Joint Defense Agreement Work Product

The Court of Appeals also recognized that Illinois defense attorneys entered into defense agreements in Illinois with authority both through decisions of the Illinois Federal District Court and through decisions made by other states that recognized joint defense agreements in the 1900s. In the context of mass infringements in which a plaintiff typically asserts similar claims against many defendants in a given sector, coordinating defense efforts among co-defendants can be a very cautious approach. By collaborating on a common process strategy and defense, competing companies can pool their knowledge, expertise and resources to achieve the most beneficial outcome for their respective customers. However, this practice is marred by anti-personnel mines that can have devastating effects on clients and practitioners. In complex cases of mass offences, different lawyers necessarily represent different clients with regard to matters of common interest. While formulating a common defense is a joint effort, lawyers involved in mass litigation with multiple defendants should not lose sight of the fact that they can share labor products and confidential information with their competitors, which has the potential to expose clients and pave the way for future disputes between co-defendants. In addition, if no preventive protection is taken before the formulation of a common defence, i.e. a carefully designed joint defence agreement, lawyers may face a large number of conflicts of interest and waivers, untnowingly establish an attorney-client relationship with other co-accused and, ultimately, expose themselves to liability for fault. Accordingly, it is important for all mass offense lawyers: 1) to understand the benefits of a common defense; (2) to determine when a common defence agreement may be used; (3) be aware of the reasons why it is important to carefully develop a common defence agreement; and 4) learn how to establish a common defence agreement that best protects the interests of the lawyer and the client. Four key questions 1. What is axiomatic is that solicitor privilege traditionally protects confidential communication between a lawyer and a client seeking legal advice.

The confidentiality of the communications in question is of the utmost importance, as the privilege only protects the communication between lawyers and clients, which must remain private. Therefore, when third parties are present, the privilege will necessarily be abolished. . . .

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