The amicus brief urges the court to reject the Commission’s arguments about the scope of its subpoena power. Trust in the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship is the lifeblood of the legal profession. And lawyers are ethically bound to protect client information when disclosure could harm or embarrass the client. That obligation remains even (and perhaps especially) in the face of agency attempts to subpoena a law firm’s files. ACC is uniquely interested in this case because its members are lawyers who rely on such attorney-client protections when providing advice to their internal business clients, and rely on the same protections from the client side when they engage outside law firms.
If the Commission prevails on its theory — that a suspicionless agency subpoena can force a lawyer to hand over an innocent client for the agency to investigate — the attorney-client relationship will suffer a massive blow.
The team is led by the co-leader of Sidley’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice, Kwaku Akowuah and appellate partner Josh Fougere. Appellate associate Brooke. B. Boyd also assisted. The Appellate group worked closely with partner David S. Petron and other lawyers in Sidley’s Securities Enforcement and Regulatory practice, which earned the firm recognition as the “Law Firm of the Year” for Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) for 2023 by U.S. News.
Additional details may be found in the press release and the amicus brief.