calls the decision a “stunning reversal.” We could not have said it better.
Bank of America’s board voted to reveal the legal advice its lawyers provided during the bank’s merger with Merrill Lynch. The NYT report is based on three unnamed sources.
Bank of America has previously refused to waive the attorney-client privilege related to merger, even when Congress demanded it do so.
NYT: After six months of digging in its heels, the bank is expected to provide legal documents that could shed light on how its lawyers advised executives to deal with the disclosure of key information about losses and bonuses at Merrill Lynch to the bank’s shareholders.
With a stroke of a pen, the bank’s decision will remove a stumbling block in a wide range of cases. The documents may exonerate bank executives, like its retiring chief, Kenneth D. Lewis, or may provide the evidence that some investigators are seeking to lay blame at individuals’ feet.
According to the article, the decision stemmed from conversations with New York’s attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, who has threatened to charge the bank’s executives and recently issued subpoenas to several bank directors.
The bank’s officials reportedly felt they had nothing to lose in releasing the documents, and also relied on advice from current counsel Cleary Gottlieb and Paul Weiss.
The decision will of course place the spotlight on the advice provided. The New York Times report does not include reaction from the firms that drafted the original merger documents — Wachtell on the BofA side and Shearman & Sterling representing Merrill.
The article does not mention any limitations on parameters about what documents will be released, or if anything in particular will be withheld.
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