Joint commitments can be attractive. Clients like them because they can reduce costs, simplify the prosecution or defense of a case, and bind partners, venturers, or affiliates more closely. Lawyers love them because they appeal to clients, play a bigger role in a case, and simplify the prosecution or defense of a case. But just as bears can determine that the fascination of a hive has costs, so can it be to represent more than one customer in an engagement. Lawyers must consider and address many issues prior to the commencement of representation, including the privileged status of communicating with clients on their behalf. Best Practices Lawyers who present themselves jointly should discuss the status of their communication with clients in writing at the beginning of the engagement. The second exception applies to disputes between clients in joint representation. Under this « adverse litigation exception », all communications made in the context of joint representation can be found when former joint clients are suing each other. This exception also applies to disputes between one of the joint clients and the lawyer who represented all the joint clients. Therefore, a joint lawyer cannot refuse privileged communication to the joint representation of a joint client, even if another joint client refuses to consent to the disclosure. If a joint client prevents the co-lawyer from disclosing the communications of the joint representation, there is a risk of collusion between a client and the joint lawyer. For example, if the joint lawyer breached an obligation to a joint client but did not cause harm to another joint client, and the injured client sued the lawyer, it would be unfair to allow the injury client to use the privilege to prevent the injured client from receiving communications made in the course of representation in the context of representation, to prove his case.
Similarly, the « adverse litigation exception » applies when joint clients jointly sue their joint counsel. In this case, clients cannot invoke the privilege of preventing the lawyer from using the communications made in the representation to defend the claims. Privilege in joint representations Lawyer`s privilege exists between a lawyer and each client in a joint mandate. Privilege applies to communication between counsel and each client in relation to the order; it also applies to communication between co-clients and their joint lawyers. .