October 13, 2008 / Law Alert

New Federal Rule of Evidence 502 Promises to Better Protect Privileged Information and Reduce the Cost of Discovery

Companies over-burdened by the steep cost of litigation and electronic discovery may get some reprieve thanks to new Federal Rule of Evidence 502, which took effect on September 19, 2008. Rule 502 is designed to provide a uniform set of standards for determining the consequences of disclosing privileged information and to reduce the prohibitive litigation costs that can be associated with protecting against waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine. The practical effect of the rule remains to be seen, however, and litigants could find themselves needing to continue their current document review practices to comply with the provisions of the rule and to protect themselves against other harms that can result from the disclosure of privileged information.