Attorney–Client Privilege Challenges With Social Media and E-Communications

Effective Strategies for Preserving the Privilege and Maintaining Confidentiality

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will prepare attorneys to face the attorney-client privilege and work product protection challenges presented by social media and electronic communications. The panel will discuss how privilege can be inadvertently waived and outline best practices to preserve the privilege and maintain confidentiality.


A company’s use of its website to inform employees and the public of business information can inadvertently lead to waiver of attorney-client privilege. Managers who discuss work issues in chat rooms or blogs may unknowingly jeopardize work product protection for company documents.

Recent case law—and the news—provide ample reminders of the dangers of email and on-line communication. Privilege was deemed waived in cases where an employee sent emails to her attorney on her work computer and for a plaintiff who blogged about conversations with her lawyer.

Practitioners must warn corporate and individual clients about using e-mail and any form of social media to discuss confidential or otherwise privileged communications. Neglecting that conversation may expose attorneys to malpractice claims if the privilege is deemed waived during litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of attorneys discusses the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine in the context of social media and electronic communications and outlines best practices for maintaining confidentiality.



  1. Waiver
    1. Who can waive the privilege?
    2. Implied waiver
    3. Boilerplate disclaimers
    4. Security of communication
    5. Inadvertent disclosure
  2. Ethical and legal guidance
    1. ABA and state bar association guidelines and opinions
    2. Court decisions
  3. Best practices for preserving the privilege
    1. Considerations for protecting the privilege in email
    2. Social media policies
    3. Education/training
    4. Control privileged material to reduce possibility of waiver


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How does the proliferation of social media change the reasonable expectation of privacy?
  • How can attorneys protect clients’ privacy rights and attorney-client privilege while utilizing online communication?
  • What guidance is available through ABA, state bar and court opinions to attorneys regarding the attorney-client privilege and confidentiality in e-communications?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Steven R. Paradise
Steven R. Paradise

Vinson & Elkins

His main area of practice is complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on securities-related litigation. He has...  |  Read More

Jonathan Evan Goldberg
Jonathan Evan Goldberg


He focuses on all aspects of complex commercial litigation, employment law and litigation, and ERISA litigation. He is...  |  Read More

David A. Sorensen
David A. Sorensen

Hinshaw & Culbertson

He focuses his practice in the areas of professional liability and products liability defense with particular emphasis...  |  Read More

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