Briefcase: Attorney-Client Privilege

Guest: Meredith J. Duncan


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Michael Cohen testified before congress about his legal representation of then-candidate and now-President Trump. Meredith J. Duncan, with the University of Houston Law Center, is a legal ethics expert and explains why the attorney-client privilege did not apply.

"When an attorney gives legal advice, that communication is protected by the attorney-client privilege, and that conversation cannot be disclosed," Professor Duncan said. "However, if in this communication, the attorney participates in a crime or engages in fraud, the attorney-client privilege does not apply. This is known as the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege."

"Attorney Cohen's conviction serves as a good reminder that a lawyer's license to practice law does not protect the lawyer from criminal charges when that lawyer has engaged in criminal conduct,” Duncan continued. “It is important to remember that the legal profession is imbued with high ethical standards."

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