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We Need to Talk: Modernizing Attorney-Client Jail Communications

February 26 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

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We Need to Talk: Modernizing Attorney-Client Jail Communications


Cynthia Alkon, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program at Texas A&M University School of Law


Monday, February 26, 2024


12:30 – 1:30pm


In-person and via Zoom

333 Golden Gate Ave., Room 501, San Francisco, CA 94102


In an era of ever-expanding communications choices, people detained in jails around the United States have few options for reliably confidential attorney-client communication. Professor Alkon will consider the widespread problem of recording attorney-client jail phone calls, video calls, and emails which are then sent to law enforcement and prosecutors. Professors Alkon’s 2020 survey of how criminal courts operated during the early months of the pandemic revealed how the pandemic brought new urgency to this problem as jails closed and in-person visits stopped. Professor Alkon challenges current practices and will argue that the failure to protect attorney-client confidential communications is a systemic problem demanding systemic solutions. Criminal courts have a key interest in protecting this right as the efficient running of the criminal courts relies almost exclusively on plea bargaining–a process that breaks down if defendants and their lawyers are not assured confidential communications.


California MCLE Credit – 1 hour, available for a fee


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Professor Cynthia Alkon is a law professor and the Director of the Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program at Texas A&M University School of Law.  Professor Alkon teaches Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Negotiation. Professor Alkon’s scholarship focuses on plea bargaining, criminal dispute resolution, comparative criminal procedure and rule of law reform. Before joining academia, Professor Alkon was a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County handling cases ranging from misdemeanors to first degree murder.  Professor Alkon then joined the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative working as a Rule of Law Liaison in Belarus for two years (1998-2000). After Belarus Professor Alkon was the head of the legal department for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Albania. From 2002-2006 Professor Alkon was the Head of the Rule of Law Unit for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). In that position Professor Alkon supervised the OSCE/ODIHR Rule of Law Unit’s criminal justice reform assistance projects in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

Professor Alkon earned an LL.M in Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (now UC Law San Francisco), and a B.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University.  Professor Alkon was admitted to the California Bar in 1990 (currently inactive) and the District of Columbia Bar in 1991.



February 26
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
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Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR)
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