When Are Reports of Internal Investigations Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege?

In-house legal departments and outside counsel often work under the assumption that internal investigations conducted by, or under the supervision of, counsel are protected by privilege.  However, a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has raised questions as to whether such privilege extends to investigations that are not conducted primarily for the purpose of seeking legal advice or directly in anticipation of litigation.  This article delves into the recent Barko v. Halliburton decision and what it means for companies that may seek to invoke the attorney-client privilege or work-product doctrine to preserve the confidentiality of internal investigations.  See also “Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege in Cross-Border Internal Investigations” (Jun. 26, 2013).

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