Lawyer of the Day

JamesCreightonPIC.jpgIn an homage to the start of the NHL conference semifinals today, the Lawyer of the Day is James Creighton. Creighton, a Canadian lawyer in the late 1800s, helped found and popularize modern ice hockey while he was a law student at McGill University in Montreal. Here is his stub bio from Wikipedia:

James George Alywin Creighton (Born: 1850 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada – Died: 1930) was one the men originally responsible for the early popularization of ice hockey. Creighton developed the game from a similar game known as shinney in Halifax, where (according to some historians) it was developed out of an Irish game called hurley. In 1873 Creighton moved to Montreal to work and eventually attended McGill University, graduating in 1880 with a law degree. There, on March 3, 1875, the first organized game of ice hockey was played and the game’s popularity grew significantly. He practised law with a firm in Montreal. In 1884 Creighton moved to Ottawa to become a law clerk in the Canadian Senate. He formed a team called the Rideau Hall Rebels, and became friends with teammates William and Arthur Stanley, sons of then Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley.

Creighton would happy to know that his sport has been taken over by the American Southeast (the last two Stanley Cup Champions are the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning). Fortunately for you hockey purists out there, the Southeastern teams have already lost this year, and Canada has two chances (Vancouver and Ottawa) to take the Cup back.

candy box.jpg
We’ve got to dash up to DC for a couple of days to attend to our real job, so another guest blogger will be taking the controls now. We’ll return on Thursday. But we can’t leave without directing your attention to our Lawyer of the Day, Kenneth Heller.
The Village Voice has a long piece on Heller’s colorful career, tagging him “New York’s Most Obnoxious Lawyer”:

Heller was disbarred for basically “being an asshole,” as one adversary puts it. And in [the legal] profession, the rival adds, “that takes some doing.”
Told last week that people have described him as an “asshole,” Heller says, “Who said that? He may be queer. Tell that person, ‘Heller says you may be queer.’ “

It gets even better, we promise. Don’t miss the part where he sues his ex-girlfriend’s sister for returning a box of candy!
(Thanks to How Appealing for the link.)

Stephen Kunian Stephen T Kunian Steven Kunian Steve Kunian Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s a bizarre fact pattern to get your day started right. From the Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly:

A criminal assault-and-battery complaint has been issued against attorney Stephen T. Kunian, a partner at the Boston law firm of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin, Mellott, for an incident in which he allegedly forced open the jacket of a woman during the Dec. 2, 2006, opening of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

But Kunian’s attorney said the allegations are “an attempt at character assassination” by a victim who has demanded $500,000 in damages.

The alleged victim in the case, independent museum curator Gloretta Baynes, filed a police report claiming that Kunian approached her on the night in question and opened up her jacket, exposing her bra. Baynes’ attorney, James S. Dilday of Boston, said she had the jacket zipped up to neck level but was not wearing a shirt underneath at the time.

Baynes is also claiming that Kunian’s hands touched her breasts at the time. Kunian allegedly said after the incident: “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you had a shirt on.”

Bill Maher had some harsh words for graduates of Regent Law School. But Harvard Law School grads get in trouble too.
Complaint Launched Against Law-Firm Partner [Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly]
Stephen T. Kunian bio [Eckert Seamans]

Robert Liptak attorney lawyer crack addict Above the Law blog.jpgRobert Liptak is a lawyer in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. And he knows how to arrive at the courthouse in style. From WAFB 9NEWS:

Sheriff’s deputies tell WAFB 9NEWS Robert Liptak arrived for court on his motorcycle and fell off it. Deputies took him in to the courthouse, where they say he then passed out in front of the judge.

From there, deputies arrested Liptak. They tell us they found crack rocks and a crack pipe on him. Liptak is still in jail and has to go to rehab immediately when he gets out. He has chosen not to do that.

