Granting a mandamus in an action where attorneys were compelled to turn over initial responses by clients on the Internet in suit against the makers of Paxil, the court re-affirmed the principle that the attorney-client privilege extends to initial consultations, even where the attorney and client acknowledge that no formal attorney-client relationship has been established. “Potential clients must be able to tell their lawyers their private business without fear of disclosure, in order for their lawyers to obtain honest accounts on which they may base sound advice and skillful advocacy. There would be no room for confusion had the communication been in the traditional context of a potential client going into a lawyer’s office and talking to the lawyer. The changes in law and technology that allow lawyers to solicit clients on the Internet and receive communications from thousands of potential clients cheaply and quickly do not change the applicable principles.” See Barton v. SmithKline Beecham, 410 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2005).
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