Ruling threatens to expand the use and scope of administrative subpoenas that over 300 federal agencies have the authority to use.
Washington – The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) advocates on behalf of its 45,000 members to protect legal professional privilege, which is critical for in-house counsel to be effective in their roles. As such, ACC filed an amicus brief in SEC v. Covington & Burling, joining other organizations and numerous law firms.
“ACC is disappointed in yesterday’s ruling in SEC v. Covington & Burling that the SEC did not exceed its authority in seeking client information from Covington and Burling,” said Susanna McDonald, vice president and CLO of ACC. “ACC stands by our position that the SEC is overstepping its authority and that the client information sought by administrative subpoena is protected by attorney-client privilege and the DC Rules of Professional Conduct. More than 300 federal agencies have this same subpoena power and if upheld, the court’s decision threatens to expand the use of administrative subpoenas.
“Further, as ACC highlighted in its brief, ‘ACC’s members would feel the sting of a decision ruling for the Commission on multiple fronts. Corporations rely on the trust and confidence of the attorney-client relationship with their own lawyers and their outside lawyers. In that way, in-house counsel functions in essence as both lawyer and client—often at the same time. That makes them doubly exposed to the Commission’s proposed degradation of attorney-client confidences and secrets.’ We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members on this critical issue with our partners who share our concern of actions such as yesterday’s ruling that degrade attorney-client privilege.”
About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the premier global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organizations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. For more than 40 years, ACC has set the standard for in-house counsel and raised awareness regarding the value of the chief legal officer in the C-suite and boardroom. With more than 45,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations and spanning 100+ nations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel® remains the foundation for ACC’s market leadership. For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.