Boston University School of Law

JD812 Attorney-Client Privilege, Work Product & Lawyer-Client Confidentiality (S)


This seminar will offer an in-depth analysis of the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, and lawyer-client confidentiality with special emphasis on recent developments in these areas of the law. Among sub-topics to be covered will be (a) changes in the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rules 1.6 and 1.13, and the reasons why these changes occurred; (b) the erosion of the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine through governmental action requiring waivers of the privilege in corporate crime cases; (c) case law interpretations of what constitutes a waiver and what falls within the crime fraud exception; (d) an analysis of common interest agreements, and their effectiveness in protecting attorney-client privilege and work product; (e) the impact of corporate scandals on confidentiality within corporations, including whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and new SEC Regulation for lawyer conduct will destroy the concept of candid communications between corporate officers and in-house counsel contemplated by the Upjohn case; and (f) whether any confidential or privileged communications continue to exist between governmental lawyers and their governmental clients. Students will be asked to complete a paper as part of the course. NOTES: This seminar does not satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement. This seminar satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.