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Litigation risks of a law department’s knowledge management efforts

I used to believe that law departments should disseminate answers to frequently-asked questions, post legal guidance for hypotheticals, and share with clients responses to questions that might arise again, all contributing to the good of capturing and spreading knowledge (Is creating good by capturing knowledge “salutary confinement?”).

Now disabused of this innocent belief, I realize – thanks to a law department retreat I recently facilitated – that without assurance that the material will be protected under the attorney client privilege, the law department might be digging a deep litigation hole. If practices do not conform to the disseminated material, of if publicizing the law goes awry, plaintiff’s attorneys can turn the good effort against the company. No good deed goes unpunished.