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June's Feature Article

June's Feature Article
Global Privilege Issues

Few doctrines are held so dear by so many lawyers, yet understood by so few, as the concept of privilege between lawyer and client. Attorney-client privilege is the stuff of law school courses, bar association CLEs, and universally-ignored footers on emails. It seems, somehow, to be a core value for the practice of law in the United States, the kind of guild secret that keeps lawyers in the company of physicians and priests.

Yet legal systems in other countries have a very different view of privilege, or dispense with it altogether. Is the attorney-client privilege one of the pillars of a global right to practice? Or a universal right for clients to have their secrets kept? Whether it is or not, how are in-house counsel with a cross-border practice supposed to think about privilege (or its lack thereof)? In an era in which information is disseminated globally at unprecedented speed, how does company counsel discharge his or her ethical duties; serve the client; and comply with multiple — and sometimes conflicting — practice regimes?


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