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.
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.
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