As we previously mentioned in Non-Sequiturs, Love is being sued by litany of her former associates. Her former legal consigliere says he was not properly paid, and now her former personal assistant says Love asked her to act illegally and hire a hacker.
The typical ATL “Lawyer of the Day” is a solo practitioner or small-firm lawyer. But today’s lawyer of the day hails from a large law firm, one that you’ve probably heard of — and one that gets the definite-article treatment in the New York Times wedding pages.
Meet Mark Fischer, from the Denver office of Faegre & Benson, the well-known Minneapolis law firm. Here’s what Fischer did to earn a place in the pages of ATL. From the Rocky Mountain News:
A prominent Denver law firm is being sued after one of its attorneys forged a federal judge’s signature on a legal document.
The forgery allowed one of Faegre & Benson’s clients to obtain a loan and pay the firm for work, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S District Court in Colorado.
The attorney, Mark W. Fischer, admitted in a two-page letter that on April 25, 2005, that he “fabricated a false document which purported to be an order” signed by Judge Philip Figa to release a lien against his client’s property.
Fischer was suspended by the state supreme court on April 11. His ultimate fate will be decided at an upcoming disciplinary hearing.
One of the tipsters who brought this to our attention wrote: “I can’t believe it backfired; it seems like such a good idea to forged a federal judge’s signature. I’m guessing the firm’s collections department was really hounding that attorney about those unpaid fees.”
So what did the powers-that-be at Faegre & Benson think of all this?
“What Mr. Fischer described in his letter is inconsistent with the way Faegre & Benson has practiced law for over 100 years,” [partner Dave] Stark said.
Thanks for the clarification, Dave. We’re glad to jear that forging federal judges’ signatures isn’t usual policy or practice at Faegre & Benson.
Interestingly enough, even though the firm is now being sued by the client for failure to “supervise” Fischer, it turns out that he was a PARTNER at the firm — not some wet-behind-the-ears associate. From his Martindale-Hubbell bio:
Mark W. Fischer (Partner) born Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1956; admitted to bar, 1991, Colorado. Education: Grinnell College (B.A. 1978); University of Colorado (J.D. 1991). Practice Areas: Commercial Litigation; Intellectual Property Litigation.
An appeals court in Brooklyn has disbarred an attorney who was convicted of criminal contempt for forging the signature of a Family Court judge during a post-divorce proceeding against her ex-husband.
A unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, said that it could not offer a lesser sentence for the attorney, Mary K. Henning, despite her otherwise unblemished record….
Mary Henning, a former litigator at Kaplan & Winkler in White Plains, was not accused of forging the signature in her capacity as an attorney. She and her former husband, Robert A. Ritz, were divorced in 1999. In 2000, they agreed to spend equal time with their children, and Ritz signed a stipulation to that effect.
Ritz said that Judge Joan O. Cooney, the supervising judge of the family courts in the 9th Judicial District, had not signed the stipulation when it was given to him. But Henning later gave the document to school authorities as proof of residence, so she could collect a $16,750 refund for out-of-district tuition. The document had what looked like a “J” on Judge Cooney’s signature line.
We’d be interested in seeing the allegedly forged document. Getting disbarred for one teensy letter — isn’t that a bit harsh? Could the “J” have been a random stray mark? Or maybe a photocopying error? As any paralegal can tell you, if you don’t wipe the glass clean before copying, you will get smudges.
C’mon, Mary, think outside the box! Panel Disbars Attorney For Forging Judge’s Name [New York Law Journal]
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!