In here, there is relationship called attorney-client relationship.
A client-witness is one who has an existing attorney-client relationship with the hired attorney. The client is at the same time a witness or involved in a controversy and the hired attorney is the counsel. A non-client witness may refer to someone who may provide information to an attorney but no attorney-client relationship exists. The importance of an attorney-client relationship during an interview is that any information to be given by the client-witness is covered under the privileged communication rule. The privileged communication rule is a rule on evidence which provides that any information given by the client-witness to the attorney is kept confidential and cannot be divulged by the attorney without permission from the client-witness. On the other hand, the privilege is not applicable on the information gathered from or provided by a non-client witness since there is the absence of attorney-client relationship.
The differences between interviewing a client-witness and a non-client witness are based on the fact that the existence or absence of the attorney-client relationship will define what level of participation the witnesses will give to the interviewer. A client-witness is expected to be participative in giving information while the non-client witness may have hesitance or may not give any information at all. As such, different plans and techniques must be provided for each of these kinds of interviewees.
In the interview for a client-witness for example, the subject should do most of the talking with less interruptions by the interviewee. The purpose of the interview is to gather as much information that will help the interviewee generate relevant and useful ideas for the controversy. Questions are reserved for the latter part of the interview so as to preserve the continuity of the interviewee's statements. If there are questions that need to be clarified, the attorney can always call the client-witness anytime.
On the other hand, interviewing a non-client witness entails selection of questions to be answered by the interviewee. Since most of the times the interviewee is non-participative, the interviewer should initiate the interview by asking questions. Usually, the purpose of the interview is to get an admission or confession or statements which can be admissible evidences so questions should be relevant. If the questions relate to the interviewee's participation in a controversy before a court, the interviewee should be reminded of his or her Miranda rights to make the statements or answers admissible in court proceedings.
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) on its research concluded that the privilege communication rule on attorney-client relationship and the ethical standards for attorneys also apply to paralegals. And under the NFPA own rules, code of ethics, and professional responsibility, paralegals are expected to avoid conflicts of interest in handling cases. Conflict of interest may arise when a paralegal will work both for the conflicting parties in a controversy. Under ethical considerations, a paralegal should refuse to accept a client whom he knows to be an adversary to a case he currently holds or previously held. He should not also desire to get