In-house lawyers in Europe will have to keep fighting for legal privilege, according to a recent opinion (pdf) by a legal adviser at the European Union’s highest court. Advocate-General Juliane Kokott of the European Union’s Court of Justice said on April 29 that attorney-client privilege should not apply to in-house corporate lawyers because they are not independent.
“A salaried in-house lawyer, notwithstanding any membership of a Bar of Law Society, does not enjoy the same degree of independence from his employer as a lawyer working in an external law firm does in relation to his client,” Kokott wrote in her opinion. “There is a structural risk that an enrolled in-house lawyer will encounter a conflict of interests between his professional obligations and the aims and wishes of his company.”
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