Police Seize Lawyer’s Client Files and Work Product

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In February 2019 Burnsville police searched the law office of attorney K.M. in Woodbury, MN looking for information about her clients M.W. and J.S. But according to K.M., they seized electronic devices containing information about her entire law practice, including privileged client materials.

It presents a matter of first impression — “This Court has never decided the constitutional limits on a search and seizure of an attorney’s files when the government accuses the attorney of criminality,” asserted attorneys seeking Supreme Court review of the denial of a writ of prohibition.

After attorneys sought Supreme Court review, the state charged K.M. with one count of theft by swindle by taking money from a client by artifice or trick. Her first appearance is July 10.

The Supreme Court on June 18 granted review of the denial of the writ and granted the requests of several organizations to participate as amicus curiae. It previously also granted leave to four John Does to participate as intervenors. The intervenors are K.M.’s clients whose records were seized by the police.

“This is a frightening circumstance. I’m very grateful to the Supreme Court for taking this case, not just for my client but for all the clients and attorneys in the state of Minnesota,” said Andrew Birrell, K.M.’s lawyer. “This may be the most important case the Supreme Court hears this year.”

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Credit: Minnesota Lawyer – https://www.minnlawyer.com/

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