Guard Attorney-Client Privilege When Sharing Legal Advice

October 05, 2017

Corporations commonly share legal advice to employees down the chain of command. But unbeknownst to many managers, such broad distribution of legal advice within a company may waive attorney-client privilege.

To avoid waiver in the context of this so-called “forwarding issue,” employees must ask whether the recipients had a “need to know” the information: “[D]id the recipient need to know the content of the communication in order to perform her job effectively or make informed decisions concerning, or affected by, the subject matter of the communication?”

Because it is crucial that an organization take steps to reduce the potential risk posed by the forwarding issue, this article will address the legal principles raised by internal distribution of legal advice and provide practical steps for companies to avoid waiving the attorney-client privilege.

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