Client (business)

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In business, commerce, and economics, a client is a person who receives advice or services from a professional, such as a lawyer or a health care provider. Clients differ from customers in that customers are thought of as "one-time buyers" while clients can be summarized as "long-term recipients."[1]


The term client is derived from Latin clientem or clinare meaning "to incline" or "to bend", the same root as many other similar words such as climate and incline.[2]

By field[edit]

Health care[edit]

Clients of health care providers are sometimes called patients, though it is not uncommon for therapists to use the word client.[3]

Therapeutic relationships are subject to confidentiality, meaning that therapists are not to disclose information shared by their clients during sessions, to those not involved in the session. However, there are a number of exceptions in which a therapist can and must "break" the confidentiality, such as when the information suggests that the client poses an immediate threat to himself or herself or to others.[4][5]


Lawyers and attorneys also have clients. An important aspect of a lawyer's job is developing and managing relationships with clients or, if the lawyer works for a government agency or corporation, the client's employees. Lawyers give legal advice to their clients as part of the legal process.[6]


  1. ^ "What Is the Difference Between a Customer Vs. a Client?". Chron. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "Client origin and meaning of client". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. ^ "Patients or Clients?". August 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Stone, Alan (December 1976). "The Tarasoff Decisions: Suing Psychotherapists to Safeguard Society". Harvard Law Review. 90 (2): 358.
  5. ^ Welfel, Elizabeth Reynolds (2016). Ethics in counseling and psychotherapy : standards, research, and emerging issues (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Cengage Learning. p. 129. ISBN 9781305089723.
  6. ^ Ellman, Stephen (1987). "Lawyers and Clients". UCLA Law Review. 34: 717.