality with high importance and should be considered if you are facing any criminal charges!
So why don’t we now move on and answer your important question: “Are lawyer consultations confidential”. In the remainder of this post, we’ll go over important information to help you determine how to handle your next lawyer consultation. In addition we hope to remove some of the worry that may be associated with it.
Most attorney’s offer a consultation to potential clients. They do this to determine if the case is a fit for the law firm and one for which they are interested in being retained. In addition, during the consultation process, payment and pricing options are carefully laid out. This is done so that the client is aware of charges in hiring a law firm for representation.
In the consultation process it is a time where the attorney and client need to determine if the fit for them is correct to proceed with the attorney being retained. Each attorney does a consultation differently with their clients and can be changed depending on the type of law being practiced. For criminal attorneys for example, their consultation process may be quite different from a divorce lawyer or another type of attorney. However the goal of the consultation is always the same. To collect information in order to get background and determine if the case and the law firm are a fit.
Information Given To An Attorney
Each client should be mindful of how much information is given to the attorney or staff during a consultation. If you do not feel comfortable with the attorney, do not release any information. While attorney client information is confidential, you need to trust your instincts and be able to have an honest conversation that you feel comfortable with.
There are times when an attorney will contact another attorney to give them a referral if they are not able to handle the case for the client. In addition, they may do this if they need to get more information to see if they are able to represent you with your issue. However, this should all be laid out to the client and fall within the code of ethics the attorney has committed to.
As the attorney who is representing the criminal it is important that they are aware of every detail from the current charges to any history the client has had. This helps to ensure the best resolution for the client.
Every detail which an attorney can use to help defend his client will come into play. This is an important factor in why the consultation process is imperative. Consultations enable the client to give all the information to the attorney and are intended to be a confidential and very helpful process to both client and attorney.
Diverse Ways Consultations Are Handled
There are diverse ways a criminal attorney is able to do a consultation process. Many criminal attorneys offer free consultations. Some may charge a fee that can be applied to representation.
Certain law firms have trained their intake coordinator to be able to screen calls in order to determine if the client is a fit for the attorney or the criminal law firm. This ensures a more streamlined process overall and is a good sign if you are interviewing a law firm for representation.
As a client you want to be sure that not only is the consultation confidential, but that the lawyer has worked with individuals facing similar charges. There’s a lot to take note of during the intake process that you can use to determine whether an attorney is a fit for your case and ultimately your future.
Information Obtained Prior To The Consultation
Prior to your consultation, certain information will likely be obtained. If you have an intake person who is setting up the consultation, there is some basic information they will want prior to meeting with an attorney.
Here are some of the basics an intake coordinate might ask you for:
History of Charges
If the intake coordinator does gather the information, it will free up the attorney’s time so that they can focus on the important things when meeting with a client. In addition it will provide some background information for the attorney to try to identify some easy wins. Finally, taking the basic information beforehand will also weed out clients and attorneys who are not a fit for one another and help the client and the attorney not waste his or her time.
Scheduling The Consultation
Once the intake coordinator has obtained the information, they will be able to speak with the attorney to determine if they want to schedule a consultation with the client. If the attorney does want a time scheduled, then the intake coordinator is able to schedule a time on the attorney’s calendar to ensure the attorney/client are able to have a consultation which is beneficial to both.
Another way an attorney is able to determine if they should set up a consultation with a client is similar to the above process. A potential client will fill out information needed and the attorney can quickly scan the information to determine eligibility for a consultation.
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Some things that may impact whether an attorney will want to work with a client include:
- History of representing similar charges
- Ethical and moral integrity regarding the case
- Ability for the client to pay for the level of representation needed
- If it is a case the attorney includes in his/her practice areas
- Current schedule
Please note that the information the intake coordinator is also protected by client/attorney privilege and shall not be discussed with anyone. If an attorney is caught disclosing information regarding a client or potential client, they can lose their right to practice law.
Important Questions To Ask An Attorney During The Consultation
Here are some important questions you may want to ask an attorney during the consultation processs.
QUESTION 1: Is all of the information I’m giving you confidential? Or will anyone else, including other law firms, be privy to my information?
QUESTION 2: Have you represented similar charges?
QUESTION 3: What outcome do you expect if you take on my case?
QUESTION 4: What outcome do you expect if I do not have the representation of a law firm?
QUESTION 5: How frequently do you represent similar cases?
Conclusion: Are Lawyer Consultations Confidential
Each attorney will keep information regarding the client within their system to ensure if the client were to contact them back, the attorney will be able to provide them with their information. Each physical file is not required to be held by the attorney more than 10 days if they have a cloud-based system of where they are able to print the physical file.
Clients do not need to be concerned if their information is being kept confidential due to the consequences each attorney would face by not keeping this information private. It is like a HIPPA law in the medical profession, where doctors are not able to release the information about their clients to others.
Clients should not feel too concerned when they are contacting an attorney for a consultation regarding their case being kept confidential. Most attorneys are aware of the importance of this for each client they speak with.
Understanding if they do release information regarding the client, there will be circumstances which not only have a negative effect on their career but also their reputation as an attorney. One of the worst scenarios an attorney can experience is having their reputation be unfavorable or for clients to not feel they are a reputable attorney.
We hope that this has answered your question are lawyer consultations confidential and wish you all the best with your case.