In recent days we have witnessed the President and various pundits scream (or tweet) that the attorney-client privilege is dead or under serious attack. What they are referring to, of course, is the judicially authorized search of Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room by the FBI. Cohen is said to be one of the President’s long-time attorneys.
While most people would say that you should retain a criminal defense lawyer once you are charged with a state or federal crime, the answer is not that straightforward. In many instances, an individual or company will learn that there is an active, pending investigation into their activities. They might be contacted by law enforcement for an interview; they might be served with a grand jury subpoena for documents and/or testimony; they might learn that business associates and customers have been interviewed by law enforcement; they might receive a “target letter” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; or they might be tipped off by their friendly banker that their financial records have been subpoenaed.