Contact: Andrew J. Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs
December 3, 2007
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION PUSHES FOR FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO PROTECT ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE
With continuing concerns about encroachment by the federal government on the attorney-client privilege, New York State Bar Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP) is calling on the association's 72,000 members to push for passage by the U.S. Senate of the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act. I
In a message to members, Madigan said: "The Association is concerned about the encroachment on the attorney-client privilege by policies of the United States Department of Justice reflected in the 2003 memorandum by then Deputy United States Attorney General Larry D. Thompson and, more recently, in the 2006 memorandum by then Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty. Those policies encourage organizations to waive their attorney-client privilege and related attorney work-product protection, to refuse to pay counsel fees to employees suspected of impropriety, and to fire employees who assert constitutional or other privileges. Such practices strike at the core principles of the legal profession and cannot be continued."
She noted that the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act was passed by the House of Representatives in November and asked members to "contact Senators Schumer and Clinton and urge them to vote in favor of this legislation when it comes to the Senate floor for consideration."
The Association's leadership has repeatedly called on the federal government to end the type of practices addressed by this legislation and, in June 2006, NYSBA's House of Delegates approved the report and recommendations of the Association Task Force on Attorney-Client Privilege which called for the federal government to discontinue such practices.
The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.