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Absolute Immunity from Civil Liability: Lessons for Litigation Lawyers

T. Leigh Anenson (Maryland Business) in the Pepperdine Law Review:

The common law doctrine of absolute immunity provided to litigation lawyers is said to be �as old as law.� This centuries-old doctrine protects litigators from lawsuits instigated by the adversaries of their clients. It is typically invoked, irrespective of any nefarious or malicious motives, so long as the course of action taken bears some reasonable relation to the lawsuit. This Article examines the historical antecedents of the litigation privilege as well as the policies motivating its creation. It also provides a comprehensive description of the doctrine of absolute immunity, explores the circumstances in which it has been applied, and discusses potential legal issues that may effect its application in any given case. After considering its venerable jurisprudence, the Article derives an analytical framework for future cases of absolute immunity and details the determinants of the doctrine given prominence in the precedents. The paradigm is intended to assist in the development of the lawyer's litigation privilege and support its continued existence in the twenty-first century.

Perhaps related: Aug. 29 and Apr. 3.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.