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Is there a differential requirement to obtain a warrant to search a lawyer's office?

An excellent and useful question. For federal prosecutors, there is a specific document that controls the standard.[1] Let’s take a look at it.First, notice this particular line, which is part of the introductory language of this rule:There are occasions when effective law enforcement may require the issuance of a search warrant for the premises of an attorney who is a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients. Because of the potential effects of this type of search on legitimate attorney-client relationships and because of the possibility that, during such a search, the government may encounter material protected by a legitimate claim of privilege, it is important that close control be exercised over this type of search.So you see, this rule exists exactly because of the concerns we all have about protecting attorney/client confidentiality as well as making certain to limit inappropriate access to privileged documents.Pre-Approval RequiredFederal prosecutors are to seek any alternative means possible to searching an attorneys office. If it is possible a subpoena should be used. A subpoena would allow the attorney to turn the evidence over themselves and avoid a search. However, if there is legitimate concern that evidence will be destroyed or an investigation will be compromised, a search is appropriate. It is important to note that even to obtain a subpoena in the case of such a search relating to a client, pre-approval is required from the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.If a warrant to search is deemed necessary, pre-approval must be obtained from the US Attorney or the appropriate Assistant US Attorney before application to a judge (appropriate will depend on the jurisdiction). The prosecutor requesting the warrant must show why less invasive alternatives will not work. Before the prosecutor seeking the warrant goes to the court, in addition to obtaining the above pre-approval, they must also consult with the Criminal Division of the Attorney General. A note in the document asks for that consultation to occur as early as possible during the decision making process.If there are exigent circumstances, the consultation may be avoided, but it must be obtained asap after obtaining the warrant from a federal judge.As you can see then, there are special steps necessary to go through before a federal prosecutor can seek a warrant from a judge. This is not normally necessary in a federal investigation.Safeguards are CriticalAs noted above, there is extensive concern about the government seeing anything that has a legitimate privilege. As such, safeguards are required.Safeguards must be established prior to application for the warrant.Safeguards are tailored to each case. Though many judges will have general safeguards they like to see.A privilege team is established. This team is responsible for reviewing documents to make certain privilege is not violated. This team is shielded from the prosecution in question. As such, they are not allowed to work on the prosecution and are not allowed to share any privileged information. Instead, they forward the appropriate documents to the prosecution’s investigatory team, and return any privileged documents to the attorney through a matter established ahead of time.“Instructions should be given and thoroughly discussed with the privilege team prior to the search. The instructions should set forth procedures designed to minimize the intrusion into privileged material, and should ensure that the privilege team does not disclose any information to the investigation/prosecution team unless and until so instructed by the attorney in charge of the privilege team. Privilege team lawyers should be available either on or off-site, to advise the agents during the course of the search, but should not participate in the search itself.”The document contains directions creating policies and procedures related to protecting privilege.There is a special document that explains the policies and procedures related to seizing computers.[2]When the prosecutor applies for the warrant they will either detail the procedures or attest to the fact that procedures will be implemented.As in all things legal, there is a disclaimer. “These guidelines are set forth solely for the purpose of internal Department of Justice guidance. They are not intended to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter, civil or criminal, nor do they place any limitations on otherwise lawful investigative or litigative prerogatives of the Department of Justice.”As an aside, if there is a dispute about what is and is not privileged, likely a special master, often a retired judge, will be brought in to review all of the documents.I took this answer, posted it on my blog, and added a bit of information about privilege. When the Federal Government Searches an Attorney's OfficeFootnotes[1] 9-13.000 - Obtaining Evidence[2] https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/criminal-ccips/legacy/2015/01/14/ssmanual2009.pdf

Why do Western countries keep criticising China's human rights issues? Is it a double standard?

Western media and Western leaders are very afraid of China and have tried everything–invasions, embargoes, exclusions, subversion, sabotage, bombing, ridicule and misinformation–to stop their people discovering that, gasp!, there is a good side to China.Once Western people figure out that, for example, China trusts it government much more than any country on earth, they might ask, Why? How come only 9% of us trust our government and 80% of Chinese trust theirs?How will Westerners react when they find out that 95% of Chinese support their government’s policies while only 20% of them trust theirs? Might they not ask, “If we’re a democracy and they’re not, how come they get policies they like and we don’t? What’s going on?”Or what might happen when Western people figure out that every Chinese has been getting a 100% pay raise every decade for 40 years? Won’t they wonder why their wages have been falling for 40 years while their economies have been growing?Imagine what could happen when Westerners find out that Chinese kids are better educated than theirs. That Chinese science has overtaken theirs…the list gets longer every day so their media must try harder to find things to criticize.Western media distract their audience by yelling at the top of their lungs, “Hey!!! Over there!!! Human rights!!! China!!! Bad!!” Of course we know that China’s human rights record is much, much better than, say America’s, so we can just wait until they find that out, along with the education thing and the science thing and the wages thing and the popular policies thing…Do you think I’m exaggerating about China’s human rights record being better than America’s? I’m not.As you read the document below, remember that the Declaration was written by the wealthiest, most advanced country on earth and is based on the US Constitution. China is a poor, developing country which does not even have words in its vocabulary for individual human rights. Out of the 30 Articles, I score 22 for China and 8 for the USA. How about you?Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.Article 16. (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.Article 17. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.Article 20. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.Article 21. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.Article 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.Article 26. (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.Article 29. (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

What are the advantages of having a company employee manual?

