Lawyers cannot turn around to assert a privilege that exists solely to serve their real clients, in order to interfere with the interests of a real client. In that context, the law firm is not a client and, thus, cannot hire itself. Its duty runs only to a real client other than the firm, which means the firm cannot assert privilege against a real client. That is especially so when the internal law firm privilege will make it less likely that real clients will seek legal advice, a result that directly contradicts the purpose of attorney-client privilege. Therefore, ACC requests that the court refuse to recognize the internal law firm privilege that the law firm has requested.
The court upheld the internal law firm privilege and the magistrate’s decision. The court did at least write that it had considered ACC’s arguments, even though it rejected them.