Law Firm Internal Investigations: Ethical Issues and the Attorney-Client Privilege
Maintaining Confidentiality and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A
This CLE course will provide practitioners with an analysis of the scope of the attorney-client privilege in the course of law firm internal investigations. The panel will discuss minimizing potential conflicts of interest and legal ethics issues that may arise during an internal investigation.
- Scope of privilege
- Intra-firm dissemination of privileged information
- Current client or fiduciary exception
- Court and state bar treatment
- Conflicts of interest
- Fiduciary duty to client
Best practices to maintain confidentiality
- Appoint regular general counsel or ethics counsel
- Investigate or act on professional liability or responsibility issues when they arise
- Firm counsel treat investigation as client matter
- Firm counsel must safeguard attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine
- No discussion of investigation with aggrieved client
- Consider withdrawal from client representation (at least on particular matter)
The panel will review these and other key questions:
- What protections are available to law firms as they conduct internal investigations?
- What are the common challenges asserted by aggrieved clients to access information gathered in the firm's internal investigation?
- What ethical issues should law firms consider when undertaking an internal investigation?
- What steps should firms take to protect the confidentiality of the information resulting from the internal investigation?
Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.
John K. Villa
Williams & Connolly
He focuses his practice in legal malpractice defense and corporate and financial services-related litigation (civil... | Read More
He focuses his practice in legal malpractice defense and corporate and financial services-related litigation (civil and criminal). He has gained national prominence defending top law firms in trouble. The American Lawyer called him the premier legal malpractice defense lawyer in the nation and the Washington Post says "John Villa ...[is] the lawyer ...firms turn to when they're in trouble."Close
Thomas B. Mason
Partner, Chair of Legal Profession and Ethics Practice
He focuses his practice in the areas of professional responsibility and legal ethics. He advises and represents... | Read More
He focuses his practice in the areas of professional responsibility and legal ethics. He advises and represents attorneys and law firms on malpractice and ethics matters. He served on the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee from 2002 to 2008. He is currently Chair of the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee. He speaks on ethics issues at legal conferences and seminars.Close
Partner and General Counsel
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
He has more than two decades of experience advising individuals and corporations in complex criminal and civil... | Read More
He has more than two decades of experience advising individuals and corporations in complex criminal and civil matters. He has represented corporations, their directors, officers and employees in cases involving allegations of mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, government program and procurement fraud, bank fraud, consumer fraud, and money laundering.Close