Limit the Risks Associated with Distributing Privileged Communications Inside the Company

Our team at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck recently alerted you to the risk of corporate executives using business email accounts for personal purposes. Click here to read the first alert. In light of developing case law in another area involving email, here is further guidance on best email practices in the corporate setting. These alerts are intended to maximize your likelihood of success should you find yourself embroiled in litigation.

In-house counsel fulfill various roles in today’s corporate environment. Not only do they serve as the company’s legal advisors, but often they are involved in the company’s operations, management, and strategic decision-making. In-house attorneys routinely send and receive internal correspondence in order to “render[] decisions about business, technical, scientific, public relations, and advertising issues, as well as purely legal issues.” In re Vioxx Prods. Liab. Litig., 501 F. Supp. 2d 789, 797 (E.D. La. 2007). Such communications are likely not privileged, and including such topics along with legal advice can risk loss of the privilege for the entire communication.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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