Reed Smith partner Peter Kennedy likes to say that decisions regarding attorney client privilege have “a short fuse and a long tail.” In other words, decisions that lawyers make very quickly have long-term consequences that might not be felt for a long time. But the basics of all decisions regarding privilege boil to these three basic elements: (1) A communications between a client and their attorney, (2) made in confidence and (3) for the purpose of obtaining providing legal advice

Kennedy, who represents law firms regularly as part of his litigation practice, spoke in conversation Wednesday with his partners Janet Kwuon and George Brown at the firm’s second annual global disputes conference, held virtually. What became clear during their conversation is that questions of confidentiality, the second prong of those privilege decisions, have been seriously complicated by changes in the way lawyers have worked during the pandemic.