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How Attorney-Client Privilege Works in Nevada

Attorney-client privilege is a key component of the American legal system. By ensuring that many kinds of conversations and other interactions between an attorney and client are protected from being subjected to subpoenas and evidence requests, the privilege ensures that clients can have frank, open discussions with attorneys without concern that an opponent might use them in litigation. Like a fortress under siege by an attacking army, attorney-client privilege can come under assault during the course of a case, as opponents look for ways to draw out information that doesn’t qualify for protection. Therefore attorneys and clients need to take care to preserve the privilege wherever possible. Nevada law provides that a client has broad authority to refuse to disclose and prevent others from disclosing confidential communications that fall within three categories:
  1. Communications between the client and the client’s lawyer.
  2. Communications between the client’s lawyer and the lawyer’s representative, such as a paralegal.
  3. Communications made for purposes of facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client, such as if the client’s attorney has a discussion with the attorney of a third party about a shared issue.
The attorney-client privilege applies to conversations between an attorney and client even at the very beginning of their relationship, before an engagement letter is signed and even if the client decides to not hire the lawyer. This means, for example, that a preliminary consultation about a potential case would be covered. This allows individuals to seek out advice and evaluate attorneys with an open and honest discussion of their questions. There are several important limits on attorney-client privilege. Some of these limits prevent communications from ever being protected by the privilege, while others simply eliminate it.
  • The client may waive privilege. Waivers can be intentional or accidental. In general, talking about a privileged communication in a nonconfidential context can threaten to destroy its protections, or prevent the privilege from applying.
  • The privilege does not apply to communications by a client who is knowingly seeking advice in connection with planning criminal activity.
  • In certain cases the privilege doesn’t apply where the communications themselves are of central importance to the case. For example, if the attorney helped a deceased client prepare a will, the communications between the client and attorney won’t be privileged if there’s a dispute about the client’s intent. Another example is if the communications pertain to claims of wrongdoing by the attorney.
  • Attorneys are required to disclose information that the attorney believes will prevent a crime that could lead to serious injury or death.
For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in cases involving personal injury, workers’ compensation, and other disputes. Contact us today for a free attorney consultation about your case. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

Should I Sign a Severance Agreement?

Should I Sign a Severance Agreement?
Severance agreements are a way for employers to manage labor risk during staffing changes. They typically include terms to protect the employer, such as noncompetition clauses and waivers of legal liability, and in exchange give departing employees a compensation package. For the employee, a severance agreement can be a helpful way to ease the financial strain of a job transition. But before signing one, it’s important to understand how it may affect your rights. Here we discuss three major concerns in severance agreements: non-competition clauses, confidentiality obligations, and waivers of liability.

Restrictions on future work can limit your career options

Non-competition clauses are a common feature of severance agreements. Because they can limit your professional options in significant ways, it’s important to take care before agreeing to them. A typical non-compete clause will restrict the kinds of work an employee can do for a period of time after the job ends, so the employee cannot immediately go to work for a competitor or steal clients from the company. A non-compete could prevent you from taking a job you really want, or it could get both you and a future employer into a dispute with your old company. Recent changes to Nevada law limit the permitted scope of non-compete clauses. Among other things, an employer must compensate employees for agreeing to them, and the compensation must be appropriate for the kinds of sacrifices the employee is expected to make. The scope of the non-compete also needs to be limited to what is necessary to protect the employer, and it cannot impose an undue burden on the employee.

Confidentiality is sometimes more complicated than it first appears

Many employers require their employees to sign confidentiality agreements when they’re first hired. These agreements typically require the employee to keep certain information confidential for a period of time after leaving the company. A severance agreement could extend the term of an employee’s confidentiality obligations or, if a confidentiality agreement isn’t already in place, impose new obligations. Complying with confidentiality requirements can mean more than just keeping secrets. It can also mean taking certain actions, like destroying records, and can extend to limiting who you talk to or work for. In the latter case, what looks like a confidentiality clause could actually be a form of non-compete.

Waivers of liability can undermine your legal rights

Perhaps the most common reason a company will ask departing employees to sign severance agreements is to get the employees to waive all legal claims against the employer. Especially where the employer has engaged in practices that are potentially unlawful, such as racial or disability discrimination, denial of overtime pay, or unwarranted denial of insurance, an employee should think carefully about whether signing a waiver is a good idea. Signing a waiver, especially when it’s accompanied by the sort of compensation that comes with a severance package, can eliminate an employee’s ability to pursue legal action in the future.

Before signing a severance agreement, get help from an attorney

At GGRM we are committed to helping workers in Las Vegas understand and protect their rights. If you have been asked to sign a severance agreement and you have questions about how it might affect your rights, our attorneys would be happy to help. For a free consultation with an attorney call us today at 702-388-4476, or send us a request through our site.