In Egiazaryan v. Zalmayev, No. 11-02670 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2013), the district court, applying New York law, held that disclosing otherwise privileged communications to a public relations firm waived the privilege. Plaintiff’s counsel had retained a public relations firm, BGR, to assist counsel in connection with certain arbitration proceedings that pre-dated this litigation. Defendant sought production of the communications between plaintiff and BGR, arguing that BGR was a third party and not within the privileged circle of client and attorney. Plaintiff argued that BGR was an agent of counsel, and therefore there was no waiver. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument. Although there are some decisions under federal common law that have held that PR agents may be considered agents of counsel for the purposes of privilege, there are no such decisions under New York law. Under New York law, a party asserting an agency relationship must show (1) a reasonable expectation of confidentiality and (2) that disclosure to the third party was necessary for the client to obtain informed legal advice. The “necessity” element means more than just “useful and convenient,” but rather requires that the involvement of the third party be “nearly indispensable or serve some specialized purpose in facilitating the attorney-client communications.” Here, although BGR was hired to burnish plaintiff’s reputation, there was no showing that BGR’s involvement was necessary to facilitate communications between plaintiff and his counsel, as in the case of a translator or an accountant clarifying communications between an attorney and client. Despite plaintiff’s argument that BGR participated in legal strategy and weighed strategic considerations in order to promote plaintiff’s legal goals, there was no evidence that BGR “improved the comprehension of the communications between attorney and client.” “Case law makes clear that ‘[a] media campaign is not a litigation strategy.’” “Thus, to the extent BGR was performing public relations functions, its participation in attorney-client communications resulted in a waiver – even if those functions were related to the various litigations in which [plaintiff] was embroiled.”