The Work Product Doctrine Self-Quiz








Famous real estate developer (and favorite subject of legal scholars worldwide) Hilda Panth was on trial for tax evasion, and hired the equally-renowned legal “dream team” member Lawra Seisin to represent her. As you may have heard already, Lawra hired an accountant to put together a financial statement that Lawra can integrate into her notes for use during Hilda’s trial. The government sought this statement as evidence in its case against Hilda. Hilda asks Lawra to object. Lawra explains to the judge that the government had access to every single piece of evidence related to Hilda’s business and does not need Lawra’s notes. What is the outcome?
Choice 1 The document is work product and the government may not obtain it.
Choice 2 The document is available evidence for the government’s perusal.
Choice 3 The document was prepared by Lawra and the accountant and is therefore not relevant to Hilda’s case.
Choice 4 None of the above.
A boat sank after hitting an iceberg in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. The only witnesses to survive were two deckhands and a viola player in a string quartet that serenaded passengers, right up until the moment the boat and almost everyone aboard met an icy demise. A massive wrongful death suit was filed on behalf of passengers who passed away. To prepare for the litigation, the lawyer for the families of the deceased took a host of notes. A bunch of these notes were taken while the lawyer interviewed the three survivors. The notes contained details regarding what many crew members did in the final minutes of their lives. Apparently, the crew members tried to save their own lives instead of the lives of many women and children aboard the ship. The attorney for the families wanted to submit his notes as evidence to the court. What would a judge hold?
Choice 1 The notes are inadmissible, due to the work product doctrine.
Choice 2 The notes are admissible if the lawyer wants to submit them as evidence.
Choice 3 The notes are inadmissible because they contain attorney-client communications.
Choice 4 None of the above.
You are reviewing corporate documents related to a big financial scandal. The CEO and CFO of a major corporation cooked their books to make stockholders think some losses were attributable to a previous financial quarter, when in fact, the losses were attributable to the most recent quarter. The federal government prosecutes the CEO and CFO in a criminal trial for fraud. The attorney representing the CEO puts together a set of notes for use at trial. The notes include financial figures gleaned from company books. The CFO’s attorney hears about these notes and wants to get a hold of them, figuring his client’s case is similar to that of the CEO, and that the notes might help in the CFO’s defense. The CFO’s attorney tells the judge that since he’s not an adversary of the CEO, there is no reason why he should not be entitled to the notes. The CEO refuses to give them up. What would a judge hold?
Choice 1 Give the notes to the CFO, because he is not an adversary
Choice 2 Give the notes to the CFO, because the work product doctrine only applies when an adversary subpoenas documents crafted in preparation of litigation by an attorney.
Choice 3 Deny access to the notes, because the work product doctrine is applicable.
Choice 4 None of the above.

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