Preserving Attorney-Client Privilege in Class Action Litigation

Strategies for Protecting Confidential Information and Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls

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

Conducted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008

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Program Materials


Class action litigation raises unique issues concerning the attorney–client privilege. The involvement of multiple parties creates issues that do not typically arise during the more general application of the attorney–client privilege.

While the general principles underlying the privilege apply, counsel must be aware of the unique angles, including ethical dilemmas, that arise in complex class action proceedings in order to protect the exchange of confidential information.

Listen as our panel of class action attorneys examines the application of the attorney–client privilege in class action lawsuits, ethical issues implicated, defenses to the privilege, and best practices for preserving the privilege.



  1. Application of privilege to class action litigation and relevant Model Rules
    1. Communications between plaintiffs’ attorneys and potential class members (e.g., questionnaires) before attorney–client relationship is established
    2. Communications between plaintiffs’ attorneys and class representatives
    3. Communications between class representatives and absent class members
    4. Communications between co-defendants
  2. Advice of counsel defense
  3. Common interest privileges
    1. Joint-defense privilege
    2. Common defense privilege
  4. Best practices for preserving the privilege
    1. Legal communications
    2. Witness interviews
    3. Electronic communications


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Does the attorney–client privilege apply to communications between attorneys and class members that occur prior to the establishment of an attorney–client relationship?
  • Under what circumstances should the joint-defense privilege and common defense privilege be exercised?
  • What are some best practices for plaintiffs and defense counsel to preserve the attorney–client privilege?
  • What Model Rules are implicated by attorney–client communications in class action cases?


Carrie L. Huff
Carrie L. Huff
Haynes Boone

She is a commercial litigator. She also advises outside and in-house counsel regarding ethical issues such as conflicts...  |  Read More

Janet T. Munn
Janet T. Munn
Epstein Becker & Green

She focuses on complex commercial litigation and has successfully defended several class action suits. She is a...  |  Read More

Steve W. Berman
Steve W. Berman

Managing Partner
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

He has served as lead or co-lead plaintiffs' counsel in class actions and complex litigations throughout the country,...  |  Read More

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