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When a company receives a subpoena, or otherwise learns it is the subject of a government investigation, it often launches its own internal investigation. The purpose of such an investigation is to educate decision-makers so that they can decide the best strategy for the company's response. These internal investigations conducted at the same time as a government investigation are similar in many ways to other investigations, but an ongoing external investigation raises a unique risk: that an interested party—the government—will seek to learn the results of the internal investigation and to obtain work product created in the course of that investigation (such as interview memoranda). This threat is most acute when the company has decided to share some of its findings with the government in order to obtain leniency.

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