SBC Legal Counsel Quits After Denomination Votes to Waive Attorney-client Privilege over Sexual Abuse Investigations

Nearly 2 weeks a week after the SBC Executive Committee (EC) members voted to waive attorney-client privileges in order to be ‘fully transparent’ while sexual abuse claims are being investigated, the Southern Baptist Convention’s legal team has quit, sending a letter to Ronnie Floyd and tending their resignation after nearly 60 years of representation.

The whole thing is worth a read, but in a nutshell, the firm has always operated under good jurisprudence and there has always been an expectation of attorney-client privilege and that matters that are discussed would be confidential. However, the firm writes going forward we can no longer assure Executive Committee and Convention personnel with whom we work that the privacy of their communications with their lawyers will be secure.”

One of the lawyers, James Guenther, 87 and has been representing the SBC from the mid-1960’s. He went go on to say that there is nothing sinister about it, despite the EC’s attempt to paint it as such, but rather this legal concept has been in the bedrock of the rules of evidence in the country for centuries, writing:

“We understand the Executive Committee’s decision to convey a negative attitude about the
attorney-client privilege which it and the Convention enjoy. The decision causes us to carefully consider
the prospect of moving forward as we try to represent the Executive Committee and the Convention in an
alien environment. We simply do not know how to advise a client, and otherwise represent a client, with
the quality of advice and representation the client must have, and in keeping with the standard of practice
our firm tries to uphold, when the client has indicated a willingness to forego this universally accepted
principle of confidentiality.”

The whole thing can be read below:

The vote to waive attorney privileges passed earlier in the month 44-31 after weeks of deliberation, mostly with the progressives berating and beating the conservatives about it. At the news that they decided to waive, 10 executive committee members resigned.


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