As a life coach, can I be summoned by an attorney and made to disclose my coaching notes on the client?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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As a life coach, can I be summoned by an attorney and made to disclose my coaching notes on the client?

I’ve been asked this by a potential client and I think the answer is yes but I’m not 100% sure if there is anyway that I can decline to provide sensitive information when it is requested via a subpoena or such. I am the client has stated that he is in the U.S., although Im not sure where. I coach people via Skype etc. all over the world. I am not a medical professional.

Asked on July 1, 2019 under Family Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be required to disclose this via subpoena. There is no "life coach" privilege: you are not a licensed social worker or psychiatric therapist, doctor, attorney, or clergy person, and so do not have a privilege to not disclose your notes or observations. If someone shares information or confidences with a non-privileged person, they run the risk of that confidence being disclosed.
(If you ARE in fact a licensed social worker or psychologist and provide life coaching as part of your practice, then you could probably use your therapist's privilege to avoid disclosure.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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