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Limits to how far in-house counsel should camouflage themselves among clients

At Colt Telecom, its 45 lawyers pride themselves on being embedded in the business operations they support: “senior lawyers do not even have the word ‘lawyer’ in their job titles.” Presumably, also, no synonym such as “counselor,” “legal advisor,” or “attorney.” The strained effort is pointed out in the Financial Times report, “Innovative Lawyers 2009,” dated Oct. 23, 2009 at 33. Might that reticence harm attorney client privilege, if it is available to Colt Telecom’s in-house counsel?

My further reaction is that this lawyer denial is going overboard. It is important that clients know they are being advised by a lawyer, someone with professional training and experience as well as a particular role. Alignment needs to be demonstrated by lawyers in more substantial ways than erasure of professional identify (See my post of April 16, 2007: extreme alignment; and June 15, 2008; alignment with clients with 16 references.).

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