On January 9, 2023, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument in In re Grand Jury, a landmark case regarding a Kostelanetz client’s assertion of the attorney-client privilege during a grand-jury investigation. The Kostelanetz client asserted the attorney-client privilege over communications between the client and the client’s prior lawyers in response to a grand jury subpoena issued by the Department of Justice to the prior law firm. Grand jury secrecy protects the identity of the parties involved.
The parties litigated the assertion of the attorney-client privilege in federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last year, the Supreme Court accepted certiorari and agreed to resolve the dispute. Specifically, the Court will address whether communications between a client and a lawyer that involve aspects of both legal advice and non-legal advice, such as, for example, communications about tax law and tax return preparation, securities law and business advice, or divorce law and familial advice, can be privileged even when legal advice is not the sole primary purpose of the communication. This important case will help define the scope of the attorney-client privilege for nearly all communications between clients and their lawyers across the country.