By Jedidiah McKeehan
When people come to me it is very normal for them to bring a friend or family member with them. I do not blame them for doing this. Going to speak with an attorney likely means that there is some kind of crisis you are facing.
A support person can provide a calming influence in these meetings and provide additional facts that may be relevant to the case. However, there is one huge downside to having a third party with you in your meeting with your attorney.
When you are speaking with your attorney your conversations are protected by the attorney-client privilege. However, when a third party is present, there is no attorney-client privilege protection.
That means that the other side of the case can call that third party as a witness and ask them what was said in the meeting. Let’s go through an example.
Say you are going through a divorce case and you and your mother meet with your attorney and you tell them, “yeah, I have used drugs.” If the other side calls your mother to the stand and asks her, “has your daughter ever admitted that she used drugs?” The mother is supposed to answer that question. Even though that statement was made to her attorney, the third party being present destroys that privilege.
How often does this come up? Very rarely, but it is something to be aware of. If you are concerned about what you tell your attorney getting out, make sure it is just you and your attorney present when you tell them.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including divorce, custody, criminal, and personal injury. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.