Minnesota's New Common Interest Doctrine: A Primer


By George H. Singer
October 12, 2022

The right of confidentiality is usually lost when communications between an attorney and client take place in the presence of a third party, or when work product is shared with others.

However, legal counsel often argue that these communications and materials remain protected due to the application of the common interest doctrine — also referred to as the joint defense privilege. Some states do not recognize the doctrine — and courts that do disagree about many of its requirements.

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently adopted the common interest doctrine in Minnesota. Last month, in Energy Policy Advocates v. Ellison, the court reversed the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which found that the doctrine was inapplicable since it was not recognized by law in Minnesota.

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