In the case of State ex rel. Ames v. Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews, 2023-Ohio-263, an appellate court individually and privately scrutinized legal invoices submitted by a law firm to a governmental risk-sharing pool representing a public body — as directed by the Ohio Supreme Court — and determined that the narrative portions of the invoices must be redacted to preserve the attorney-client privilege.
In this case, a public record requestor demanded the release of unredacted narratives of law firm invoices provided to a public body for legal services rendered. In response, the governmental risk-sharing pool argued that the narrative portions of the invoices must be redacted to preserve the attorney-client privilege with the public body. The appellate court agreed with the law firm.
In support of its decision in favor of the law firm, the appellate court complied with the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision in the case of State ex rel. Ames v. Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews, 2022-Ohio-3990, and individually and privately scrutinized the records in question and determined that the narrative portions must be redacted to preserve the attorney-client privilege as “‘billing records describing the services performed for [the attorney’s] clients and the time spent on those services, and any other attorney-client correspondence * * * may reveal the client’s motivation for seeking legal representation, the nature of the services provided or contemplated, strategies to be employed in the event of litigation, and other confidential information exchanged during the course of the representation. * * * [A] demand for such documents constitutes “an unjustified intrusion into the attorney-client relationship.” 2023-Ohio-263 at ¶ 5.
To read this case, click here.
To read the blog of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision leading to this case, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.