Biglaw, Crime, In-House Counsel, Violence

This Former Skadden Associate’s Alleged Weapon of Choice? A Broken Champagne Flute

You’ve seen it time and time again in these pages: years spent in Biglaw can lead to great excesses, and we’re not just talking about those luxurious lawyerly lairs. Biglaw veterans also go to extremes in other areas of life, including overindulgence in alcohol and violence.

Take, for example, Bryan Brooks, a former Skaddenite. After doing a four-year stint at the firm, Brooks moved in-house at American Express. It’s a good thing he chose the credit card company as his new home, because back in June 2011, Brooks had a major “don’t leave home without it” moment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his Amex card that he was worried about.

In this case, Brooks wished that he had his defense attorney’s phone number on hand, because he was accused of slashing a bar patron’s face with the classiest weapon of all: a broken champagne flute….

An important UPDATE — namely, Brooks’s vindication at trial — after the jump.

The alleged attack took place at the Thompson Hotel’s ritzy Thom Bar. The New York Post has the details:

A sharp-dressing American Express lawyer — believing another man . . . had laughed at him — proceeded to reclaim his honor with a broken champagne flute, prosecutors told jurors today at a bizarre Manhattan felony assault trial.

Bryan Brooks — a 37-year-old Columbia University School of Law graduate — left his victim’s face so badly slashed, doctors used 50 stitches and 15 staples to close the wound, which stretches from the corner of his left eye to his neck, prosecutors said.

The fight allegedly started after Brooks accused the victim, Chaka Smith, of laughing at him. Talk about an inferiority complex. People go to bars to have a good time, which usually involves laughter among friends. That doesn’t mean they’re laughing at you (unless you’re using cheesy pick-up lines à la “Hey baby, want to come back to my place and execute some complex cross border transactions with me, if you know what I mean?”).

The charges here are no laughing matter. If convicted, Brooks could face up to 25 years in prison.

The powers that be at Skadden must be thrilled that Brooks developed his alleged penchant for bad behavior after transitioning to an in-house position; now he’s Amex’s problem. Perhaps they’re rethinking Brooks’s “membership” as we speak.

UPDATE (9/28/2012, 5:30 PM): Brooks was acquitted today, after taking the stand to claim that he acted in self-defense. Congratulations to Brooks on his acquittal.

UPDATE (10/25/2012, 1:30 PM): We interviewed Bryan Brooks, who shared with us his harrowing journey through the criminal justice system.

(If you’d like to take a look at Bryan A. Brooks’s LinkedIn page, you can view it in full on the next page.)

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