Entrepreneurs who have good relationships with their counsel rely on them for more than legal advice. They typically expect business advice as well. More often than not, an entrepreneur tells me that they consider an attorney as part of their team and want their input. We know that when we give legal advice, it is protected by the attorney-client privilege. However, what happens when we mix business with legal advice? For instance, what if we are asked about a business course of action that could lead to legal risk? We can explain the legal risks but does that bring the business advice within the attorney-client privilege umbrella?
Here you have a push and pull situation. You want your client to be happy so they continue to retain you, while you also have to ensure that you don’t lose attorney-client privilege protection. Additionally, if an attorney has an ownership interest in the client or their business enterprise and provides business advice, that business advice could be excluded from coverage. One must consult their Professional Liability Insurance Policy – Business Enterprise Exclusion for details.