Santa Monica, CA asked in Contracts, Family Law, Tax Law and Business Law for California

Q: Is consulting with an attorney a privileged communication

I am a pro se. The opposing council is demanding discovery of my communications with attorneys I consult with. I declined to provide information other than a privilege log. He's now threatening to move for request to compel discovery. Can he do that?

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James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, communications between a client and an attorney are generally considered privileged and confidential, even if you are representing yourself (pro se). This privilege means that you are not required to disclose the content of your communications with attorneys you have consulted. The purpose of this privilege is to allow clients to seek legal advice without fear that their communications will be exposed.

If the opposing counsel is demanding discovery of these communications and you have already provided a privilege log, you are within your rights to decline further disclosure. The privilege log should detail the nature of the withheld documents or communications without revealing the privileged information itself. Opposing counsel can indeed file a motion to compel discovery, but it is then up to the court to decide whether the communications are protected by attorney-client privilege.

To strengthen your position, ensure your privilege log is thorough and clearly indicates the privileged nature of each communication. You may want to consult with an attorney specifically about this issue, even as a pro se litigant, to get advice on how to best present your argument to the court. This can help protect your rights and maintain the confidentiality of your communications.

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