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Legal issues and legal department management: privilege, malpractice, fee shifting, unauthorized practice

Running a law department raises not just operational effectiveness issues but also substantive legal issues. What should be the role of in-house counsel leads to knotty issues of attorney-client privilege. Can in-house counsel not admitted to the bar of the state in which they practice violate rules against the unauthorized practice of law? Under what conditions – including flawed management of outside counsel – can an action be brought against an employee lawyer for malpractice, and is there insurance against that risk? When can corporate counsel recover attorney’s fees?

An excellent paper on these and other topics at the border between law and management, including obligations of lawyers under Sarbanes-Oxley, can be had from the firm of Saul Ewing. Two lawyers of that firm, Michael Lampert and Michael Conlan, shared their views on these issues at the recent ACC New Jersey Annual Meeting. A previous version of their paper, which focuses on the laws of New York, New Jersey and Maryland, is available online.