Thomas E. Spahn
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
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More