The Attorney General's Office

Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege preserves the confidentiality of communications between attorneys and their clients. The purpose of this privilege is to:

  • Encourage free and open communications between attorneys and clients.
  • Assure clients that communications will not be disclosed to others.
  • Foster a confidential and “socially desirable relationship” between attorneys and clients.

Although originally developed to protect individuals in their relationships with attorneys, the privilege has applied for many years to corporations and institutions, such as the University. Communications are protected by the privilege if the communications are: 1) confidential; 2) made between an attorney and the University, i.e. agents of the University or agents necessary to render legal advice; and 3) made for the purpose of seeking, obtaining, or providing legal advice.


Confidentiality is the key to maintaining the privilege. If the substance of the attorney-client communication is disclosed to others, the privilege may be waived. Here are some tips to help maintain the privilege:

  • Do not disclose attorney-client communications to third parties.
  • Instruct others regarding the confidential nature of these communications.
  • Conduct communications only in private settings.
  • Mark documents with a “privilege” label, if appropriate.
  • Limit circulation of documents to those with a legitimate need to know.
  • Be wary of less secure methods of communication.
  • Avoid referring to confidential communications in public until and unless the privilege has been waived.