Attorney-Client Privilege and the Ethical Duty of Confidentiality for In-house Counsel under US Law
James McCauley, Ethics Counsel, Virginia State Bar, USA
This article discusses the corporate attorney-client privilege as applied in the United States. As in the United States, other common law countries apply the privilege to in-house counsel. The attorney-client privilege is compared to the ethical duty of confidentiality as expressed in the rules of professional conduct adopted in every US jurisdiction. Protection of attorney work product is also discussed. A very brief caveat is necessary to explain that the Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) under EU law is reserved to outside counsel and not automatically applied to protect communications between lawyers serving as in-house counsel and their employer’s management, as in-house counsel under EU law are not considered sufficiently independent.
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