In Alaska, attorneys work hard to get their law degree. Part of becoming an attorney and maintaining good standing to retain a law license is understanding ethical concepts like attorney-client privilege. People who hire an attorney might think they know the law regarding this requirement from hearing about and reading about it.
If they have a problem in their case or think the attorney did something wrong, they might claim that an attorney violated it. When there are accusations of type of violation, even attorneys need to have professional help to defend themselves and fight the case.
Key points about attorney-client privilege
Under Alaska law, when there is confidential information shared between a client and their attorney, the client has the right to refuse to disclose it to others. This is true if it is between the client or the client’s representative and the lawyer and the lawyer’s representative and any combination. The client can claim privilege as can their guardian, conservator, and a personal representative for a client who has died. The attorney is bound by this.
There are, however, exceptions. If there is crime or fraud and the lawyer was retained or used to help with that behavior, it will not be subject to this rule. It is also not applicable when it involves claimants through the same deceased client. If it is communication linked to a breach of duty committed by the attorney against the client, if it is a document that the attorney attests to, or if the communication is between two or more clients who retained or consulted together with the attorney, it is not a violation.
Professional malpractice claims must be vigorously defended with specialized help
Although the law is clear and attorneys will be fully cognizant of the tenets of attorney-client privilege, that does not mean clients will not make accusations that their attorney violated it in some way. Many cases might sound obvious as to whether this happened, but there is nuance to any claim of professional malpractice.
Legal professionals who are confronted with this could face sanctions and large payouts. It could negatively impact their ability to practice law. Calling those who specifically handle these types of cases can address the claim head-on and find solutions with an effective defense to protect a fellow attorney’s job and reputation.