Is Email With an Attorney a Privileged Client Communication?
Attorney work product is defined in California as “any writing that reflects an attorney’s impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal research or theories” and trial preparation material. This information is ordinarily privileged (and, therefore, not discoverable) unless there has been a waiver of the protection. 'The attorney-client privilege defined by Evidence Code section 954 authorizes a client to refuse to disclose, and to prevent others from disclosing, information communicated in confidence to the attorney and legal advice received in return.
It will be a matter of determination for the court whether the materials sought are privileged work product or privileged client communications. The key distinction between attorney–client privilege and attorney work product involves whether the document in question contains information obtained from the client. The reason for making this distinction is that information protected by the attorney–client privilege is usually never available to discovery. Attorney work product is available, however, if the opposing party can show that justice would be denied if the work product was unavailable.
Please see the information at the following link for further discussion:
Please see the following CA statutes:
952. As used in this article, "confidential communication between
client and lawyer" means information transmitted between a client and
his or her lawyer in the course of that relationship and in
confidence by a means which, so far as the client is aware, discloses
the information to no third persons other than those who are present
to further the interest of the client in the consultation or those
to whom disclosure is reasonably necessary for the transmission of
the information or the accomplishment of the purpose for which the
lawyer is consulted, and includes a legal opinion formed and the
advice given by the lawyer in the course of that relationship.
953. As used in this article, "holder of the privilege" means:
(a) The client when he has no guardian or conservator.
(b) A guardian or conservator of the client when the client has a
guardian or conservator.
(c) The personal representative of the client if the client is
(d) A successor, assign, trustee in dissolution, or any similar
representative of a firm, association, organization, partnership,
business trust, corporation, or public entity that is no longer in
954. Subject to Section 912 and except as otherwise provided in
this article, the client, whether or not a party, has a privilege to
refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a
confidential communication between client and lawyer if the privilege
is claimed by:
(a) The holder of the privilege;
(b) A person who is authorized to claim the privilege by the
holder of the privilege; or
(c) The person who was the lawyer at the time of the confidential
communication, but such person may not claim the privilege if there
is no holder of the privilege in existence or if he is otherwise
instructed by a person authorized to permit disclosure.
The relationship of attorney and client shall exist between a law
corporation as defined in Article 10 (commencing with Section 6160)
of Chapter 4 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code and
the persons to whom it renders professional services, as well as
between such persons and members of the State Bar employed by such
corporation to render services to such persons. The word "persons"
as used in this subdivision includes partnerships, corporations,
limited liability companies, associations and other groups and
955. The lawyer who received or made a communication subject to the
privilege under this article shall claim the privilege whenever he
is present when the communication is sought to be disclosed and is
authorized to claim the privilege under subdivision (c) of Section
956. There is no privilege under this article if the services of
the lawyer were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit
or plan to commit a crime or a fraud.
956.5. There is no privilege under this article if the lawyer
reasonably believes that disclosure of any confidential communication
relating to representation of a client is necessary to prevent a
criminal act that the lawyer reasonably believes is likely to result
in the death of, or substantial bodily harm to, an individual.
957. There is no privilege under this article as to a communication
relevant to an issue between parties all of whom claim through a
deceased client, regardless of whether the claims are by testate or
intestate succession or by inter vivos transaction.
958. There is no privilege under this article as to a communication
relevant to an issue of breach, by the lawyer or by the client, of a
duty arising out of the lawyer-client relationship.
959. There is no privilege under this article as to a communication
relevant to an issue concerning the intention or competence of a
client executing an attested document of which the lawyer is an
attesting witness, or concerning the execution or attestation of such
960. There is no privilege under this article as to a communication
relevant to an issue concerning the intention of a client, now
deceased, with respect to a deed of conveyance, will, or other
writing, executed by the client, purporting to affect an interest in
961. There is no privilege under this article as to a communication
relevant to an issue concerning the validity of a deed of
conveyance, will, or other writing, executed by a client, now
deceased, purporting to affect an interest in property.
962. Where two or more clients have retained or consulted a lawyer
upon a matter of common interest, none of them, nor the successor in
interest of any of them, may claim a privilege under this article as
to a communication made in the course of that relationship when such
communication is offered in a civil proceeding between one of such
clients (or his successor in interest) and another of such clients
(or his successor in interest).