Annual Meeting

Attorney-client privilege should apply to law firms' consults with in-house counsel, ABA House says


The ABA House of Delegates approved a resolution urging that attorney-client privilege apply to advice given to law firm personnel by a law firm’s in-house counsel—possibly on matters pertaining to work for the firm’s clients.

The measure stems from the increasing complexity of regulation, rules of professional conduct and greater disclosure obligations under legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Keeping lawyer-client privilege in these situations encourages lawyers to ask questions on ethical matters without fear of repercussions. In a voice vote, it seemed as if there was a single negative response in the 560-member policy-making body. Resolution 103 was sponsored by the ABA sections on Tort Trial and Insurance Practice; Business Law; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law; Taxation; Law Practice Management; the Beverly Hills Bar Association; and the Illinois and New York bar associations.

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