Akin Gump Authors Pen Crime-Fraud Exception Article for New York Law Journal

“Circuits Are Split on Crime-Fraud Exception's Reach,” an article by Akin Gump litigation partner Joseph Boryshansky, senior counsel Nicole Sprinzen and counsel Stanley Woodward, has been published by New York Law Journal.

The article discusses a case decided by a Pennsylvania district court that “relied on the crime-fraud exception to compel an attorney to testify in a grand jury investigation into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).” The crime-fraud exception refers to the fact that attorney-client privilege does not extend to instances in which these communications are in furtherance of a crime or fraud. The 3rd Circuit subsequently affirmed, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined review.

The authors describe the background to the case, focusing on the certiorari petition’s argument that the 3rd Circuit ruling “departed from the prevailing formulations in other circuits of the elements of the crime-fraud exception,” and conclude that “[its] decision could have a chilling effect on communications between lawyers and their clients.”

They close by noting that “[A]ctivities traditionally well within the scope of the protections of the attorney-client privilege…could conceivably be challenged if the client is later accused of a crime” under the 3rd Circuit opinion.

To read the full article, please click here.