September 30, 2013

In Anwar v. Fairfield Greenwich Ltd., No. 09 Civ. 118 (S.D.N.Y. July 8, 2013), the court allowed plaintiff to discover communications between the defendant’s employees and defendant’s Dutch in-house lawyer.  The Dutch in-house lawyer, though educated in law, had never been licensed in any jurisdiction.  Under U.S. law, the attorney-client privilege still applies if the client had a reasonable belief that it was receiving advice from a licensed attorney; however, the reasonable belief exception did not apply here.  The Dutch in-house lawyer did not hold himself out as a licensed attorney, and the defendant never signed a professional charter committing to honor the attorney’s independence—which is required under Dutch law when a corporation hires a licensed attorney to work in-house.