On March 6, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that challenged traditional norms regarding the applicability of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine to certain materials generated during internal investigations.

The District of D.C.’s opinion suggests that corporations and defense counsel should review and, potentially, reevaluate the way in which they conduct internal investigations. In hindsight, the defendants certainly could have avoided some missteps, such as having non-attorneys preside over the interviews; however, courts may continue to emphasize the government-mandated nature of the investigation in future cases. The impact of the court’s opinion may have broader implications and could prove instructive when conducting environmental audits or other internal corporate investigations.