McGuireWoods Attorney-Client Privilege/Work Product Case Summary Database
Welcome To Our Site

Welcome to the McGuireWoods database of case summaries focusing on the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. This database supplements my two volume book entitled, published by the Virginia Law Foundation in 2013.

Of course, every printed book becomes out-of-date as courts review and sometimes reverse cases the book cites, and continue to issue new cases on the same topics. Since Virginia CLE published my book, I have kept up with my monthly review of privilege and work product cases from across America. I thought it would be useful to make my post-book summaries available immediately rather than waiting for some new edition or published supplement. The database lets you easily update any book chapter and subsection.

As with all legal references, you should use this database cautiously. But I hope that it will help you start your research. We welcome any corrections that you recommend, or suggestions about where else a case summary might go in the database.

You will find this database much more useful if you buy the Practitioner's Guide. Most of the search options are related to that book’s chapters and subsections.

You can search for case summaries in multiple ways.

The Chapter tab contains a drop down menu of the book’s sixty chapters. You can search for all of the case summaries in that chapter. They will be displayed by section number within the chapter you select. Within each section, case summaries will be displayed in reverse chronological order.

The other way to search is by using the Search tab. Most importantly, this tab lets you search by chapter and section number -- using the book as a reference, and supplementing the book discussion by looking for post-book case summaries. Using the selection menu on the left hand side of the screen, you can select more than one section in a chapter. This will display all of the cases summaries from the sections you have designated. For each section, the case summaries will be displayed in reverse chronological order. You can also narrow the search by selecting the jurisdiction, state, case date range, and whether I have designated the case as a “key case.”

You can also search for a particular case name, or for a specific word in the case summaries

Starting in 1996, I prepared a short booklet that the Virginia Law Foundation thought would be useful for Virginia lawyers dealing with attorney-client privilege and work product issues. That original booklet was 151 pages long.

As time went on, I kept expanding the booklet, and eventually made it into a description of privilege and work product issues on a national scale. In 2013, Virginia CLE published the two volume 1,531 page hard cover book entitled, The Attorney-Client Privilege and The Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide.

The Book is available for purchase from the Virginia CLE in Charlottesville, Virginia. The website address is

From the beginning, all profits from the sale of any of my Virginia CLE publications (including all of the privilege/work product books) have gone to the non-profit Virginia Law Foundation. Neither McGuireWoods nor I have ever earned any money from those sales.

Thomas E. Spahn’s Bio

For several decades, I have tried to keep up with attorney-client privilege and work product cases from across America. I routinely review every month all published privilege and work product federal and state court cases. I read and summarize the ones that seem the most important to me, and which I think practitioners might find most helpful. I included such cases in the Practitioner's Guide, and similarly include such cases in this database.

In deciding which cases to summarize and include in the database, I generally look for the following attributes: cases which seem to represent new trends; cases which clearly articulate some important privilege or work product principle; cases from influential courts such as the Southern District of New York, the Northern District of Illinois, etc.; cases that highlight how corporations can maximize and not lose their privilege and work product protection.

The displayed search results contain several pieces of information about each case:

  • (1) The book chapter and section number;
  • (2) The style of the case;
  • (3) My summary of the case, which includes my narrative, quotations from the case, or both;
  • (4) The date;
  • (5) The jurisdiction (federal, state, or other);
  • (6) The state (if applicable);
  • (7) An indication of whether a McGuireWoods paralegal cite-checked the case when we added the case summary to the database (be sure to conduct another cite-check yourself); and
  • (8) Whether I have designated the case as either a national or a Virginia “key case”.