Are lawyer engagement letters privileged?

For their part, plaintiffs typically object to producing their engagement letters on the view that they are protected by the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine. … Aside from being privileged, engagement letters are generally not relevant under Rule 26.

Are engagement letters confidential?

Engagement letters: Terms of confidentiality should be clearly spelled out in all engagement letters with legal counsel. All matters relating to the client are confidential and should not be discussed or disclosed to anyone outside the law firm, without the express written permission of the client.

Are letters between lawyers privileged?

Legal professional privilege protects confidential communications and confidential documents between a lawyer and a client made for the dominant purpose of the lawyer providing legal advice or professional legal services to the client, or for use in current or anticipated litigation.

Is an engagement letter discoverable?

Because of Rule 23’s adequacy requirement, engagement letters are relevant. As one court held, these agreements are “relevant to the ability of named plaintiffs to protect the interest of potential class members and hence are a proper subject for discovery.” 33 Epstein v. Am.

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Are retainer letters privileged?

Retainer agreements are not privileged, however, unless they reveal a confidential communication of legal advice — the identity of the client, the fee arrangement, and the fact of retention are not privileged because they only involve the incidents of representation.

What is an engagement letter from a lawyer?

An engagement letter describes the relationship between attorney and client, including the scope of the work to be done and the fee arrangement. Any new law practice should take the time to draft a standard engagement letter that can be modified and used every time the firm takes on a new client.

What do attorneys look for in an engagement letter?

When You Engage With an Attorney You Need an Engagement Letter

  • Scope of Service. This is the beginning point for defining what the role will be for a law firm and its client. …
  • Retainers, Fees, Costs, and Expenses. …
  • Monthly Statements. …
  • Liability Insurance. …
  • File Retention. …
  • Fee Disputes. …
  • Predictability of Results.

What makes a document legally privileged?

Privileged documents must include both (a) communications between attorneys and their clients regarding legal advice; and (b) communications between clients discussing legal advice given to them by an attorney (Cormack et al., 2010).

How do I know if my document is privileged?

The description of the document needs to contain sufficient facts to demonstrate why that document is privileged. Privilege logs are also commonly accompanied with a “players list” that not only shows the identity of attorneys, but also the positions of the non-lawyers on the communications.

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What documents are legally privileged?

The idea of documents being privileged is common sense when you understand it but takes a little bit of explaining. An email or letter from you to a qualified lawyer (barrister or solicitor) asking for advice, and the written legal advice you receive, are examples of documents which are privileged.

Are attorney-client contracts discoverable?

A client’s communication made in confidence to an attorney is not subject to discovery because the consequence of disclosure could interfere with the proper function of our judicial system, namely, that a client should feel free to tell its attorney everything and anything. People v. Velasquez (1987) 192 Cal.

Are attorney billing records privileged Illinois?

2d 626, 635 (7th Circ. 1990). Generally, information regarding a client’s fees is not protected by the attorney/client privilege because payment of fees is not a confidential communication between the attorney and client, but an economic transaction, incidental to the relationship.

Are retainers discoverable?

Courts tend to allow discovery of fee and retainer agreements between class counsel and named plaintiffs where the information contained therein is directly relevant to potential conflicts with absent class members.

Does attorney-client privilege protect the attorney?

The basic attorney-client privilege protects client communications with the attorney. It also extends to responsive communications from the lawyer to the client. However, the communication need not be so overt as an oral or written action.

Are law firm invoices privileged?

In a much-anticipated ruling, the California Supreme Court held on December 29, 2016 that legal invoices are protected by the attorney-client privilege, and therefore, with some exceptions, need not be disclosed under the Public Records Act.

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Are attorney fees protected by attorney-client privilege?

HIGHLIGHTS: The Supreme Court of California has held that California attorney-client privilege categorically protects attorney invoices for ongoing matters, but the degree of protection for concluded matters is substantially less certain. The court’s opinion in County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v.