The Privilege of PR

Extending The Attorney-Client Privilege To Crisis Communications Consultants

The attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine recognize the indispensability of free and frank communications between clients and attorneys for zealous legal counsel in an adversarial justice system. With the rise of citizen journalists seeking to expose wrongdoing and render justice in the “court of public opinion,” zealous legal representation today necessarily requires consideration of public relations (“PR”) strategies. While courts have recognized the importance of PR strategies in the rendering of legal advice, they have not consistently afforded attorney-client privilege or work-product protection to communications with external litigation or crisis PR specialists. This uncertainty must be resolved with an easily administrable rule upon which attorneys, clients, and PR specialists can rely when responding quickly to crises. This Note first surveys and categorizes the varying approaches courts have taken to address the issue and recommends that courts consider the presence of PR specialists as an exception to waiver and expand application of the attorney-client privilege to include legal communications between lawyers, litigations, and PR consultants.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.