September 01, 2013

Privilige: Who Is the Client in the Closely Held Corporation?

Edna Selan Epstein

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You represent a closely held corporation. Whom do you represent—the corporation or the chief operating officer who owns all the shares?

Lawyers! No wonder ordinary mortals find us exasperating.

Lawyers get hired and paid to worry about things no one else expects to, or much less wants to, worry about. Just imagine what your client would think if you voiced these dark-of-the-night worries: “I thought you were my friend! I thought I could rely on you to solve my problems for me, not to create ones where none exist.”

Let’s assume there is a lawsuit, and the chief executive officer (CEO) is being deposed. He is asked, “When you had your conversations with the lawyer, was she representing you or was she representing the company?” The CEO answers, truthfully and perplexedly, “I never thought about it.”


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