A unique legal protection arising out of the communication of a client with his or her attorney.

The attorney-client privilege is distinguished from the general duty of an attorney to maintain confidential client information.  The privilege is asserted in court to stop an opposing party from forcing the attorney to disclose the protected information.  Meanwhile, even if the court is not involved, an attorney must still generally maintain the private, secret, and confidential information of their clients in a manner that preserves the confidence.  

The attorney-client privilege cannot be waived except by the client.  However the client may end up doing so inadvertently.  This occurs, for example, when the client is overheard discussing the confidential information with their attorney, or tells a friend what their attorney told them.

'The idea behind the privilege is that we want people to be able to tell all to their attorney so they are comfortable and confident their information will be treated with utter confidence.  This allows the attonrey and client to fully understand the legal issues that pertain to the client's particular situation.