Monthly Privilege Roundup: Sessions & Pence, Switzerland, and Jodi Arias’ Lawyer

We see privilege issues discussed in judicial decisions, legal commentary, and mainstream news.  After skipping an October roundup due to a trial, here is a roundup of interesting privilege issues for November 2016.

  • With Senator Sessions’ likely appointment as Attorney General, many are asking whether the Yates Memorandum and its stance on seeking privilege waiver for cooperation credit will change. Jeff Wood’s article in InsideCounsel addresses the issue, and the National Law Journal has comments from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
  • For a refresher on the Yates Memorandum’s effect on the attorney–client privilege, see my article titled Protecting Privilege in a Post-Yates Memorandum World.
  • Vice President–Elect Mike Pence is asserting, in part, the attorney–client privilege as the legal basis to withhold communications with other governors regarding a potential legal challenge to President Obama’s immigration executive order. Story here. More…

Monthly Privilege Roundup: Ted Bundy, Dr. King’s Lawyer, and More Hillary Clinton

We see privilege issues discussed in judicial decisions, legal commentary, and mainstream news.  Here is a roundup of interesting privilege issues for September 2016.

→The New Republic reviews John Henry Browne’s new book about defending Ted Bundy and other criminal defendants, and correctly notes that the attorney-client privilege survives the client’s death, even Bundy’s, and wonders aloud that while a court cannot force a lawyer to reveal a deceased client’s communications, apparently the lawyer can voluntarily do so at his own risk.  Best quote from the article: “Attorney-client privilege is more binding than marriage, and in some ways more intimate.”  Story here.

→The City of Memphis and the State of Tennessee lost a terrific lawyer when David Caywood passed away this month.  Mr. Caywood, who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s legal team during the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike and just before Dr. King’s assassination, later testified for the prosecution in the murder trial of former FedEx pilot Mike Mullins and revealed what his client, Holly Mullins, told him before her death.  The Commercial Appeal‘s article, accessible here, states that the attorney-client privilege does not exist after death which permitted Mr. Caywood to testify.  This is not technically true–see the story about Mr. Browne’s book above–but Mr. Caywood likely had a waiver in any event.  RIP to a fantastic Tennessee lawyer. More…

Monthly Privilege Roundup: Tribe’s Tweet about Trump, the Cravath Movie & Bowe Bergdahl

We see privilege issues discussed in judicial decisions, legal commentary, and mainstream news.  Here is a roundup of interesting privilege issues for August 2016.

→In the upcoming movie “Cravath,” which follows a young Paul Cravath’s representation of George Westinghouse in his lightbulb patent litigation against Thomas Edison, the screenplay author, Graham Moore, ran into privilege issues while researching the Cravath—Westinghouse history.  When Moore asked the Cravath firm to view Cravath—Westinghouse letters that were over 100 years old, the firm declined because the letters remain subject to the attorney-client privilege.  Above the Law has the story here.

→Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted that Donald Trump asked for his legal advice on a matter, but wondered aloud whether disclosing that conversation would violate the attorney-client privilege.  Tribe, who decided not to disclose the conversation content, nevertheless received rounds of criticism, as this article relays.

→Movie producer Mark Boal interviewed U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and now military prosecutors want access to the audio tapes for Bergdahl’s upcoming court-martial trial.  Boal refuses, citing the journalist’s First Amendment privilege, and several major news organizations have joined the fray.  Read the details here.

More…