The state Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider what rules law firms must follow if they want to keep internal discussions about their potential malpractice exposure secret.
The justices granted the petition for certiorari brought by a St. Simons developer and former client of Savannah’s Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn. A superior court judge had ordered the law firm to divulge its internal communications to the former client. But in July a panel of the Court of Appeals sent the case back to Savannah under new rules that appeared to help the firm keep its discussions secret.
The appellate panel opinion rejected the position taken by several courts around the country that a law firm does not enjoy attorney-client privilege with its own general counsel when a client wants to view internal communications about the client’s malpractice threat. Instead, the panel said the issue needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The justices were unanimous in agreeing to take up the case. They’re expected to hear oral argument in March.