Lawyers are increasingly meeting individual clients and corporate-client employees in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.  And this phenomenon is not limited to solo practitioners who use the local Starbucks as an office.  Firm-based lawyers more often interview a client’s employee or consultant over lunch rather than in their offices.  And in-house lawyers discuss confidential information with corporate employees in the company café.

A key component to the corporate attorney–client privilege is that lawyer–client conversations occur in a confidential setting.  In a recent Oregon case, a lawyer escaped privilege waiver for a meeting held in a restaurant, but only after having to prove that the tables around him were empty and that no one overhead the conversation.  While this was a privilege win, it should give lawyers pause about their client-meeting locations.  MacFarlane v. Fivespice, LLC, 2017 WL 1758052 (D. Ore. May 4, 2017).  You may read this decision here.

Restaurant Conversation

A former server at Café Murrayhill in Beaverton, Oregon filed a retaliation suit against the café.  The café’s lawyer met with the executive chef—at the restaurant.  Seems reasonable enough, but the meeting occurred in a restaurant booth and not in a private meeting room.Keep Reading this POP Post