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Indictment of Class Action Firm Implicates Special Problems With Governmental Requests for Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege

Class action plaintiff firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP was indicted in mid-May 2006 by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, together with two of the firm’s top partners, David Bershad and Steven Schulman. Leigh Jones of The National law Journal reported yesterday that the government practice of demanding waivers of attorney-client communications in white-collar criminal cases raises “an especially prickly problem” in the Milberg Weiss case.

Even before the class action firm’s indictment, some attorneys – defense and plaintiff – expressed concern about government prosecutors conditioning leniency on a corporate defendant’s willingness to waive the attorney-client privilege. Here, Leigh Jones notes, the corporate defendant is a law firm. The special problems presented by a government prosecutor’s demand for a waiver of the privilege are discussed in Ms. Jones’ article, “Milberg Weiss Case Highlights Waiver Controversy,” printed June 1, 2006, in The National Law Journal.