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Litigation White Collar Crime

The Growing Risk of Providing Oral Summaries

Preserving Privilege in the Wake of SEC v. Herrera and the Government’s Increasing Leverage to Obtain Such Disclosures

A Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida held that an “oral download” of outside counsel’s interview notes to the SEC resulted in a limited waiver of protection under the attorney work-product doctrine over the underlying interview notes and memoranda. The decision is a significant one, and underscores one of the core challenges facing companies seeking to cooperate with the government during the course of its investigations.

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In December 2017, a Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida held that an “oral download” of outside counsel’s interview notes to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) resulted in a limited waiver of protection under the attorney work-product doctrine over the underlying interview notes and memoranda. Order on Defendants’ Motion to Compel Production from Non-Party Law Firm, SEC v. Herrera, et al., No. 17- 20301 (S.D. Fl. Dec. 5, 2017). The decision is a significant one, and underscores one of the core challenges facing companies seeking to cooperate with the government during the course of its investigations — namely, the delicate balance between seeking to maximize its potential to receive cooperation credit while avoiding an actual waiver of attorney-client or work-product privileges.

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