AB 267, as amended, Chau. Evidentiary privileges: lawyer referral service-client privilege.
Existing law governs the admissibility of evidence in court proceedings and generally provides a privilege as to communications made in the course of the attorney-client relationship, as specified. Under existing law, the right of any person to claim certain evidentiary privileges, including the lawyer-client privilege, is waived with respect to a communication protected by the privilege if any holder of the privilege, without coercion, has disclosed a significant part of the communication or has consented to a disclosure made by anyone.
Existing law prohibits an individual or entity from operating a lawyer referral service unless that service meets specified requirements, including registration with the State Bar of California. Existing law requires the State Bar, with the approval of the Supreme Court, to formulate and enforce rules and regulations relating to lawyer referral services.
This bill would provide that a person who consults a lawyer referral service, as defined, for the purpose of retaining a lawyer or securing legal advice has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent
begin delete the lawyer referral serviceend delete from disclosing, a confidential communication between the client and the lawyer referral service. The bill would further provide that the lawyer referral service-client privilege may be waived in accordance with existing law.
begin deletemajority end delete.
Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Section 912 of the Evidence Code is amended to
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the right
4of any person to claim a privilege provided by Section 954
5(lawyer-client privilege), 966 (lawyer referral service-client
6privilege), 980 (privilege for confidential marital communications),
7994 (physician-patient privilege), 1014 (psychotherapist-patient
8privilege), 1033 (privilege of penitent), 1034 (privilege of clergy
9member), 1035.8 (sexual assault counselor-victim privilege), or
101037.5 (domestic violence counselor-victim privilege) is waived
11with respect to a communication protected by the privilege if any
12holder of the privilege, without coercion, has disclosed a significant
13part of the communication or has consented to disclosure made by
14anyone. Consent to disclosure is manifested by any statement or
15other conduct of the holder of the privilege indicating consent to
16the disclosure, including failure to claim the privilege in any
17proceeding in which the holder has the legal standing and
18opportunity to claim the privilege.
19(b) Where two or more persons are joint holders of a privilege
20provided by Section 954 (lawyer-client privilege), 966 (lawyer
21referral service-client privilege), 994 (physician-patient privilege),
221014 (psychotherapist-patient privilege), 1035.8 (sexual assault
23counselor-victim privilege), or 1037.5 (domestic violence
24counselor-victim privilege), a waiver of the right of a particular
P3 1joint holder of the privilege to claim the privilege does not affect
2the right of another joint holder to claim the privilege. In the case
3of the privilege provided by Section 980 (privilege for confidential
4marital communications), a waiver of the right of one spouse to
5claim the privilege does not affect the right of the other spouse to
6claim the privilege.
7(c) A disclosure that is itself privileged is not a waiver of any
9(d) A disclosure in confidence of a communication that is
10protected by a privilege provided by Section 954 (lawyer-client
11privilege), 966 (lawyer referral service-client privilege), 994
12(physician-patient privilege), 1014 (psychotherapist-patient
13privilege), 1035.8 (sexual assault counselor-victim privilege), or
141037.5 (domestic violence counselor-victim privilege), when
15disclosure is reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the
16purpose for which the lawyer, lawyer referral service, physician,
17psychotherapist, sexual assault counselor, or domestic violence
18counselor was consulted, is not a waiver of the privilege.
Article 3.5 (commencing with Section
begin delete 963)end delete is
20added to Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, to read:
As used in this article, “lawyer referral service” means a
25lawyer referral service certified under and operating in compliance
26with Section 6155 of the Business and Professions Code and the
27minimum standards, rules, and regulations of the State Bar
28governing lawyer referral services.
As used in this article, “client” means a person who
30consults a lawyer referral service for the purpose of retaining, or
31securing legal services or advice from, a lawyer in his or her
As used in this article, “confidential communication
34between client and lawyer referral service” means information
35transmitted between a client and lawyer referral service in the
36course of that relationship and in confidence by a means which,
37so far as the client is aware, does not disclose the information to
Subject to Section 912 and except as otherwise
35provided in this article, the client, whether or not a party, has a
36privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent
begin delete the lawyer referral from disclosing, a confidential communication
38between client and lawyer referral service
begin delete.end delete
A lawyer referral service that has received or made a
16communication subject to the privilege under this article shall
17claim the privilege if the communication is sought to be disclosed
18and the client has not consented to the disclosure.
There is no privilege under this article as to a
20communication relevant to an issue of breach, by the lawyer referral
21service or by the client, of a duty arising out of the relationship.
Digest--Vote key line.
Corrected 6-3-13—See last page. 98