May 14, 2019 Top Story

Court Extends Privilege to Public Relations Firm

Communications with third-party PR firm protected by attorney-client privilege

By Benjamin E. Long

Communications between a public relations firm and a law firm can be protected under the attorney-client privilege when the attorneys hire the PR firm to assist in providing legal advice to clients. ABA Section of Litigation leaders recognize that jurisdictions are split on this issue, however, and caution practitioners to be careful when engaging and communicating with public relations firms.

The  intellectual property rights lawsuit involved questions of ownership and other rights over a video game developed in the early 1990s

The intellectual property rights lawsuit involved questions of ownership and other rights over a video game developed in the early 1990s

iStockphoto by Getty Images

Counsel Hires PR Firm to Assist with Litigation

In Stardock Systems, Inc. v. Reiche, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California analyzed a discovery dispute in an intellectual property rights lawsuit. The case involved questions of ownership and other rights over a video game developed in the early 1990s. The discovery issue arose when the defendants filed a motion to quash a subpoena from the plaintiff that sought all communication among two of the defendants, a public relations firm, and the defendants’ counsel.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now