Beach Boys Author of “I Get Around” Sued by Plaintiffs Whose Lawyer Moves Around

January 5, 2022

Lawyers who practice law “systematically and continuously” or even temporarily in states where they are not licensed confront unauthorized practice of law and multijurisdictional statutes and rules. Does attorney-client privilege protection rise or fall on the same analysis? Normally not.

But some courts find that it does. In Flynn v. Love, Case No. 3:19-CV-00239-MMD-CLB, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201066 (D. Nev. Oct. 19, 2021), plaintiffs sued Beach Boys member Mike Love and his fifth wife over a copyright issue involving thirty-five Beach Boys songs. The court noted that plaintiffs asserted privilege protection for some communications with their lawyer Stillman. Among other things, the court held that Stillman (himself a plaintiff) had not established the existence of an attorney-client relationship with other plaintiffs, emphasizing that “[m]ore importantly . . . Stillman cannot represent anyone in Nevada, because he is not licensed in Nevada.” Id. at *13.

Although Stillman’s multijurisdictional practice issue was not dispositive, in most courts it would not even be a factor. The majority rule does not strip away a client’s privilege even if his lawyer was improperly practicing in a state where she was not authorized to do so.