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Attorney-Client Privilege:
Swidler & Berlin v. United States

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
Subjects: Attorney-Client Privilege

Argued: June 8, 1998

Decided: June 25, 1998
Vote: 6-3
At Issue: Whether the principle of attorney-client privilege becomes null and void when the client dies.

Decision: By a 6-3 vote, the court ruled that the attorney-client privilege of confidentiality protects against disclosure even after the client's death.

Read the full text of the Swidler & Berlin v. United States decision in the Clinton Accused Special Report on washingtonpost.com.

Listen to the Swidler & Berlin v. United States oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.

The decision overturned the August 1997 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia. The lawyer for late White House aide Vincent Foster asked the appeals court judges to reconsider their decision. They refused in November 1997.


Background from The Post
Court Upholds Attorney-Client Privilege After Death (June 26, 1998)
Foster Lawyer: Notes Should Be Secret (June 9, 1998)
Do Legal Secrets Outlive Clients? (June 8, 1998)
Justices Set June 8 Hearing On Foster Notes (April 7, 1998)
Court to Hear Foster Notes Argument (March 31, 1998)
Battle Over Foster Lawyer's Notes Galvanizes Concern (Feb. 24, 1998)
Attorney Seeks Protection of Foster's Final Confidences (Jan. 17, 1998)
Some Foster Notes Ordered Released (Aug. 30, 1997)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)


© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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