Covington & Burling’s dispute with the Securities and Exchange Commission over regulators’ access to client information has implications for the sanctity of attorney-client relationships, according to white-collar lawyers contacted for this report.

The SEC sued the firm early this week, demanding that it comply with a subpoena for the identities of 298 clients whose information was reported to have been breached during a 2020 cyberattack. Regulators say they are investigating the possibility of insider trading or other securities violations that resulted from the 2020 breach, not necessarily involving the firm’s clients.

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