A2A - U.S. perspectiveJust within the past hour or so, I read an excellent blog post on employee handbooks written by a lawyer at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, a law firm with offices throughout the eastern U.S.Quoting The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Organization Should Have an Employee Handbook:1. Protects you in the event of a harassment or discrimination lawsuitThis is one of the first things employment attorneys look for once litigation arises. Having appropriate policies in an employee handbook shows that you took reasonable care to avoid unlawful behavior. If you are ever sued for retaliation, harassment or discrimination by a supervisor against an employee you may have an affirmative defense, but only if you have an adequate reporting policy. This policy must give the employee an adequate avenue to make a report, including to whom to report and an alternate person to report to if the person they are supposed to make a report to is the harassing party. If the employee fails to take advantage of this reporting procedure, you may have an affirmative defense if litigation arises. This affirmative defense does not exist for those without a written reporting procedure.Additionally, a signature page or receipt accompanying the handbook will demonstrate the employee had a chance to review the handbook and had a chance to ask any questions about it. This helps eliminate any ambiguity should litigation arise.2. Makes clear what is expected of your employeesAn employee handbook lays out what your company’s policies and procedures are—so employees cannot later claim they did not know what procedures to follow. For instance, a handbook can clearly set forth safety, timekeeping, attendance and reporting policies. This ensures proper procedures are followed, for instance, when an employee needs to ask for time off or report an injury.3. Makes clear what activities are prohibitedThe handbook should clearly state what activities are prohibited. This way an employee cannot later claim, “I did not know I could not do that.” It also ensures an employee is treated fairly and is prohibited from engaging in the same behavior. Fairness is the key to preventing employment litigation.4. Acts as a guide for managementBy laying out policies and procedures, you ensure that your management is applying company policies properly and consistently, and that management follows appropriate employment laws. Again, fairness and consistency are the keys to avoiding employment lawsuits against your organization. Further, by detailing activities that are prohibited under the law, you can provide notice to your management, which can prevent it from committing legal infractions.5. Serves as a guide for the benefits that an employer offers to its employeesYou are paying for these benefits, so why not show the employee what you are providing? This also helps you and your HR team avoid having to field unnecessary benefits questions, and ensures employees know of the benefits you are offering them.6. Ensures compliance with federal, state, and local lawsOne factor in employment litigation is whether there is evidence that you prohibited the unlawful behavior in question. For instance, you should state, in writing, to all of your employees that your company prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected classes. Further, it is not always clear when an employee is requesting leave for a protected reason. Thus, you want to make sure that the employee provides the information necessary to put you on notice that the requested leave is for a protected reason, such as military or Family and Medical Leave Act leave.Federal and state law regarding employment policies is constantly changing. For instance, the EEOC recently settled a case with Estee Lauder, which required Estee Lauder to change its paternity leave policy. In West Virginia, the Safer Workplaces Act permits an employer to randomly drug tests but requires that an employer have certain policies in place before performing such drug tests. Similarly, Ohio and West Virginia have had recent changes in their gun laws by permitting employees to bring keep handguns in their vehicles, which will likely require updates to most employers’ handbooks.7. Prevents future wage and hour lawsuitsYou should place the burden on the employee to update his or her personal information, such as phone number and address. That way you ensure you are sending employment documents to the correct address.Further, a handbook should clearly specify whether an employee is to be paid vacation time upon cessation of employment. Ambiguity in doing so can lead to a wage lawsuit.Finally, you will want to define who is an exempt or non-exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This can help reduce any confusion for purposes of overtime requirements.8. Increases employee satisfaction and moraleYou should begin the handbook by emphasizing your mission and your excitement for having an employee join your workforce or continue employment with you. This helps affirm your company’s goals and will motivate a new or existing employee. You want to make your employee feel as though he or she is part of the organization and having a motivational introduction can contribute to that.By prohibiting certain behaviors, you also protect other employees and make them feel safe. You do not want an employee to feel harassed or discriminated against. You also want an employee to feel that he or she can file a report if he or she is uncomfortable at work.9. It does not bind the employerYou may be hesitant to issue an employee handbook because you are concerned it will tie your hands. This is not possible with a well-drafted employee handbook. Employee handbooks should, in fact, prominently emphasize that employment is at all times at-will and that the handbook does not create a contract. If such a disclaimer is present, there is generally no independent cause of action for failure to enforce the handbook.10. It sets guidelines for social media use and public imageAn employee handbook should also contain a lawful social media policy and public image policy. This ensures contacts from the media are directed to the proper person within your organization. Such policies also discourage an employee from speaking on behalf of the company when he or she is not authorized to do so. It also allows you to prohibit certain social media activities that could harm your company, to the extent authorized by law.

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