In 2012, a law firm’s client wrote some nasty emails to the firm about the advice he was being given in a litigation matter. The lawyer within the firm who was handling the matter sought the advice of another lawyer within the firm about the dispute. A few years later, the client brought an action against the law firm for legal malpractice and sought discovery about the communication between the two lawyers within the firm. The trial court granted a motion to compel the discovery, reasoning that the holding in Thelen Reid & Priest v. Marland (N.D. Cal. Feb. 21, 2007), a case wherein a law firm simultaneously represented both an outside client and itself and held that a firm’s fiduciary and ethical duties to a client trump the attorney-client privilege, applied in the instant case. In granting the law firm’s writ of mandate in the current case, the appellate court recognized that large law firms increasingly are hiring their own in-house counsel to provide day-to-day ethics advice and monitor internal policies and procedures. The Court of Appeal stated that California Courts are not at liberty to create implied exceptions to the attorney-client privilege embodied in Evidence Code sections 958 and 962. (Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP v. Sup.Ct. (Mireskandari) (Cal. App. Second Dist., Div. 3; November 25, 2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 1214, [180 Cal.Rptr.3d 620].)
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