Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe is heavily criticized for tweet that shows he may not understand confidentiality or privilege

I am late to post on this story about something that happened last week and which has received a lot of attention already, so I will keep it short.   Last week, Professor Laurence Tribe, Harvard's well known constitutional law professor, tweeted this message:  "I have notes of when Trump phoned me for legal advice in 1996. I'm now figuring out whether our talk was privileged."

With those "less than 140 characters" Tribe opened the door to an online discussion that resulted in general condemnation of his knowledge of the law and his motives.  I am sure he did not expect that, but he definitely walked right into it.

I will let others explain the many problems with Tribe's comment which include confusing the principles of confidentiality and privilege, and possibly not understanding the duty of confidentiality.

Here are links to some of the comments I have seen on the issue:

Michael Krauss, of George Mason Law School

Scott Greenfield, criminal defense blogger, who then posted a follow up here.

Professor Steve Lubet, at the Faculty Lounge

The ABA Journal online

The Legal Ethics Forum

As usual, by the way, it is worth to read the readers' comments under all these stories.

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