The Attorney-Client Relationship 

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If an attorney-client relationship has been formed between a client and their attorney, the attorney will owe the client a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests and a duty of confidentiality concerning information learned during the course of the representation. Further, their communications will be protected by the attorney-client privilege. 

Forming an Attorney-Client Relationship

An attorney-client relationship forms when a lawyer agrees to provide legal assistance to a client who is seeking their services. An attorney-client relationship may also be formed if the client evidences an intent that the lawyer represents them, and the lawyer knows that the client is reasonably relying on them to provide representation, but fails to make clear that they do not want to undertake the representation. Additionally, an attorney-client relationship is formed when a court appoints a lawyer to represent a client. 

Duty of Confidentiality 

Once an attorney-client relationship has been formed, the lawyer owes an ethical duty of confidentiality to the client. The lawyer cannot reveal any information relating to their representation of the client unless the client gives their informed consent for the lawyer to do so, or the lawyer has implied authority to reveal the information in order to carry out their representation of the client. The lawyer also cannot use any information learned during the course of the representation to the disadvantage of the client, even after the representation has ended. 

The duty of confidentiality is broader than the attorney-client privilege and applies in every situation where the attorney-client privilege does not. The duty of confidentiality applies to all information that the lawyer learns during the course of their representation of the client, not just to their communications with the client. Thus, the information does not have to come from the client to be covered by the duty of confidentiality. Additionally, the lawyer is bound by the duty of confidentiality, even if the client has not asked the lawyer to keep the information private.

Attorney-Client Privilege 

The attorney-client privilege is similar to the lawyer’s ethical duty of confidentiality, but the two differ in some important ways. While the duty of confidentiality prevents a lawyer from voluntarily revealing information relating to their representation of a client, the attorney-client privilege prevents a court or the government from compelling the lawyer to reveal confidential communications between themselves and a client that were made for the purpose of obtaining or providing legal representation. Further, unlike the duty of confidentiality, the attorney-client privilege only applies to communications between the lawyer and the client and excludes information that the lawyer learns from a source other than the client (or the client’s agent) or from evidence in the case. Additionally, the attorney-client privilege only covers the disclosure of information. Unlike the duty of confidentiality, the attorney-client privilege does not prevent an attorney from using information covered by the privilege. The attorney-client privilege also covers preliminary conversations between the lawyer and client leading up to the formation of the attorney-client relationship, even if no relationship ever develops. 

If you have further questions about the attorney-client relationship, a lawyer, can help.

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"I had a great experience with the team at Cohen & Cohen. From my intake attorney, Adam, to the paralegal, Bryan, who worked with me regularly for months to document and prepare my case, to Jill, the attorney who secured my settlement, I feel fortunate to have had their representation and expertise on my side."
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Cohen & Cohen has an  impeccable Client Satisfaction Rating with hundreds of
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L Proctor
August 30, 2022.
My experience with Cohen &Cohen was beyond my expectations. Jill did an amazing job with negotiating on my behalf and got me way more money than I anticipated. Thank you for having my back.
Ebony Stoutmiles
June 23, 2022.
To say that I am happy with the outcome of my case is the understatement of the century! Jill Stanley is a BEAST at what she does. That is the only way to explain it. She takes no prisoners. She and her team are very skilled and knowledgeable. I am so happy I trusted them to do their job and rolled with Jill's suggestions. I would choose Jill again 100 times. She settled my case for more than I imagined I would receive. I was literally in tears. It is the best feeling to know my pain isn't for naught. Wayne Cohen and Kristopher Yorke were nothing short of amazing. They have the patience of saints. I'm 100% certain that I got on their last nerves with my frustration and tears at every other call I had with them. Being in pain and wanting to just be able to heal was all I could focus on, but they helped me realize that I also had to focus on the bigger picture (the case) so I could put this piece behind me. As a high-strung individual with anxiety, it was hard for me to not worry and let them do their jobs, but they reassured me all of the time that they had this. To be injured before the start of the pandemic and have to receive regular, weekly treatment while others are able to stay home is anxiety inducing. I was in pain, I was anxious, and I was just hoping it all worked out. It more than worked out. I hope Jill, Siri, and Kris know how much their hard work and "hanging in there" meant to me. I am eternally grateful. I can't recommend you all enough. If you choose this law firm, you won't be sorry!
Beloved Temple
June 3, 2022.
I was very pleased with the handling of my case and settlement with Cohen& Cohen. I appreciate them, would highly recommend them.
willie howell
May 25, 2022.
COHEN & COHEN ARE THE BEST I WAS INVOLVED IN A REAR END CAR CRASH AND 2 YEARS LATER I HAVE RECEIVED MY SETTLEMENT I AM VERY EXCITED TO SAY BRYAN!!! IS THE MAN HE INSURED THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF ME AND THEY DID 100% ANY QUESTIONS I ASKED THEY WERE ANSWERED. Jill and SIRI WAS ALSO REMARKABLE AND SHOWED THEY REALLY CARED I RECOMMEND COHEN &COHEN TO ANYONE THEY ALSO MADE SURE I GOT MORE THAN EXPECTED WHICH WAS AMAZING I APPRECIATE YOU GUYS THANK U💯
Jose Rivera
May 25, 2022.
The legal team at cohen & cohen did a great job I really appreciate the hard work on gating my compensation in a fair amount of time. Special thanks to Kris for a wonderful job
Lea Harvey
May 25, 2022.
I had a great experience with the team at Cohen & Cohen. From my intake attorney, Adam, to the paralegal, Bryan, who worked with me regularly for months to document and prepare my case, to Jill, the attorney who secured my settlement, I feel fortunate to have had their representation and expertise on my side.
Cameron Galloway (HustleDaGod)
May 19, 2022.
Kris was phenomenal. Spectacular communication & knowledge in regards to my case. Would definitely return if I needed more legal services. 100% definitely recommend.