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What is a Client?

Updated on January 15, 2010

A Client, in a legal sense, is one who employs an attorney for advice on a question of law or who commits his cause to an attorney for his management in prosecuting a claim or defending against a suit in a court. In advising the client, the attorney is bound to exercise reasonable care and diligence and to conduct himself as one holding a position of highest trust and confidence. This obligates him to maintain the maximum standard of good faith, honesty, and fidelity in all of his relations with the client. The attorney is precluded from having any personal interests adverse to the subject matter of his relationship with the client, and he cannot obtain personal advantage from the relationship without the client's knowledge or consent. At the same time, the client must deal with the attorney in a fair and equitable manner.

Communications between an attorney and his client are confidential and deemed privileged. That is, the attorney is forbidden to testify as to any communications made by the client to him or as to his advice relating to these communications given in the course of his professional employment, without the consent of the client. The secrecy is maintained for the benefit of the client and cannot be unilaterally repudiated by the attorney. The existence of a professional relationship does not necessarily depend on payment of a fee. The 'principle of privileged communications rests on the client's need to have perfect freedom to say anything to his attorney and on the need for unrestrained communication between them.

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