Accountants, Attorney-Client Privilege, and the Kovel Rule: Waiver through Inadvertent Disclosure Via Electronic Communication

Carl Pacini, Pamella Seay, and Raymond Placid

Under certain circumstances, a lawyer may shield a non-testifying accountant or other business expert under the Kovel rule. This rule extends the attorney-client privilege to accountant-client communications and to work product when the accountant is hired to help in rendering legal services. The party claiming the privilege bears the burden of proving the existence of the factors required to sustain it. Various protective measures reviewed in this article are vital to preserve the extension of the privilege to accountants and other business experts.