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US Supreme Court to Decide Scope Bounds of Attorney Client Privilege

Communication with an attorney is commonly thought to be a privileged communication such that the content of the communication is protected from discovery by third parties.  This applies whether the communication is written or oral.  Many people believe that any communication with an attorney is protected by disclosure to third parties.  The scope of protected communications with an attorney is actually more narrow than you might think.

The United States Supreme Court in the case of In re Grand Jury is going to define the limits of the attorney client communication when the communication with the attorney has a dual purpose.  In other words, the court will answer the question whether communication with an attorney that has both legal and non-legal purposes protected communication.

Clients frequently communicate with attorneys about both legal and non-legal purposes.  Attorneys may be asked to advise clients on areas such as insurance, health, environmental, real estate, and intellectual property matters along with employment and internal compliance matters.  This is especially the case with in-house attorneys and attorneys who advise clients on complex issues involving both legal and business matters.  Oral argument in the case is expected to take place early next year and a decision will be handed down before the end of the term.