Last Thursday, the DOJ released a new set of guidelines regarding how it would charge companies. The new guidelines are effective immediately and they revoke earlier - and heavily criticized - guidelines issued under then-Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, which were then subsequently revised by then-Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty. Here is the DOJ press release - and remarks from Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip.
The new guidelines parallel the legislative proposals contained in the reborn "Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2008," which has passed in the House and pending in the Senate. So we ponder the big question: whether the new guidance sufficently protects the attorney-client privilege and work product protection, or whether congressional legislation is still desirable?
Apparently, the sponsor of the legislation thinks so. Sen. Arlen Specter issued a statement Thursday that says: “The revised guidelines are a step in the right direction but they leave many problems unresolved so that legislation will still be necessary. For example, there is no change in the benefit to corporations to waive the privilege by giving facts obtained by the corporate attorneys from the individuals in order to escape prosecution or to have a deferred prosecution agreement. The new guidelines expressly encourage corporations to comply with the waiver and disclosure programs of other agencies including the SEC and EPA. Legislation, of course, would bind all federal agencies and could not be changed except by an Act of Congress.”