Biglaw, Partner Issues, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Violence

Biglaw Partner Allegedly Slaps Solo Practitioner In The Face With Briefcase

Biglaw partners from international firms don’t like to lose cases — especially not to solo practitioners. Biglaw partners think they own the world, and to lose a case to a lowly solo practitioner would likely bring shame to their firm and force them to commit ritualistic seppuku-style suicide in an attempt to regain their lost honor. (No offense, solos, but we imagine Biglaw partners’ horses are quite high.)

Watch out, solos, because you’ll get absolutely no love from Ho-Love if something like this were to happen. You might get stepped on — literally — and even get slapped in the face with a briefcase…

According to a lawsuit filed by solo practitioner Bruce Richardson, Hogan Lovells partner David Dunn “attempted to climb over” Richardson in an effort to quickly escape after receiving a ruling unfavorable to the Biglaw firm. Dunn allegedly “hit [Richardson] in his face and chest with (his) briefcase” as he attempted to leave the room. Here’s some background on the underlying case from the New York Daily News:

The bizarre brouhaha unfolded on March 6, 2013, after Dunn, representing the Bank of New York Melon for Hogan Lovells law firm, was summoned to a conference room on a foreclosure case.

After the referee read a five-page ruling that suggested Dunn’s firm and the bank acted in bad faith, the attorney attempted to storm out of the cramped quarters and walked all over his adversary who was sitting next to him, court papers said.


According to the suit, the eyes of the law are always watching, because a court clerk witnessed Dunn’s supposed actions and tried to block his exit from the room, shouting, “You just assaulted that attorney. I saw what you did.” Richardson didn’t file criminal charges against Dunn at the time (he said he didn’t want to adversely affect Dunn’s career or his ability to practice law), but that didn’t stop Richardson from filing this personal injury suit.

Here’s some color commentary from Richardson, courtesy of the New York Post:

“He used the briefcase as a weapon,” foreclosure attorney Bruce Richardson, who filed the suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court, said of white-shoe litigator David Dunn.

“He was trying to send me a message that if you fight the big firm, I’m going to crush you,” Richardson maintained.

Richardson claims Dunn’s alleged assault “exacerbated his back problem,” causing him to have to undergo an orthopedic surgery for a herniated disc. Richardson is suing to recoup lost wages, medical expenses, and loss of enjoyment of life. (P.S. Perhaps this is something to consider for a new résumé line, Mr. Dunn? Don’t you think “caused solo practitioner to cease enjoying life” has a nice ring to it?)

Is Dunn sorry? You bet he is. He’s sorry that he’s not sorry:

To a court officer, Dunn later gave a lawyerly response.

“I’m sorry that Mr. Richardson feels like I hit him,” Richardson quoted him as saying, adding: “so that was his apology to me.”

A Hogan Lovells spokesperson says that Richardson’s allegations are “absolutely without merit.”

If the allegations do have merit, though, then maybe what they say is true: Big Law, bigger a-holes.

Lawyer tramples his legal opponent after hearing at Brooklyn court: court papers [New York Daily News]
Losing attorney hit opposing lawyer with briefcase: suit [New York Post]

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