Ruling: clients of Senate-paid lawyers can be ID’d

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says public disclosure of the names of clients whose lawyers were funded by the state Senate doesn’t necessarily violate attorney-client confidentiality.

The justices on Wednesday unanimously upheld a lower court decision in a case that arose after a reporter for The Associated Press sought legal records related to former Senate Democratic Leader Bob Mellow and the Democratic caucus.

The ruling says client names and general descriptions of services aren’t necessarily protected by attorney-client privilege, but they can be under certain circumstances. They say a line-by-line analysis can show if attorney-client privilege is an issue.

The court sided with the Senate, however, in saying that the institution could raise additional reasons to deny access, even after it has filed an initial written response.

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