Attorney-Client Privilege

News & Analysis as of

Border Searches of Your Electronic Devices — What Rights Do You Have?

The United States government has reported that border searches of electronic devices in the U.S. increased from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016. Because electronic devices have immense data storage capacity and can hold...more

A Common Interest Agreement May Not Be Worth the Paper It’s Written On

It is a very common practice for counsel to co-defendants or co-plaintiffs to enter into agreements that shield their communications. The agreements are expressions of intent that the communications will be protected by the...more

Communications With Your Broker May Be Privileged

Are communications among a client, a third party, such as an insurance broker, and the client’s attorney privileged? The answer is yes, if the communications are confidential and reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose...more

Court Uses an "In Camera" Review for Purposes Other than Privilege or Work Product Assessment

Adversaries challenging litigants' privilege or work product assertions necessarily "shadow box" with the litigants -- because the adversaries cannot see the withheld documents. Courts often review such withheld documents in...more

Communications Between Public Relations Firm and Counsel Held Not Privileged

Behunin v Superior Court, __ Cal. Rptr. 3d ___ 2017 WL 977095 (March 16, 2017) - Brief Summary - The Second District of the California Court of Appeal ruled that communications between counsel and a public relations...more

Communications between Counsel and PR Firm Hired by Counsel Held Discoverable

Counsel handling cases involving newsworthy facts and litigation often hire public relations (“PR”) consultants. In Nicholas Behunin v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 2017 DJDAR 2405 (No. B272225 March 14, 2017)...more

Confidential Communications With In-House Counsel Are Not Always Privileged

Next to a person’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, the attorney-client privilege is probably the most well recognized legal doctrine out there. Nevertheless, there are many nuances surrounding the privilege about...more

Privilege Waiver: Is Your File-Sharing Site a Public Park Bench?

While courts and the Federal Rules of Evidence take an increasingly pragmatic approach to the question of when inadvertent disclosure of privileged information results in waiver, a recent federal magistrate’s ruling serves as...more

Courts Address Privilege and Work Product Implications of Defendants' and Plaintiffs' Large "Town Hall" Meetings

The attorney-client privilege protects communications made and preserved in confidence. Work product protection does not rest on confidentiality, but evaporates if adversaries are present or later obtain protected work...more

Connecticut Supreme Court To In-House Counsel: Your Internal Communications Are Privileged Only If Their "Primary" Purpose Was To...

In September 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision providing guidance on questions that frequently bedevil in-house counsel: are internal communications to and from in-house counsel protected by the...more

Ex-General Counsel Dodged Privilege Claims Before $14.5 Million Verdict

In our last post, we detailed how Sanford Wadler, the former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories, won a $14.5 million verdict against Bio-Rad. Before Wadler could get to a jury, however, he had to surmount a...more

"The E-Discovery Digest - March 2017"

The sixth edition of The E-Discovery Digest focuses on recent decisions addressing the scope and application of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine, spoliation, and discovery responses. Please see...more

Does the Fiduciary Exception Apply to Legal Advice Received By Insurers During the Claims Process

Seyfarth Synopsis: Adding to the body of conflicting authority on the scope of the attorney-client privilege in ERISA lawsuits, a district court has found that the fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege applies to...more

New York Decision Highlights Another Common Interest Doctrine Risk

Under the common interest doctrine, separately represented clients may sometimes avoid waiving their fragile privilege protection when they disclose protected documents to each other. Nearly every court applies the doctrine...more

Protecting privilege during Australian internal investigations: is lawyer work product at risk?

In the long running RBS Rights Issue litigation, the English High Court has recently ruled that notes of interviews of bank employees, prepared by the bank's in-house lawyers who conducted the interviews as part of an...more

Accused of Taking Confidential Information? Five Immediate Steps That Can Limit Risk

Disputes over trade secrets and confidential information have increased dramatically in recent years. Often arising after a business hires an employee from a competitor, a proposed acquisition falls through, or information is...more

Court Applies the Sporck Doctrine

The work product doctrine involves many more varied and practical aspects than the attorney-client privilege. Among other things, heightened opinion work product protection can sometimes protect lawyers' selection of...more

Data subject access requests: proportionality and legal professional privilege

By way of wider context, the parties in Holyoake v. (1) Candy and (2) CPC Group Limited [2017] EWHC 52 (QB), are currently engaged in a multi-million pound dispute relating to a loan agreement. Separate to these proceedings...more

Evidence Law Litigation Update - February 2017

New York Court of Appeals Holds That the Common Interest Doctrine Applies Only to Litigation Matters. This year, in Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 80, 2016 N.Y. Lexis 1649 (N.Y. June 9, 2016), New...more

Texas Law Lets Attorney-Client Privilege Transfer to the Buyer of a Business

When negotiating the sale of a business, legal counsel should be aware that the attorney-client privilege protecting communications between the seller and its legal counsel – including negotiations regarding the acquisition –...more

General Counsel Permitted to Use Attorney-Client Privileged Information in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

In a recent case, Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. case number 3:15-cv-02356 (2016), the federal court in the Northern District of California ruled that the plaintiff and former general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories...more

For Our Eyes Only: Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege and Its Application to Banks

The attorney-client privilege is a rule of evidence that prevents the adverse party in a lawsuit from obtaining access to certain communications. If properly understood and wellmanaged, this privilege offers a useful tool for...more

Court Upholds Attorney-Client Privilege In Reinsurance Dispute, Rejecting Assertion Of The Crime-Fraud Exception And Questions...

The case involves a dispute over Utica Mutual Insurance Company’s claims for reinsurance proceeds from Munich Re. One of Munich Re’s defenses in the litigation asserts that Utica “strategically orchestrated a settlement...more

Whistleblower General Counsel Prevails Through Use Of Attorney-Client Privileged Information

In a seminal trial court decision, the federal court in the Northern District of California ruled in a whistleblower retaliation case that a fired general counsel of Bio-Rad Laboratories could use as evidence otherwise...more

Will In-House Attorneys Reach for their Whistles?

The news is full of stories about whistleblowers collecting millions from their former employers. Surely at least a few in-house lawyers fantasize about that kind of payday. After all, who knows better than an in-house...more

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