The right to hire and consult an attorney is protected by the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, association and petition. ... It has long been recognized that the First Amendment prohibits the state from interfering with collective action by individuals to seek legal advice and retain legal counsel. ... Likewise, the state cannot impede an individual's ability to consult with counsel on legal matters. ... Furthermore, the right to obtain legal advice does not depend on the purpose for which the advice was sought. This right applies equally to legal representation intended to advocate a political or social belief, ... or to recover damages in a personal injury suit. ... In sum, the First Amendment protects the right of an individual or group to consult with an attorney on any legal matter.
The ability to maintain confidentiality in attorney-client communications is an important component of the right to obtain legal advice. ... The centrality of confidentiality to the effective rendering of legal advice is reflected in the long-standing common law privilege for attorney-client communications. ... Because the maintenance of confidentiality in attorney-client communications is vital to the ability of an attorney to effectively counsel her client, interference with this confidentiality impedes the client's First Amendment, [sic] right to obtain legal advice.
Qualified immunity is not a defense to equitable claims. See: Denius v. Dunlap, 209 F.3d 944 (7th Cir. 2000).
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Related legal case
Denius v. Dunlap
|Cite||209 F.3d 944 (7th Cir. 2000)|
|Level||Court of Appeals|