work product doctrine

work product doctrine
work product doctrine n: a doctrine or rule that protects an attorney's work product from discovery – called also work product rule;
◇ This doctrine applies to work product of all kinds, but it may be waived for certain materials (as documents) if the party seeking discovery shows that it has a substantial need of the materials in preparing its own case and that it is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

work product doctrine
The work product doctrine protects, from disclosure to third parties, documents and tangible things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation by (or for) another party or its representative. The work product protection may be overcome in certain instances where the party seeking discovery shows that it has a substantial need for the materials to prepare its case and cannot, without undue hardship, obtain their substantial equivalent by other means. However, even if the work product protection is overcome, courts must still protect from disclosure the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal theories of a party's attorney or other representative concerning the litigation. Like the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine's protections may also sometimes be waived. The work product doctrine's protections are codified in Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The US Supreme Court first recognized the work product doctrine in Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947).
In some ways, the work product doctrine is broader than the attorney-client privilege because its protections are not limited solely to communications or confidential matters. However, the work product doctrine is also narrower than the attorney-client privilege because its protections extend only to documents and other tangible things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation.

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

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