Initially, this article reviews the law regarding the attorney-client privilege in federal courts and in New Mexico, including a discussion of waiver. Next, this article explores Breaking Bad ’s depiction of the privilege, focusing on the perpetuation of two common myths: the myth of the dollar bill as a prerequisite to the formation of a privileged relationship and the myth that all communications with a lawyer are protected. This article concludes with a discussion of the risks of waiver portrayed on Breaking Bad. In particular, this article examines some of the issues raised by Saul’s joint representation of Walt and Jesse; Skyler’s involvement in her husband Walt’s illicit methamphetamine enterprise; and Mike’s inclusion in confidential attorney-client communications. Of course, no discussion of the prospect of waiver on Breaking Bad is complete without exploring the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. In truth, nearly all of Saul’s communications on Breaking Bad likely fall within the crime-fraud exception. Thus, this article limits the discussion of the crime-fraud exception to an interesting question about the reach of the exception raised by Saul’s representation of Walt, Skyler, and Jesse: does a lawyer’s involvement with a legitimate business transaction using illicit funds vitiate the attorney-client privilege? As discussed in detail below, the answer depends on the stringent intent requirement of the federal money laundering statutes.
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Armen Adzhemyan & Susan M. Marcella,
Better Call Saul: Is You Want Discoverable Communications: The Misrepresentation of the Attorney-Client Privilege on Breaking Bad,
N.M. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmlr/vol45/iss2/5