Checking Your Privilege, Part 2: Attorneys and Clients Can Sorta Talk Openly

Alright folks, so the last time we did this shit it was discussing the concept of a “privilege” in an evidentiary setting. I ran through the basic concepts of what a privilege is, how it must be asserted, who holds the privilege, and the effect of a partial waiver of the privilege. The general idea to take away from all that is there are these things called privileges that allows you to bitchslap the other side when they start coming after that sweet, sweet information they so desperately want, be it during trial or in the hell that is discovery.

Today we’re gonna go a little more in depth and talk about the Attorney-Client Privilege, what it means, and how it is asserted, as well as how you, as the shitheel lawyer in charge of the case, can try to keep that shit from getting into the fucking record in the first place. But first, a war story.

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Checking Your Privilege, Part 1: What is a Privilege?

Recently the ABA Journal, and just about every other news outlet that follows the swampish shit-show that is D.C., reported on the fact that Paul Manafort’s lawyer was compelled to testify regarding the work they did for their client. For laymen, this doesn’t mean much. I mean, a lawyer was used to commit a crime, and therefore it’s fine for the lawyer to be compelled to testify. Shit, it isn’t even that surprising for lawyers either, is it?

So, for the next two days I’m gonna talk a little about evidentiary privileges: What they are, how to assert them, how to be careful with them, and finally, a couple of common privileges you should look out for in your case.

So let’s get started, eh?

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Freaky Friday: The Case of the Greenbrier Ghost

Oh, is it that time of the month again?  The time to let the demons, ghosties, ghoulies, and all the little strange things out of the basement to play? Why yes, yes it is, it’s Freaky Friday on Lawyers & Liquor where I’ll be talking about all the weird stuff that tends to clog up, or is tangentially related to, the legal system like so much ectoplasm running down the walls of that house you just got for an insanely cheap price.

Today’s journey into the dark unknowns of the dark corners where things go “Objection!” in the night takes us to the hills and hollers of West Virginia in 1897.  Coal was king, the people were a little less sophisticated, and, as was the fashion at the time, the men all tied an onion to their belt. The place is Greenbrier County, and the case?

Well, that would be the case of a ghost leading to the conviction of its own murderer. That’s right, today we’re gonna shiver under the blankets, light a flashlight under our faces to set the mood, and ramble about the Ghastly Case of the Greenbrier Ghost.

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Film Friday: Your Cousin Vinny Should Have Been Disbarred

Good morning you lousy shitstains on the ass of humanity known as lawyers. So, we’ve had a bit of a wild ride over the past month or so, starting with furries, moving to master/slave sexual fetishes, and now heading into the critique of films in general with the very first Film Friday, a series that will take a look at how the law and lawyers are being portrayed in popular media of all sorts.

What’s that? Why don’t I use a name other than “Film Friday” if I’m talking about all other forms of media in addition to this one? Well, because fuck you. My blog, my rules, and I’m an advocate of illustrative alliteration when it comes to these things.

So, today we’re going to talk about My Cousin Vinny, a film that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and has been wildly praised and loved for its accuracy in presenting how to conduct a trial, an effective cross-examination, general courtroom procedure, etc. I mean, attorneys fucking love this goddamn movie. I love it. I own it on VHS, DVD, BluRay, and recently purchased it on Vudu just so I could stream scenes from it if I ever find myself, say, in an airport on the way to a motherfucking furry convention somewhere and, flying United, need something to watch as I’m savagely beaten and dragged from the plane.

Of course, the unspoken part of the appeal is we love the foul-mouthed troll/hobbit hybrid that is early 90’s Joe Pesci, and the fact that he was apparently able to land Marisa Tomei. It almost broke the suspension of disbelief for me.

So, we know that lawyers love the fuck out of this film. We know that it involves scenes that accurately depict the rules of evidence, qualifications of experts, criminal procedure (“He just gave me all this stuff!” Vinny exclaims when the prosecutor makes his standard and procedurally required disclosures), and blistering cross-examination (“ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THOSE FIVE MINUTES?”). Which means, of course, I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do.

Because I’m about to argue that Vinny is unethical, improper, and should never be allowed to practice law again.

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