United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
April 20, 2004.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Petitioner,
JENKENS & GILCHRIST, P.C., a professional corporation, Respondent
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The government seeks to compel respondent, a law firm, to disclose the
identity of hundreds of clients who engaged in certain tax strategies.
Respondent moved to dismiss and to quash because, among other reasons, It
contends that the disclosure would violate the attorney-client
The identity of clients is not normally privileged, but it can be in
some circumstances but those are narrow circumstances indeed, as the
Seventh Circuit pointed out in United States v. BDO Seidman, 337 F.3d 802
(7th Cir. 2003). Respondent has sought to analogize its situation to
those narrow circumstances, contending that BDO Seidman is
distinguishable for several reasons. Since its memorandum was filed, two
judges have issued opinions rejecting those reasons. Most comparable is
United States v. Austin Brown & Wood LLP, 03 C 9355 (N.D.Ill. 4/15/04),
authored by my colleague, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, because the
respondent there was also a law firm seeking to protect the identity of
clients engaged in similar tax strategies. Similar arguments were
advanced, moreover, in John Doe I v. KPMG L.L.P., 03 C 2036 (N.D.Tex.
4/12/04), and just as soundly rejected by Judge Barefoot Sanders. We have reviewed the pertinent memoranda and the opinions here referred
to, and we are persuaded by those opinions that the identity of the
clients is not subject to the attorney-client privilege. The motion to
dismiss, to the extent it relies upon attorney-client privilege, is
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