We’re shocked and disappointed. Liptak is placing the legal profession in disrepute. Couldn’t he at least have used powder cocaine?
(Crack is so low-rent — and subjects its users to dramatically higher penalties, too.)
P.S. Liptak looks more like a crystal meth addict to us. But we suppose that crack use doesn’t do wonders for one’s appearance either.
Livingston Parish Attorney Arrested after Showing Up for Court [WAFB]

tax taxes Above the Law blog.jpgWe just finished our taxes (or our accountant just did), so we have taxes on the brain. Remember, everyone: tax returns are due on April 17 this year, instead of the usual April 15. (To learn why, click here.)
Considering the time of year, it’s appropriate that our Lawyer of the Day is one George E. Harp. Harp accomplished the impressive feat of losing two cases in Tax Court — his client’s, and his own — on the same day.
Congratulations, Mr. Harp!
(Okay, perhaps it’s not THAT impressive a feat. Harp seems to be one of those nutty tax protestors, with no viable arguments in defense of his failure, or his client’s failure, to file a tax return.)
A Tough Day in Tax Court: Lawyer Loses Two Failure to File Tax Return Cases — His Client’s and His Own [TaxProf Blog]
Tax Returns Are Due April 17 This Year [TaxProf Blog]

Conrad Black Above the Law blog.jpgFormer media magnate Conrad Black is currently on trial in federal court in Chicago. Lord Black (at right) stands accused of fraud, racketeering, tax violations, obstruction of justice, and money laundering — serious stuff. He’s being defended by Edward Greenspan, one of Canada’s most colorful trial attorneys.
Greenspan — who went to law school with Black, by the way — can already claim the distinction of being “among Canada’s most famous lawyers.” And now “Fast Eddie” can add a new prize to his mantle: ATL Lawyer of the Day!!!
Greenspan recently got benchslapped in open court by a judicial hottie — and he clearly deserves some recognition for this achievement. For the gory details, we refer you to our big sibling, DealBreaker.
Congratulations, Mr. Greenspan! We look forward to more antics from you as the trial progresses.
Conrad Black Defense’s Routine Needs Tweaking [DealBreaker]
Où est Monsieur Black? [DealBreaker]

Alison Maynard Allison Maynard Sunny Maynard Alison Sunny Maynard Above the Law blog.gifWhen we wrote about her amusing court filing earlier today, we redacted her name. But since she has shown that she has no problem with being identified, even going so far as to comment on our prior post, we’re happy to shout her name from the blogospheric rooftops: ALISON MAYNARD.
Alison Maynard, who ran unsuccessfully for Colorado Attorney General as a Green Party candidate, is known in some circles as “Sunny” Maynard. And with her hilarious motion, Sunny Maynard has brightened the days of thousands of lawyers around the country.
This is why we’re naming her our Lawyer of the Day. Congratulations, Ms. Maynard!
For those of you who didn’t read our prior post, here’s the relevant excerpt from Maynard’s motion:
inebriation 2 excusable neglect drink drunk drinking motion Alison Maynard Allison Maynard Above the Law blog.JPG
In the hours since we posted it, we’ve been bombarded by several lengthy email screeds from Maynard. Because most of them contained the words “water rights” and “bill of costs,” they were initially banished to the “Boring Stuff” subfolder of our “Junk Mail” folder.
But we dutifully rescued them, and we even read them. Some excerpts, as well as links with biographical information about Alison Maynard, appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Alison Maynard”

M Todd Scott Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe Above the Law.JPGTruth be told, we find the stock options backdating story a little boring. But every now and then, it results in mildly interesting news.
From the Recorder:

A fourth-year associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe inadvertently disclosed a sensitive document about stock option backdating that the firm has spent the last five months fighting to keep under seal.

The document — a complaint in a shareholder derivative action against former executives of Mercury Interactive Corp. — contains explosive allegations against the executives and quotes extensively from e-mails in which the executives allegedly discuss backdating their own stock options….

The complaint, Morillo v. Abrams, 1:05-cv-50710, had been filed under seal on Sept. 22 as part of a confidentiality agreement with the executives’ lawyers — but without judicial approval. The Recorder and two other news organizations have been trying since then to unseal the complaint and its supporting exhibits.

