• Internal Investigations,  Privilege

    Get Out of Jail Free? Not Without The Attorney-Client Privilege

    We have talked about attorney-client privilege, internal investigations and the GM ignition recall: Privilege, Corporate Silence and Saul Goodman,  How To Avoid Being GM’ed: The Wrongs and Rights of Clients and Lawyers and It’s Okay To Smell A Rat: Internal Investigations, Attorney-Client Privilege and the KBR Decision. There was even a quote in Forbes.com: Of Snitches and Privileges. And if you can’t get enough, now a short (16 minute) presentation to the Network of Trial Law Firms meeting in October: How To Avoid Being GM’d from LFW on Vimeo.    

  • 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…

  • 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…