A recurring question in legal malpractice is whether the attorney client privilege is waived by bringing the case. While it is almost always waived as to the defendant attorney, for the most part it is not waived for other attorneys. Here is a Florida case on the subject.
"Coates v. Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson PA, 940 So. 2d 504 (Fla. 2006)
A Florida appellate court has held that a law firm accused of giving negligent advice in a matter cannot invoke the “at issue” waiver doctrine to pierce the attorney-client privilege for communications between the clients and other attorneys who advised them in the same matter. The court held that no “at issue” waiver could be found merely because the clients had other legal advisors concerning the same subject or because the law firm asserted a comparative fault defense in the malpractice action.
In the suit, former clients sued the law firm of Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, along with one of the firm’s shareholders, and a former firm lawyer, in connection with a “proprietary tax savings plan” and the establishment of a joint venture. Plaintiffs, Bobby and Deborah Coates (Coates), Bredel Corp., and two related entities, claimed that they received advice from the lawyers about the plan and the joint venture. Defendants denied any negligence and claimed that plaintiffs’ damages were caused by their own or others’ actions.