The Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege is an evidentiary rule that protects confidential communications exchanged between an attorney and his/her client when legal advice is provided to the client.

The privilege was originally designed to prevent attorneys from being compelled to testify against their clients, and is designed to foster frank, open communications between the client and the attorney. The privilege recognizes that the attorney must know all facts – both favorable and unfavorable – in order to properly advise the client.

The attorney-client privilege enables the client to communicate all the facts to the attorney without fear of disclosure. The privilege may be waived if the confidential communications take place in the presence of third parties unnecessary to accomplish the purpose for which the attorney’s advice is sought, or if the confidential communications are disclosed under circumstances to which the privilege does not extend.

At the University of California, it is only those attorneys hired through UC’s Office of the General Counsel (the Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, the attorneys in the Office of the Campus Counsel and the Office of Legal Affairs, UCLA Health System are all members of the Office of the General Counsel) who can represent The Regents and the University in legal matters, and who can establish an attorney-client relationship protected by the privilege. As the attorneys are charged with representing the best interests of the University, communication by individual employees to UC or campus attorneys may be disclosed to other administrators on a “need to know” basis.

For further information regarding the attorney-client privilege, please call the Office of the Campus Counsel at (310) 206-6985.