• Crime Fiction,  Deferred Prosecution Agreements,  Grand Jury,  Lawyers,  Poetry,  SEC,  Style and Grammar

    The Freedom of Little Joe Cartwright: Tax Crime, Edgar Allan Poe, Noir Film and Lacrosse

    Notes for the week. Prosecuting Individuals Federal criminal tax lawyer Jack Townsend blogs at Federal Tax Crimes.  Here is his note on Prosecuting Corporate Employees, particularly in the tax context: I have previously blogged on Professor Brandon Garrett (UVA Law) who have carved out an academic niche on how the Government deals with corporate crime, particularly large corporate crime (the too big to jail group). See e.g., Judge Jed Rakoff Reviews Brandon Garrett’s Book on Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 2/10/15), here. At the risk of oversimplifying his arguments, I summarize them in part relevant to this blog entry: When the Government goes…

  • Lawyers,  Privilege

    Of Snitches and Privileges

    White-collar writer Walt Pavlo of @Forbes and 500 Pearl Street quotes us this morning in his insightful @Forbes article about the attorney-client privilege.  In particular: Federal prosecutors want to know who knew what, and when [about the GM ignition-switch problem].  However, GM’s lawyers and former lawyers are bound, like all lawyers, to uphold the attorney-client privilege.  A privilege clients enjoy with their lawyer to openly discuss matters with the assurance that their comments will not be disclosed to others.  While the media, Congress and the general public may want an individual(s) held accountable, that information should not come from GM’s lawyers who have been intrusted with confidential information. Every defense attorney…

  • Lawyers,  Privilege

    Privilege, Corporate Silence and Saul Goodman

    We are past Labor Day, and just as well.  Marked by the GM internal-investigation report’s criticism of some of the company’s internal lawyers, the summer was not kind to internal lawyers generally and to the attorney-client privilege particularly.  Consider, for example, the FCPA Blog‘s note on how life is tough for internal counsel. Even more notably, there is apparently a federal criminal investigation of GM that includes the conduct of the lawyers: Prosecutors could try to charge current and former GM lawyers and others with mail and wire fraud, the same charges Toyota faced, said a former official who worked on the Toyota case. But, they would need to have…

  • Law Practice Management,  Lawyers,  Poetry

    “Compensation” | Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Compensation is a matter dear to lawyers’ hearts, white-collar and otherwise.  Here’s a poem (via www.poets.org) by Paul Laurence Dunbar: Compensation Because I had loved so deeply, Because I had loved so long, God in His great compassion Gave me the gift of song. Because I have loved so vainly, And sung with such faltering breath, The Master in infinite mercy Offers the boon of Death. Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872. He wrote numerous books of poems, including Majors and Minors (1895), as well as several novels and a play. He died in 1906 in Dayton, Ohio.  “Compensation” was originally published in Dunbar’s 1905 collection Lyrics of Sunshine…

  • Ethics,  Lawyers

    How To Avoid Being GM’ed: The Wrongs and Rights of Clients and Lawyers

    The GM internal-investigation report  about ignition-switch problems raises a host of issues, one of which is its unusually sharp criticism of GM internal lawyers.  Criticism of lawyers is nothing new, of course.  Lawyer-jokes always blame lawyers; lawyers’ spouses frequently blame lawyers; clients sometimes blame lawyers. But public reports drafted by lawyers infrequently blame lawyers, so this one merits attention, most especially by internal lawyers in large organizations; by the outside counsel who serve them; and by the businesspeople who are the true clients.   What are the key takeaways? The Normal, Uneasy.   Skim the report.  (Just skim it — it’s too long to read cover to cover without heroin.  If…

  • Costs, Budgets and Fees,  Lawyers

    And here, like Walker Percy, he interviews himself.

    No one has ever asked me the lawyer-related questions I would like to be asked.  At age fifty-three, time is passing.  So, inspired by novelist Walker Percy, who wrote an essay entitled Questions They Never Asked Me, I decided to do a self-interview. If you’re unwilling or unable to click through the link, here is the gist of it:   You have a social-media presence. Can someone hire a lawyer off the Internet? No. Hiring a lawyer is an impossible judgment to make from a blog or webpage. There are a lot of good lawyers. They may be able to help you, but you can’t tell because their websites and bios look and…

  • Lawyers

    Dewey Need A Lawyer? Do You?

    Here’s the usual well-chosen roundup of white-collar stories from Walt Pavlo at 500 Pearl Street.  In particular, note the Dewey/Zachary Warren discussions and how retaining a white-collar lawyer might or might not have helped Warren.