But a Dow Jones News Service reporter discovered Friday that Orrick associate M. Todd Scott had inadvertently filed the complaint publicly with a motion to stay the derivative action in October. The Wall Street Journal posted the complaint on its Web site over the weekend and wrote a story about it on page A-4 of Tuesday’s print edition.

Whoops! There goes five months’ worth of legal battles.
Our personal view is that filing under seal is greatly overused, even abused. But if you’re going to file under seal, then file under seal.
(We do feel bad, however, for Mr. Scott. We’re guessing he was operating under inadequate sleep. And when associates are exhausted and overworked, mistakes will get made.)
Oops! Orrick Associate Lets Slip Mercury Backdating Document [The Recorder via Law.com]

cupid behind bars Above the Law.GIFWe’re bestowing this honor upon Malik Cupid, and not just because today is Valentine’s Day. He actually did something to earn this award.
From the NJ Blog (emphasis in original):

Malik Cupid, an attorney, Democrat party activist and current aide to Governor Jon S. Corzine’s administration, was arraigned in Westchester County (New York) Supreme Court yesterday (which also happened to be his 31st birthday) after being charged with stealing $1,400 from his old girlfriend’s bank account and hacking into the former girlfriend’s account while she was serving on active duty with the Army in Iraq.

All told, the Westchester County district attorney’s office charged Cupid with four felonies, including grand larceny, identity theft and eavesdropping. He faces up to 16 years in state prison.

More details here — including a picture. Check out Cupid’s snazzy bow tie.
Cupid Is Crazy [NJ Blog]
Cupid Arraigned on Larceny Charge [Journal News]

George Hunter George D Hunter Above the Law Above the Law.jpgIf Aaron Charney’s lawsuit against Sullivan & Cromwell is to be believed, some S&C lawyers think that Canadians are “irrelevant.”
Feel free to debate the relevance in Canadians in the comments. One thing that can be said for them, though, is that their lawyers have pretty good sex scandals.
From an article in the Toronto Star, by the provocatively named Tracey Tyler (who is a guy for all we know):

The former head of the governing body for Ontario lawyers has been suspended from practising for 60 days after admitting to a sexual affair with a client. George Hunter, 59, offered an emotional apology to his colleagues, family and ex-lover yesterday after pleading guilty to professional misconduct.

The irony here is too rich. Maybe all those years of administering slaps on the wrists to lawyers who improperly slept with clients got Hunter thinking, “Maybe I should give this a whirl?”[FN 1]

The relationship ended abruptly after Hunter asked X.Y. to meet him at an Ottawa restaurant, where he informed her that during the time they had been sexually involved, he had also had affairs with two other women….

In a move that might be worthy of entry in the annals of unromantic gestures, Hunter, just before disclosing those affairs, presented X.Y. with a copy of section 2.04 of the law society’s Rules of Professional Conduct.

It deals with conflicts of interest between lawyers and clients. Hunter wanted X.Y. to acknowledge that she had read it….

And THIS is why George Hunter is ATL’s Lawyer of the Day. Say what you will about Hunter, but the man was a LAWYER — to the bitter and embarrassing end.
[FN1] We say “improperly” because, as noted by the Globe and Mail, “[t]here are no professional or statutory rules in Canada which prohibit lawyers from having sexual relations with clients. [There are simply] conflict of interest codes which restrict lawyers from sexual relations with clients without informed consent and when the relationship might harm the client’s interests.”
In this case, Hunter admitted to misconduct. So there’s no claim that his affair — or the two other affairs he had while having affair #1 — were above board.
Sex with client sinks top lawyer [Toronto Star]
Ex-Law Society official suspended for affair with client [Globe & Mail]
Law Society of Upper Canada investigates former Treasurer [The Lawyers Weekly]
George D. Hunter bio [Borden Ladner Gervais]

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