Saturday, November 18, 2006
Bloomberg News is reporting here that DOJ officials are reconsidering their practice of requesting waivers of attorney-client privilege by corporations. But it also sounds like they aren't ready to just plain ban this DOJ practice. Instead, it may just be a baby step in this direction.
One change mentioned is to require approval from top DOJ officials before seeking a waiver from a company of their attorney-client privilege. Approvals from high level DOJ officials are common in existing DOJ guidelines. For example, using RICO requires approval, as does some actions involving international affairs. But these actions that require approval are a far cry from the present practice of disregarding a basic common law privilege.
This is the second time that DOJ would be modifying the practice, with the first time requiring merely a set practice within each USA's office. (see here) This new step would bring the issue to a higher level, but it certainly will not alleviate the problem.