Privilege and Work-Product

Imagine that one attorney, let’s call her Ms. Bennett, has a client, Ms. Austen. Ms. Bennett, of course, speaks with Ms. Austen. Suppose, however, that Ms. Bennett also speaks with another attorney in her firm, Mr. Darcy, about Ms. Austen’s case. Is the attorney-client privilege limited to just the communications between Ms. Bennett and Ms. Austen or is it sufficiently broad to cover communications related to a client’s matter or interests among and between multiple counsel? Last week, the Second District Court of Appeal answered this question in Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, holding that the attorney-client privilege is not limited to communications directly between a client and his or her attorney.

The Court of Appeal also held that the “absolute work product privilege [sic] depends not on the existence of a writing but rather on the nature of the claimed privileged matter.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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