Attorney-Client Privilege For Employees

Summary

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects the confidentiality of communications between an attorney and client. By preventing compelled disclosure of confidential communications with attorneys regarding legal advice, the attorney-client privilege encourages clients to fully disclose all information, however detrimental, that is relevant to the legal advice or defense the attorney is hired to provide.

 To qualify for the privilege, a communication on behalf of an organization must be —

•    Made with the reasonable expectation that it will be treated as confidential;
•    Made by an officer, director, agent or employee concerning matters within the scope of his/her duty to the organization; and
•    Part of the organization's effort to obtain legal advice from its attorneys.

Because the attorney-client privilege often protects communications that are bluntly honest and self-critical, disclosure of attorney-client privileged material may have serious adverse consequences for an organization.   Thus, employees should treat all attorney-client privileged materials the same as they would the organization's most sensitive proprietary business information.

Rules on attorney-client privilege may differ from one jurisdiction to the other. For example, in some jurisdictions, no attorney-client privilege attaches to communications between the company’s employees and its in-house counsel.
 

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Key Resources

For your convenience, ACC has compiled the following key resources to assist you in your compliance efforts.

For more try searching ACC's online library for "attorney-client privilege"

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