Client

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Client

A person who employs or retains an attorney to represent him or her in any legal business; to assist, to counsel, and to defend the individual in legal proceedings; and to appear on his or her behalf in court.

This term includes a person who divulges confidential matters to an attorney while pursuing professional assistance, regardless of sub-sequent employment of the attorney. This attorney-client relationship is quite complex and extensive in its scope. One of the key aspects of this relationship is confidentiality of communications. A client has the right to require that his or her attorney keep secret any discussion between them during the course of their relationship that pertains to the matters for which the attorney is hired. This protection extends to a person who might have disclosed any confidential matters while seeking aid from an attorney, whether the attorney was employed or not. If, for example, someone is "shopping" for an attorney to handle a Divorce, the person might reveal certain private information to several attorneys, all of whom are expected to keep such communications confidential.

Cross-references

Attorney-Client Privilege.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

CLIENT, practice. One who employs and retains an attorney or counsellor to manage or defend a suit or action in which he is a party, or to advise him about some legal matters.
     2. The duties of the client towards his counsel are, 1st. to give him a written authority, 1 Ch. Pr. 19; 2. to disclose his case with perfect candor3. to offer spontaneously, advances of money to his attorney; 2 Ch. Pr. 27; 4. he should, at the end of the suit, promptly pay his attorney his fees. Ib. His rights are, 1. to be diligently served in the management of his business 2. to be informed of its progress and, 3. that his counsel shall not disclose what has been professionally confided to him. See Attorney at law; Confidential communication.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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