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On Demand

A Legal Toolkit for Investigators to Handle Privilege Issues

Credit Available - See Credits tab below.

Internal Investigators |  External Investigators |  Advanced |  Beginner
Eli Makus
60 minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Apr 06, 2023
Never expires.


Session Description:

In this webinar, participants will learn about two key privileges that impact our work as impartial investigators: attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine. Both impact the confidentiality of the investigation you conduct, including who can see your work and when. However, the application of these privileges can also expose investigators to questions of bias and lack of impartiality. We'll discuss strategies for resolving these issues and becoming an expert on how privilege impacts your investigations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the basics of attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine
  2. Learn to describe how these privileges impact your investigations
  3. Develop strategies for responding to assertions of bias or lack of impartiality
  4. Tips on preparing to answer questions at your deposition on point


The contents of this webinar and the positions taken are those of the presenter only, may be time sensitive, and are not warranted, endorsed or otherwise recommended by AWI and are not intended to provide legal advice. 


HRCI Credits

HR (General) Credits: 1.0



SHRM PDCs: 1.0


California MCLEs: 1.0



Eli Makus's Profile

Eli Makus

Senior Partner

Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation

Eli Makus is a Senior Partner of Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation and Firm Managing Partner. Eli has focused on helping resolve employment disputes throughout his legal career. After litigating disputes for many years and working as in-house employment counsel, his practice now focuses on conducting impartial investigations.

Eli conducts and manages neutral, unbiased investigations on complex and sensitive matters. He is experienced in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability accommodations, protected leaves of absence, whistleblower claims, privacy, wage-hour compliance, and reorganizations.

Eli has been retained by both public and private employers to investigate a variety of issues, from complaints of workplace misconduct, to allegations focused on fraud, corporate abuse, and regulatory compliance. For example, he has investigated issues specific to hospital operations and compliance, partnered with physician leaders on medical staff peer review investigations, and audited safety and compliance programs. Eli has conducted investigations involving employees at all levels of the organization, including executives, managers, and front-line staff in union and non-union environments.

Eli is experienced at conducting investigations in the public sector. He has conducted high profile investigations involving elected officials, citizen complaints, and public safety professionals. He regularly conducts Internal Affairs investigations, including those involving the Public Safety Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. 

Eli’s commitment to promoting and enhancing the quality of workplace investigations is manifested through his work with the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). Eli is the current President of the AWI Board of Directors. He also co-chairs AWI’s Training Institute Committee and regularly serves as Senior Faculty for AWI’s multi-day Training Institutes.

Eli trains and speaks extensively on conducting workplace investigations. Eli has helped employers implement successful internal investigation programs and trained lawyer and non-lawyer investigators how to conduct thorough, prompt, and impartial workplace investigations. Much of Eli’s training is delivered through the Association of Workplace Investigators. Eli also presents regularly on current and emerging topics involving workplace investigations.

Prior to joining Van Dermyden Makus, Eli was the co-founder and partner of an employment law firm specializing in conducting workplace investigations. Eli also worked as in-house counsel at a major California healthcare system. In addition to providing employment law support, Eli also supported the medical staffs of several hospitals. Eli conducted investigations, trained managers on employment law compliance, and managed litigation.

Eli’s legal career began at Hanson Bridgett LLP where he provided advice to public and private employers and defended clients in state and federal court actions and administrative proceedings. Eli litigated employment disputes in a variety of areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour claims, and more.

Eli received his law degree from the University of California, Davis.