On October 20, 2016, the Washington Supreme Court decided that the attorney client privilege was inapplicable to communications made after the termination of the employment relationship between former employees and a corporate attorney. “[W]e hold that the privilege does not broadly shield counsel’s post employment communications with former employees.” See the Court’s Opinion.
In October 2015, Blythe Chandler and Jeffrey Needle wrote and filed WELA’s amicus brief. (View WELA’s Brief) In this personal injury action arising from a head injury to a high school football player, the question before the Washington Supreme Court was whether corporate counsel’s communications with a former corporate employee are protected by the attorney-client privilege when the communications occurred after the employment relationship ended. While there is no employment law issue in the case, the scope of the corporate attorney-client privilege is an important issue for employment attorneys, and the plaintiff’s bar more broadly.