This page provides general information for stakeholders about the nature of the attorney-client privilege. For more detailed information, or to get answers to specific questions, please reach out to a member of OGC. 

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects confidential communications between a client and their attorney. The privilege protects communications made orally or writing (including email and other media).  With narrow exceptions, attorneys cannot reveal, and courts cannot force them to reveal, communications that are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

The privilege is important because it allows clients to speak openly and honestly about their concerns.  To provide accurate advice, OGC must be fully-informed about all the facts of the matter, including any "bad" or damaging facts. Stakeholders should feel comfortable being completely candid in their communications with OGC. Stakeholders who are concerned about the possibility of an Oxy-related lawsuit are strongly encouraged to seek advice from OGC.

Attorney-Client Privilege FAQ

OGC’s client is Occidental College. The institution, rather than any individual, is the holder of the attorney-client privilege.

The most important step you can take to protect the privilege is to ensure that no one is involved in your communications to OGC who does not share a common legal interest. Including an outside or adversely situated party on a call, email, or other communication can result in a waiver of privilege. 

Stakeholders are encouraged to label communications to OGC seeking legal advice “Privileged and Confidential / Attorney-Client Communication” or similar.  However, note that simply including OGC on an email or labeling a communication privileged does not necessarily mean privilege will apply. The purpose of the communication must be to seek or discuss legal advice or prepare for litigation.

Do not disclose privileged material and communications (including emails) to anyone outside of Occidental, or to any internal stakeholder who is not directly involved in managing the legal issue at hand, unless approved by OGC. If there is any doubt about whether something may be disclosed, err on the side of not disclosing and contact OGC for guidance. 

No. While several Occidental stakeholders have legal degrees (J.D.), only members of  OGC and designated outside counsel can provide privileged legal advice.

Office of the General Counsel

Disclaimer: The material on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.