Confidentiality and Privilege with the Baylor Office of General CounselNov. 15, 2012
The attorneys in the Office of General Counsel represent Baylor University and do not represent faculty and staff on an individual or personal basis. However, by communicating with this office, faculty and staff members may be acting as representatives of Baylor so that there is a lawyer-client privileged communication. That means that the law allows most communications between a lawyer and a client to remain confidential.
The privilege in this situation belongs to Baylor and not the attorney or the communicating faculty or staff member. But the privilege can be waived without proper authority to do so if a faculty or staff member discloses the contents of the privileged communication to a third party. As a result, communications sent to or received from the Office of General Counsel by faculty and staff should never be forwarded or otherwise sent to anyone outside of Baylor (and only to other Baylor employees who have a need to know) unless the faculty or staff member first gets approval from the attorney in this office or the attorney specifically states that the message can be forwarded.
In addition, some communications sent to or received from this office should not be forwarded to anyone, including other Baylor employees, if the attorney sending or receiving the communication specifically states that it should not be forwarded to anyone else without specific instructions as to who else can receive the information.
The communicating faculty or staff member should also keep in mind that because the privilege belongs to Baylor and not to the person communicating with the attorney, the attorney may be required to further communicate the information received with other appropriate client representatives at Baylor; such as supervisors, the vice presidents, the president, or the governing board.
These are important matters for Baylor University, and any of the attorneys in the Office of General Counsel will be happy to discuss the issues and answer any questions regarding the matter of privileged communications.