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March 11, 2014

The Hurdles in Getting Past a Wall of Silence

“Attorney-client privilege and protection for attorney work product are often seen as the core of the relationship of trust between lawyers and their clients. But that shield of confidentiality can be enormously frustrating in an investigation of possible wrongdoing because it puts a wall around potentially valuable evidence.

“Earlier this week, DealBook reported on a decision by the Justice Department to deny financial regulators’ request to try to force JPMorgan Chase to disclose information gathered by the bank’s lawyers on its ties to Bernard L. Madoff’s firm. That decision highlights the delicate balance the government faces in respecting the protection given to communications between lawyers and clients and the need to obtain information about possible violations.

“After Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed in December 2008, JPMorgan’s lawyers conducted an internal investigation of how he had used the bank to further his scheme. In 2012, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the bank’s primary regulator, started its own investigation of possible wrongdoing related to his accounts.”

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Read full NY Times article here.

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