The scope and application of the attorney-client privilege is generally a matter of state law, and each state and the District of Columbia has its own authority regarding the doctrine’s application. Generally, however, the attorney-client privilege applies: (1) when legal advice is sought, (2) to communications made to an advisor in his or her capacity as an attorney, (3) when the communication relates to facts of which an attorney was informed by his or her client without outsiders present for the purpose of securing either (a) advice or an opinion on the application of law, (b) legal services, or (c) advocacy.

The privilege is not available if advice is sought for the purpose or furtherance of committing a crime or tort, and the privilege cannot have been waived by the client.

In brief, for the privilege to apply there must have been communication: (1) between the attorney and the client, (2) in confidence, and (3) made in furtherance of the attorney-client relationship.


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