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Attorney Client Privilege

Attorney Client Privilege

What Is The Definition of Attorney Client Privilege?

According to the Bouvier Law Dictionary, “A client’s privilege to bar introduction or attorney-client-priviledgeevidence given to the client’s attorney. The attorney-client privilege bars introduction or evidence provided by a client to an attorney in the attorney’s performance of legal services for the client. Services eligible for the privilege include counseling, preparation, or the representation (or preparation for the representation) of the client in litigation, administrative matters, negotiations with other parties, or related matters. In some states, the privilege extends also to the attorney’s communications with the client, although in other states such communications handshakeare only privileged when they reflect the client’s own statements or information. The privilege is the client’s, who may waive it, though it is of no application in a dispute between the client and the attorney. The privilege extends to communications with the attorney’s agents, including paralegals and secretaries, but applies only to information provided to the attorney or the attorney’s agents that is related to the representation of the client. The privilege is qualified, and an attorney is not barred by the privilege from disclosing information required: (a) to avert reasonably certain death or injury to the client, to the lawyer, or other others; (b) to prevent, mitigate, or rectify a serious crime or fraud by the client; (c) to secure advice about the extent of the privilege; (d) to defend the attorney from charges or claims arising from the representation; or (e) to comply with a court order. The privilege is to be narrowly construed, and doubts as to its applicability are to be resolved in favor of disclosure.” Bouvier Law Dictionary Attorney – Client Privilege.

In Soverain Software LLC v. The Gap, Inc.1, a business alleged there was a transfer of attorney client privilege when the business was taken over. Amazon argues that plaintiff cannot assert attorney- client privilege as Soverain is not the corporate successor of the companies. The court in this case was not convinced that the transfer of the Transact business amounted to just a transfer of assets and focused on whether the attorney- client privilege transfers when a business is taken over. Soverain not only acquired certain asserts but also has continues to operate the business.


  1. Soverain Software LLC v. Gap, Inc., 340 F. Supp. 2d 760 (E.D. Tex. 2004).

 

  • Soverain Software LLC v. Gap, Inc., 340 F. Supp. 2d 760 (E.D. Tex. 2004).

In this case, the dispute arose over whether Soverain could claim attorney-client privilege with regard to documents that contained communications between Open Market, Inc. and Divine, Inc., who were the former owners of the patents asserted in the case. The Court here finds that Soverain is a successor to the “Transact” software business at issue here and the attorney-client privilege that attended that business – therefore, Soverain may assert the privilege as to communication between Open Market, Divine and their respective attorneys. Amazon’s motion was denied.