Rebecca Leaf

Document Type

Research Memorandum

Publication Date




Courts disagree about whether a trustee may waive an individual debtor's attorney-client privilege. Although the Supreme Court has addressed the issue in the case of corporate debtors, it has not done so in the case of individual debtors. Thus, lower courts have adopted three approaches to cases involving individual debtors: allowing the trustee to always waive privilege, never allowing the trustee to waive privilege, and a balancing approach.

This memo explores the importance of the attorney-client privilege, its relevant statutory bases, Supreme Court precedent, and the three approaches mentioned above. This memo also considers the advantages and disadvantages of the three different approaches.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.