A Kovel agreement is a legal agreement between a lawyer and a third-party consultant, such as an accountant or financial advisor. This agreement allows the consultant to work with the lawyer and the client while maintaining the confidentiality and privileges related to attorney-client relationships.
The Kovel agreement takes its name from United States v. Kovel, a federal case from 1961. The case involved a grand jury subpoena for the accounting records of a client represented by a law firm. The law firm hired an accountant to help prepare the records, and the accountant claimed that the attorney-client privilege applied to the work he did while working with the law firm. The court agreed, establishing the Kovel doctrine, which allowed lawyers to bring in outside consultants without waiving the attorney-client privilege.
Today, Kovel agreements are commonly used in cases where a lawyer needs the expertise of a third-party consultant to help with a client`s legal matter. Examples include tax litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and complex civil litigation cases. In these cases, the consultant can work with the lawyer and the client to gather and analyze financial documents without fear of having to disclose them to outside parties.
The Kovel agreement is an important tool for lawyers seeking outside expertise while protecting their client`s legal interests. In order for a Kovel agreement to be effective, the consultant must be working under the supervision of the lawyer, and all communication between the lawyer and the consultant must be kept confidential. This ensures that the attorney-client privilege remains intact, regardless of the involvement of outside consultants.
In conclusion, a Kovel agreement is an important legal agreement that protects the attorney-client privilege when lawyers bring in outside consultants to assist with a legal matter. By maintaining confidentiality and supervision over the consultant`s work, lawyers can provide their clients with the best possible legal representation while protecting their legal interests. Understanding the role of Kovel agreements is essential for lawyers, consultants, and clients in complex legal matters.