Don’t Communicate with Your Lawyer on Family Computers

Parties often communicate with their lawyers on the family computer, the one that other family members use to access email, surf the internet, etc. Where access to the computer is not password protected for each user, communications with counsel are fatal to the attorney-client privilege because caselaw holds that there is no expectation of privacy – it is akin to speaking to counsel about sensitive matters on a crowded elevator where everything can be overheard. This can result in a court order directing the careless party to reveal all prior communications (Willis v. Willis, 79 A.D.3d 1029, 914 N.Y.S.2d 243 (2nd Dept., 2010)).