Brian Valery

Robert Birmingham Professor Robert L Birmingham Above the Law blog.jpg* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]

Brian Valery Brian T Valery Bryan Valery Bryan T Valery Brian Valerie.JPGToday’s New York Times has an interesting article on Brian Valery, the bestest paralegal ever. The article may actually say less about Valery and more about the general uselessness of junior associates. Consider this:

Steven Maass, who hired Mr. Valery’s former law firm, Anderson Kill & Olick, after Mr. Maass’s electronic trading business was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, thought Mr. Valery unimpressive but chalked it up to inexperience.

“All first- and second-year attorneys are pretty terrible,” Mr. Maass wrote in a recent exchange of e-mail messages.

True enough — even though you’re paying several hundred dollars an hour for that awfulness. In Valery’s case, he was billed out at $300 per hour. Anderson Kill is in the process of negotiating financial settlements with about 50 former “clients” of Valery.
What should be frightening to defenders of the monopoly that bar-admitted lawyers have upon the provision of legal services is that Valery, despite never having attended law school or taken the bar, didn’t do that badly for himself. Maass found him to be no more useless than the typical junior associate. And Anderson Kill has not yet had any clients come forward to claim that Valery screwed up their cases. (Of course, given how little responsibility junior associates are given, perhaps that’s not surprising.)
Some food for thought:

Connecticut authorities debated what Mr. Dubois called the “metaphysical question” of whether they could even disbar someone who was never a lawyer and had only temporary privileges to practice in the state. They decided they could, and should, to keep other states from issuing privileges based on the faulty Connecticut credentials.

Anderson Kill’s chairman, Jeffrey L. Glatzer, euphemistically refers to the Valery episode as “the unfortunate incident.” Not bad. But if it were up to us, we would have gone with “The Late Unpleasantness,” “That Not-So-Fresh Feeling in the Legal Briefs,” or “The Smell of Napalm in the Document Room.”
Case of the Paralegal Who Played a Lawyer Raises Many Questions [New York Times]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Brian Valery (scroll down)

Brian Valery Brian T Valery Bryan Valery Bryan T Valery Brian Valerie.JPGBack in November, we named Brian Valery an ATL Lawyer Paralegal of the Day. The enterprising and ingenious Mr. Valery, who had neither attended law school nor taken the bar exam, successfully posed as a lawyer for two years. He “practiced” at Anderson Kill in New York.
Here’s the latest news about Brian Valery:

A man who prosecutors said had been representing clients of a prominent New York law firm for two years was arrested here on Wednesday and charged with impersonating a lawyer, state prosecutors said.

The man, Brian T. Valery, 32, of Massapequa Park, N.Y., surrendered to the authorities and was charged with perjury, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and practicing law without being a lawyer, a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two months, according to David I. Cohen, the state’s attorney for the judicial district.

Some people say that bar admission is just a racket designed to keep the number of practicing lawyers down (and the salaries of those lawyers up). If so, then admitted lawyers should take comfort in the fact that this racket is supported by criminal sanctions. Have fun in prison, Brian!
(A jailhouse grooming tip: You have a boyish face, Brian, so keep that beard. Then maybe you won’t be picked as someone’s bitch.)
Law Firm Employee Is Accused of Posing as Lawyer in Court [New York Times via WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Lawyer Paralegal of the Day: Brian T. Valery


law library Above the Law.jpgBrian T. Valery is our hero. He figured out a way to save $100K on a legal education — namely, by not getting one. From Law.com:

Brian Valery is under fire for his pro hac vice appearance in a 2005 complex litigation case heard in Stamford, Conn. His motion to appear, which went unopposed, was based on his affidavit stating he was an attorney in good standing at the New York City firm of Anderson Kill & Olick. He also claimed to be a member of the New York Bar with no history of discipline.

As it turns out, Valery not only isn’t a member of the Bar, there’s no record that he ever applied or sat for the bar exam in New York or even set foot in a Fordham Law School classroom, which he told Anderson Kill partners he was doing at night to advance his career beyond that of a paralegal, Connecticut grievance officials say….

Valery, after working at Anderson Kill [as a paralegal] since 1996, told the firm in 2004 he had passed the New York Bar. Partners at the 132-lawyer firm have conceded to Connecticut grievance authorities that they regrettably took Valery at his word.

Oh Emily, if only you hadn’t sent that email, you could have tried this trick too.
Anderson Kill Discovers ‘Associate’ Is Not a Lawyer [Connecticut Law Tribune]Bryan Valery Brian Valery Brian T Valery Bryan T Valery.JPG