Sunday, July 26, 2015


Unless you are in law enforcement, or have led a dangerous life, you have never been inside the crystal meth lab*, except while watching Breaking Bad episodes on television. While extremely entertaining, the program had a large number of errors. When it comes to the details of the attorney-client relationship; do not take the legal points made on that show by the "Saul Goodman, Esquire" as gospel.

From New Mexico, where the show was shot, comes the University of New Mexico School of Law,  whose law review staff recently published an entire issue devoted to many of the legal issues that Breaking Bad presented. In my humble opinion, the one subject most relevant to the financial community in these troubled times is the attorney-client relationship, a subject that the authors of one article take great pains to clear up some of the errors presented in the program.

Entitled Better call Saul if you want Discoverable communications: the Misrepresentation of the Attorney-Client Privilege on Breaking Bad, the article is a profusely annotated primer in establishing, and waiving, the attorney-client privilege. The sub-topics covered include;

(1) Proving the contents of attorney-client communication.
(2) The formation and scope of the attorney-client privilege in Breaking Bad.
(3) The myth of protecting all communications involving a lawyer.
(4) Disclosure to multiple clients.
(5) Waiver by disclosure.
(6)  Joint client or common interest doctrine.
(7) Disclosure to family members.
(8) Disclosure to attorney's agents.
(9) Waiver through the crime-fraud exception.
(10) The crime-fraud exception and money laundering.
(11) Advice and the "designed to conceal" element.

You can access the entire article here by going to page 477 on the table of contents*. Cite is:
45 New Mexico L. Rev. 477 (Spring 2015).

*You have probably guessed by now that I have been in such a place, a long time ago and far away.
**New Mexico Law Review Current Issue Vol 45. No.2


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