"The case has an air of mystery about it. Many documents have been filed under seal. A federal appeals court referred to the central entities only as “company” and “law firm.”In the U.S. Supreme Court, redacted copies of briefs reveal that that “law firm” is one specializing in international tax law, and the owner of “company” is an “early promoter of bitcoin” who “expatriated from the United States in 2014.”
But the legal question before the high court in the case of In Re Grand Jury, to be argued Monday, is attracting wide notice in the legal profession. The issue is whether a communication involving both legal and nonlegal advice is protected by attorney-client privilege when obtaining or providing legal advice is one of the significant purposes for the communication.
“This is a tax case, but the issue presented is much broader than that,” says Mary-Christine Sungaila, a shareholder with Buchalter law firm in Irvine, California, who filed an amicus brief in support of the unidentified tax law firm on behalf of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel.“The second this case was granted, every in-house counsel all over the country—all over the world even—was saying, ‘Oh my goodness, this is huge for us,’” Sungaila adds.
This article was originally posted in the ABA Journal.
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