Re: poly: Pondering Privacy

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon May 25 1998 - 13:47:50 PDT

Greg B. writes:
>> Have you had experience with a legal system where there was not an attorney-
>> client priviledge? If not, I don't see you can have much empirical support
>> for one situation over the other.
>two competing theories of the privilege in the case of corporate entities: The
>"subject matter" and "control group" tests for the privilege. In the former,
>communications between a corporation's lawyer and any employee regarding the
>subject matter of the lawyer's representation were privileged. In the latter,
>only communications with high-level executives were privileged. ...
>Executives governed by the narrower test seemed to me to be less willing to
>engage in broad-ranging reviews of questionable corporate policies, for fear
>that the investigations of their lawyers would be discoverable in litigation.

That does seem to me to be a valid relevant empirical observation. It still
seems ambiguous regarding which system is better though. Perhaps companies that
anticipate difficulties doing broad ranging legal reviews later will compensate
by having more conservative clearly-legal policies. Maybe companies that can
review policies more easily will try to skate closer to the edge of legality.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Mon May 25 20:53:16 1998

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