Thomas E. Spahn

Partner

McGuireWoods LLP

Thomas Spahn is a partner with McGuireWoods and practices as a commercial litigator. He regularly advises Fortune 500 companies on high-stake issues. Spahn also advises in-house counsel on ethics issues including conflicts of interest and confidentiality.

Recently by Thomas E. Spahn

Privilege

Illinois Federal Court Addresses a Substantive and a Logistical Privilege Issue: Part I

A frequent privilege issue arising in federal and state courts involves communications that do not come from or go to a lawyer. Such communications may clearly deserve privilege protection, under certain limited circumstances.

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Litigation Holds

Are “Litigation Holds” Protected by the Privilege or the Work Product Doctrine?

With pandemic-triggered litigation predicted to increase, corporations’ lawyers undoubtedly will address the possible duty to impose “litigation holds,” which direct corporate employees to preserve pertinent documents.

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Privilege

Can Non-Practicing Lawyers Ever Deserve Privilege Protection?

Thomas Spahn, partner with McGuireWoods, returns with a new privilege point. The attorney-client privilege rests on a grand societal purpose — encouraging clients to safely share with their lawyers all the pertinent facts, so lawyers can guide them in a lawful direction. This is the same societal purpose underlying lawyers’ confidentiality duty.

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Privilege

Courts Point to Several Factors in Addressing The “Primary Purpose” Privilege Standard

Nearly every court protects as privileged only those communications or documents whose “primary purpose” was for the clients to request legal advice or the lawyers to provide the requested legal advice. A few courts have taken a more liberal “one significant purpose” approach, but that favorable doctrine has not widely taken root.

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Privilege

Accountants Implicate Subtle Privilege and Work Product Issues: Part II

Last week’s Privilege Point described a case applying the generally-accepted view that accountants assisting clients rather than the clients’ lawyers are outside privilege protection -- so copying them on privileged emails waives that fragile protection. An equally well-settled rule is just the opposite on the work product side -- disclosing protected work product to a non-adverse accountant does not waive that robust protection.

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