May 11, 2015

Wall Street Journal quotes Kevin Shepherd on attorneys reporting suspicious transactions

1 min

Venable partner Kevin L. Shepherd was quoted in a May 11, 2015 Wall Street Journal article on a push to get attorneys to report clients’ suspicious transactions. Many European countries have passed laws requiring attorneys to report possible money laundering activities of their clients; however, such laws have faced strong opposition in the U.S over potential conflicts with attorney-client privilege.

"You want a client to have a full frank discussion with his attorney so he can be told how to comply with the law," said Shepherd, who chairs an American Bar Association task force opposed to such reporting. "If [a client] thinks that the lawyer is going to squeal on him, the client isn't going to be very frank." The ABA recommends attorneys follow voluntary guidelines saying they should abandon clients they suspect of breaking the law. "If a lawyer thinks the client is involved with criminal conduct you don’t have to squeal on your client — you withdraw from the client," said Shepherd.