Attorney-Client Privilege

News & Analysis as of

Texas Law Lets Attorney-Client Privilege Transfer to the Buyer of a Business

When negotiating the sale of a business, legal counsel should be aware that the attorney-client privilege protecting communications between the seller and its legal counsel – including negotiations regarding the acquisition –...more

General Counsel Permitted to Use Attorney-Client Privileged Information in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

In a recent case, Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. case number 3:15-cv-02356 (2016), the federal court in the Northern District of California ruled that the plaintiff and former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories...more

For Our Eyes Only: Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege and Its Application to Banks

The attorney-client privilege is a rule of evidence that prevents the adverse party in a lawsuit from obtaining access to certain communications. If properly understood and wellmanaged, this privilege offers a useful tool for...more

Court Upholds Attorney-Client Privilege In Reinsurance Dispute, Rejecting Assertion Of The Crime-Fraud Exception And Questions...

The case involves a dispute over Utica Mutual Insurance Company’s claims for reinsurance proceeds from Munich Re. One of Munich Re’s defenses in the litigation asserts that Utica “strategically orchestrated a settlement...more

Whistleblower General Counsel Prevails Through Use Of Attorney-Client Privileged Information

In a seminal trial court decision, the federal court in the Northern District of California ruled in a whistleblower retaliation case that a fired general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories could use as evidence otherwise...more

Will In-House Attorneys Reach for their Whistles?

The news is full of stories about whistleblowers collecting millions from their former employers. Surely at least a few in-house lawyers fantasize about that kind of payday. After all, who knows better than an in-house...more

UK Decision Highlights Potential Privilege Problems in Cross-Border Investigations

7 steps companies can take to maximize privilege protections under US and English law. Key Points: ..In a recent case, an English court stated that privilege did not apply to notes of employee interviews,...more

"Key Takeaways: Corporate Governance Series — Key SEC Financial Reporting, Accounting and Enforcement Matters"

On February 2, 2017, Skadden hosted a webinar titled “Key SEC Financial Reporting, Accounting and Enforcement Matters,” the third installment of our four-part Corporate Governance Series focused on trends in corporate...more

What Client Agents Deserve Privilege Protection?

Nearly every court considers client agents outside privilege protection unless those agents are necessary for facilitating privileged communications between clients and their lawyers. Some courts occasionally take a broader...more

Revenge of the Whistle-blower: Possible Consequences of Compliance Failures

In a company with a robust compliance culture, potential whistleblowers can express their concerns without fear of retribution. By contrast, the penalty for a culture that silences whistleblowers just got steeper. Companies...more

Federal Whistleblower Laws Collide With The Attorney-Client Privilege: The Bio-Rad Case Study

Seyfarth Synopsis: Federal whistleblower laws collide with the in-house attorney-client privilege. The trial round goes to the whistleblower. The expected appellate round has still not been fought. In a February 7,...more

D. Mass. Holds That Parties to an Arm’s-Length Negotiation Have Enough Common Interest to Maintain Privilege

During IP license negotiations, prudent negotiators will often avoid sharing privileged information about the IP to avoid waiving the attorney-client privilege. But in a recent District of Massachusetts case, the court upheld...more

Are Attorneys’ Bills Privileged Once Litigation Ends – California Supreme Court Says No in ACLU Litigation?

The California Supreme Court recently held, in Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (2016) that attorneys’ invoices may not be protected by the attorney-client privilege after litigation ends. The issue arose...more

Reserving Privilege for the Few: The High Court Confirms the Narrow Interpretation of “Client” for the Purposes of Legal Advice...

Following Three Rivers (No 5) [2003] EWCA Civ 474, the High Court has held that notes of interviews of employees, prepared as part of certain internal investigations by a bank’s solicitors, for the purpose of enabling the...more

How to Avoid the Implied Waiver of the Attorney-Client Privilege In Arizona Insurance Bad Faith Cases

In State Farm v. Lee, 199 Ariz. 52, 13 P.3d 1169 (2000) (En Banc), the Arizona Supreme Court first held that an Insurer can impliedly waive the attorney-client privilege (the “Privilege”) in a bad faith case, despite not...more

Courts Continue to Insist that Common Interest Participants Anticipate Litigation

The common interest doctrine can allow separately represented clients to safely share privileged communications in certain circumstances. Although many lawyers hope that courts will begin extending this helpful protection to...more

Guidelines to Assist an Insurer’s Analysis of Whether a Court Will Find an Implied Waiver of the Attorney Client Privilege in...

Because Arizona cases touching on this issue are copious, confusing, and complex, we note the following guidelines—though sometimes conflicting—have emerged from Lee and its progeny and will assist an Insurer’s analysis of...more

Magistrate Judge Rules SEC’s Attorney-Conduct Rules Preempt State Law

Last December, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero ruled that the SEC’s attorney-conduct rules preempt California’s statutory and professional rules requiring attorneys to maintain inviolate the confidences. Wadler v....more

Tips to Avoid the Implied Waiver of the Attorney-Client Privilege in Arizona Insurance Bad Faith Cases

Although Arizona law regarding the implied waiver of the attorney-client privilege (the “Privilege”) is far from certain, an Insurer may avoid a waiver by following these tips...more

Ex-GC Awarded $8 Million For Retaliatory Firing

A California federal jury awarded Sanford Wadler, former General Counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories, $8 million for his claims against his former employer under the whistleblower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the...more

Connecticut Trial Court Addresses Administrative Agency's Targeting of Law Firms Under the State Unfair Trade Practices Act

In a December 5, 2016 decision, a Connecticut trial court (Huddleston, J.) addressed the limitations on the Connecticut Commissioner of Consumer Protection in enforcing a so-called "investigative demand" served under the...more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update – February 2017

REGULATION - DOL Issues Additional Guidance on Fiduciary Rule - On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a second set of guidance on its new fiduciary rules, which are scheduled to become...more

Involvement of Opinion Counsel in Trial Strategy Results in a Broad Subject-Matter Waiver that Extends to Trial Counsel

In a December 13, 2016, order (made publicly available in redacted form on January 5, 2017), the District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina enunciated a broad waiver of the attorney-client privilege for a party...more

An In-House Counsel Learns the Hard Way About a Key Difference Between Common Interest Agreements and Joint Representations: Part...

Common interest agreements and joint representations share many characteristics. Both types of arrangements involve lawyers engaging in protected communications with multiple clients. But they are structurally distinct. In...more

California High Court Questions Privileged Nature of Attorney Invoices

In Disney’s The Lion King, the wise lion Mufasa sits atop a rock crag with his heir, the cub Simba, looking down on the Serengeti below. “Everything the light touches,” Mufasa instructs, “is our kingdom.” A similar scene...more

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