In-House Counsel Communications with Employees During Litigation Process: Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product

Strategies for Interviewing Employees and Obtaining Statements Regarding Threatened or Pending Litigation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Thursday, October 27, 2016

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar addresses strategies for in-house counsel and outside counsel to establish and maintain attorney–client privilege and work-product protections while interviewing and obtaining statements from employees in anticipation of and during litigation. Our experienced panel will also address best practices for internal communications regarding threatened or pending litigation.

Description

When litigation is threatened or arises, in-house counsel may decide to interview employees, including corporate executives, who may have knowledge relevant to the dispute. In-house counsel may memorialize the interview by keeping personal notes or by obtaining witness statements to preserve the testimony in the event the employee relationship ends. If handled properly, the chances significantly increase that the attorney–client privilege and work-product doctrine protect these statements from discovery by opposing parties.

The role of in-house and outside counsel increasingly goes beyond interviewing witnesses and obtaining their knowledge of relevant events. Local media, including traditional media, social media sites, online newspapers, and blogs, often seek to interview employee or corporate representatives about the dispute. When media inquiries arise, companies often turn to in-house and outside counsel to assist in preparing employees for media statements and interviews. Protecting these communications as privileged requires additional thought and strategies.

Listen as our authoritative panel addresses strategies for in-house counsel and outside counsel when interviewing employee witnesses and obtaining written statements as well as communications with other employees regarding threatened or pending litigation.

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Outline

  1. Considerations when deciding whether to take statements from employees
  2. Interviewing employee witnesses
  3. Obtaining statements from employee witnesses
  4. Discovery of information regarding employee interviews and employee statements by opposing parties—protections afforded by attorney–client privilege and work-product doctrine.
  5. Maintaining privilege protections when communicating with employees regarding media issues
  6. Protecting the company’s privilege while cooperating with regulators in investigations by sharing information developed during interviews

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Should employee witnesses be interviewed by in-house counsel, other management or outside counsel?
  • What is required for the attorney-client privilege to attach to communications by in-house counsel with employees during or in anticipation of litigation?
  • Should employee statements be taken to preserve the testimony?
  • What is required for statements to be protected from discovery by the work product doctrine?
  • How should in-house and outside counsel handle discussions with company employees regarding public-relations statements and media interviews?

Faculty

Lambrakopoulos, Stavroula
Stavroula E. Lambrakopoulos

Partner
K&L Gates

Ms. Lambrakopoulos concentrates her practice in securities enforcement matters, securities and financial services...  |  Read More

Todd Presnell
Todd Presnell

Partner
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Mr. Presnell is a trial lawyer licensed in Georgia and Tennessee who represents major corporations, small businesses,...  |  Read More

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