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  1. #1
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    Default When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: NJ

    How much should you tell an attorney in the initial consolation? My assumption is (right or wrong) that you don't want to name parties involved until there is an attorney client relationship established.

    Should you redact the names in a contract before showing it to the attorney?

    It occurs to me that if you don't hire the attorney, they have no duty to keep the information confidential and could use it to obtain your adversary as a client.

  2. #2

    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    THe attorney/client relationship begins with, I want to talk to you about a legal situation. in private. It does not end if you do not hire the attorney. As long as you do not discuss a crime you are planning to commit, the attorney is bound by the attorney client privilege exists.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/atto...ient_privilege

    Prospective Clients
    Under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the attorney-client privilege exists for a potential client. Under Togstad v. Vesely, 291 N.W.2d 686 (1980), a non-client can claim to be a prospective client if: 1) the non-client seeks legal advice, 2) then the non-client reasonably relies on that advice as legal advice, and 3) the attorney does not attempt to dissuade the non-client from relying on the advice.

    If the non-client is considered a prospective client under Togstad, then the attorney-client privilege will extend to that prospective client.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: NJ

    How much should you tell an attorney in the initial consolation? My assumption is (right or wrong) that you don't want to name parties involved until there is an attorney client relationship established.

    Should you redact the names in a contract before showing it to the attorney?

    It occurs to me that if you don't hire the attorney, they have no duty to keep the information confidential and could use it to obtain your adversary as a client.
    Even as a prospective client both the attorney-client privilege and the duty of confidentiality attach to your discussion with the lawyer for the purpose of seeking legal advice and/or representation. As a result you may share all the information with the lawyer even before retaining him/her and get the same protection you would get as a client of the lawyer. The lawyer's duty to protect the information does not end if you choose not to hire him/her. You need to give the lawyer the complete information in order to get the best advice and help. For example, the lawyer needs to know the names on that contract in case it turns out that any of those persons are clients of the lawyer which might then result in a conflict of interest.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    That is a citation from Minnesota, the OP's question is about NJ.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    The case citation is the Model Rules of Professional Conduct isn't.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    The case citation is the Model Rules of Professional Conduct isn't.
    Do you maybe want to restate that? I have read it several times and I am not sure what you are saying.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    The case citation is the Model Rules of Professional Conduct isn't.
    The ABA Model Rules are simply guidelines proposed by the ABA as rules of conduct for states to adopt if they choose. Most states do use the Model Rules as their starting point for the rules they adopt and then make changes to them to suit that states needs. The rule for NJ that applies is NJ Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.18 that states:

    RPC 1.18 Prospective Client

    (a) A lawyer who has had communications in consultation with a prospective client shall not use or reveal information acquired in the consultation, even when no client-lawyer relationship ensues, except as RPC 1.9 would permit in respect of information of a former client.

    (b)A lawyer subject to paragraph (a) shall not represent a client with interests materially adverse to those of a former prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter if the lawyer received information from the former prospective client that could be significantly harmful to that person in the matter, except as provided in paragraph (c).

    (c) If a lawyer is disqualified from representation under (b), no lawyer in a firm with which that lawyer is associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in such a matter, except that representation is permissible if (1) both the affected client and the former prospective client have given informed consent, confirmed in writing, or (2) the disqualified lawyer is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom and written notice is promptly given to the former prospective client.

    (d)A person who communicates with a lawyer the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship with respect to a matter is a “prospective client,” and if no client-lawyer relationship is formed, is a “former prospective client.”

  9. #9
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    Default Re: When Does Attorney Client Privilege Start

    Thank you. That's about as clear as it can be.

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