Fashion, In-House Counsel, Lawyer of the Day, Screw-Ups

In-House (and Inactive) Lawyer of the Day: Jonathan Moss

Gucci 'sacks' in-house lawyer, Jonathan Moss

Gucci wants g’s for the use of its big G. Gucci sued Guess Inc. in 2009 for trademark infringement, for allegedly selling knock-offs of its designs and for using the interlocking “GG” pattern.

Guess may be the company making knock-offs, but Gucci’s the company with fake lawyers. Gucci recently fired in-house lawyer Jonathan Moss because he had been working for the company since 2002 with a lapsed license. Gucci revealed this on Friday in a motion requesting that his inactive status not invalidate attorney-client privilege.

From Women’s Wear Daily:

According to court documents filed Friday, Gucci America Inc. terminated Jonathan Moss on March 1. Gucci said it discovered in January that Moss’ status with the California bar had been inactive for the whole of his seven-year run as legal counsel with the firm. Guess has sought access to Moss’ communications regarding a trademark infringement lawsuit Gucci brought against it in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last year. Gucci’s disclosure came in a memo backing a motion that the attorney-client privilege should still apply to his involvement in the case.

So why did Moss let his license lapse? Apparently, he wasn’t making enough money in-house to keep his status active…

This is just sad:

In the memo, Gucci argues Moss is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and passed the California state bar exam in 1993. In what the company’s lawyer called a “ministerial” change, Moss voluntarily switched his status with the bar from “active” to “inactive” in 1996 because the latter was less expensive to maintain.

In invoking attorney-client privilege, Gucci argued that Moss was still a member of the bar despite the status change and that he has been a member of the bar for two of California’s federal courts since 1994. According to the memo, Gucci hired Moss in 2002 in a nonlawyer position and promoted him to in-house legal counsel the next year.

According to Moss’s LinkedIn profile, he was working for PricewaterhouseCooper in 1996, so it’s unclear why he was too poor to pay bar dues.

Interestingly, Moss leaves off Fordham Law on his LinkedIn profile, and instead lists just Stanford (where he got his BA) and NYU Law (where he got an LLM). That’s as sketchy as a Gucci bag purchased in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Gucci Fires Lawyer… [Women’s Wear Daily]

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