In a recent Tax Notes article by Nathan J. Richman entitled “Work-From-Home Technology Comes With New Privilege Concerns,” Paul Butler discussed concerns about how to safeguard attorney-client privilege and protect the work product doctrine when using videoconferencing and other new technological tools that tax professionals are relying on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Excerpts from the article are below:
The standard questions about how to safeguard attorney-client privilege and protect the work product doctrine are fairly straightforward when organizing an invite-only conference call with a handful of participants, but larger calls can present more opportunities to waive the protections if the calls include non-lawyers or non-clients, Paul Butler of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP said during a May 14 webcast
sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Taxation.
“Multiply that, and the complexity of that, when you get into things like Zoom meetings, YouTube channels, Google Meets, Webex, WhatsApp, [or] iMessages. It gets really difficult to control and know everybody who’s participating in those kinds of things, and that becomes a real danger point for inadvertent waivers,” Butler said. It’s much more complicated to protect a taxpayer’s document privileges when using those tools than in more traditional situations involving one-on-one conversations and written documents, he said.