Media Coverage

Ballard Spahr Among 83 Signatories to Amicus Brief Urging Protection of Attorney-Client Privilege

February 22, 2023

Leaders from 83 law firms, including Ballard Spahr, signed an amicus brief opposing an SEC subpoena that would require divulging the identities of 300 Covington & Burling clients whose information was accessed in a Chinese-sponsored cyber attack three years ago.

"Not only would the SEC breach well-established principles of confidentiality in the service of this fishing expedition, it would turn attorneys into witnesses against their own clients, while offering no guarantees that it will not disseminate the information to other parts of the government, the press, and the public,” the brief's authors wrote. “This violation of confidentiality is especially troubling given that it re-victimizes the targets of a foreign nation’s cyberattack—an increasingly common feature of modern life that even the most diligent businesses and governments cannot prevent.”

Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation Partner Norman Goldberger spoke with a reporter from The American Lawyer about the brief.

“If [the regulators] win this, then they have accomplished quite a bit,” he said, calling the commission’s efforts rulemaking through litigation. “The first case is hard but the next one isn’t.”

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