More Privilege Articles


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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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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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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