The New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has become the second court in as many months to approve the government’s warrantless search of a lawyer’s records. The ruling follows a July decision out of the D.C. district court allowing a federal agency to access the client list of a Big Law firm and may continue to raise questions about the safety of a lawyer’s private information. 

When immigration lawyer Adam A. Malik flew into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in early 2021 his last name popped up with a possible link to a known weapons trafficker. What followed was a warrantless taking and search of Malik’s phone by the Department of Homeland Security, including the copy and storage of records from that phone, before it was returned later that year. 

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