Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine Toolkit
Resources to help counsel navigate the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine in federal litigation.
The attorney-client privilege ( www.practicallaw.com/7-506-8557) protects from disclosure to third parties confidential attorney-client communications that relate to legal advice. The purpose of the attorney-client privilege is to promote full and frank communications between attorneys and their clients. The attorney-client privilege's protections are absolute. An adversary cannot overcome these protections by showing substantial need. However, under certain circumstances, the privilege may be waived.
The work product doctrine ( www.practicallaw.com/1-501-8810) protects from disclosure to third parties documents and tangible things that a party or its representative prepares in anticipation of litigation. In some ways, the work product doctrine is broader than the attorney-client privilege because its protections are not limited solely to communications or confidential matters. However, the work product doctrine is also narrower than the attorney-client privilege because its protections extend only to documents and other tangible things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation. In addition, work product protection is not absolute. An adversary may obtain certain kinds of work product by showing substantial need. As with the attorney-client privilege, work product protection may also be waived.
This Toolkit contains numerous resources to help counsel navigate the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. Although these resources are designed to assist counsel in federal litigation, the principles that these resources address may also assist counsel in other types of litigation.