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You’re the general counsel of a respectably sized company, and the CEO has just walked into your office to discuss a civil investigation that a governmental agency has quietly launched into certain affairs of the company. There is no suggestion that the company has taken action that is criminal, and in fact you’re quite confident the investigation will amount to nothing because, as far as you know, the company has conducted itself appropriately in all respects. You listen calmly as the CEO describes the matters about which the agency is making inquiries; she asks for your thoughts about the potential ramifications for the company, as well as any strategies you might suggest for dealing with it. As she speaks, you envision Maxwell Smart’s “cone of silence” descending to protect this conversation. After all, this is a classic example of a privileged attorney-client communication—it’s impenetrably shielded from disclosure, right?

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