Single Depo-Prep Meeting with Multiple Employees—Privilege Waiver? 1

It’s no secret.  Corporate trial lawyers often hold a group meeting of several employees to prepare them for upcoming depositions. The idea, of course, is one of efficiency—the lawyer may provide an overview of the case, discuss the relevance of the employees’ testimony, and give deposition instructions in one meeting rather than multiple preparation sessions.

The question may arise whether the attorney–client privilege protects these group discussions from disclosure. And here is a twist—even if the privilege protects the employees’ individual conversations with the lawyer, does it also protect conversations within the group meeting between two employees?

The court’s decision in Pallies v. The Boeing Co., 2017 WL 3895614 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 6, 2017), provides guidance.  You may read it here.

In this disability-discrimination case against The Boeing Company, Boeing’s lawyer met with several Boeing employees in a group setting to prepare them for upcoming depositions.  Boeing’s counsel did so “in an effort to comply with an aggressive discovery schedule” that included 8 employee depositions over 3 days. More…