Legal Brief: What is Attorney-Client Privilege?
“Legal Briefs” appears in e-Inside to keep faculty and staff informed of legal issues and their implications. An archive of past Legal Briefs is available online.
Attorney-client privilege is one of the privileges to disclosure provided to protect the confidential nature of an attorney’s advice and counsel to the client. The privilege itself is provided for in Ohio Rev. Code §2317.02(A). Generally, but subject to exception, communications with attorneys in the Office of General Counsel may be protected by the attorney-client privilege if the communications are made for the purpose of seeking legal advice on behalf of the university and are directly related to a university matter. If applicable, attorney-client privilege can protect certain matters from public disclosure and from being subject to a subpoena’s powers in order to preserve the relationship between counsel and client.
It is important to note that since the Office of General Counsel does not provide assistance with personal matters, any communication containing personal matters unrelated to university business would not be protected under this privilege. If you are not sure whether your matter is university-related or personal, please check with us before sending any communications that you wish to remain confidential.
Additionally, although email communications generally are protected by the attorney-client privilege to the same extent as communications made by other means, email is not completely secure. Therefore, we encourage you to exercise appropriate discretion in using email to communicate about sensitive matters and always use the heading “Attorney-Client Communication” when seeking to assert the attorney-client privilege. However, it is important to note that merely marking a communication does not automatically provide such coverage unless all of the conditions of the attorney-client privilege have been met.
If you have further questions about attorney-client privilege, please contact the Office of General Counsel at 330-72-2982 or firstname.lastname@example.org.