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.)
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.”
Robert 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]
We 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]
Former 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]
When 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:
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.
Truth 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]
We’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.
If 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]
In March 2004, police arrested Muhammad Dye on Central Avenue. They found him carrying an electric scale, two cellular phones, five empty sandwich bags with cocaine residue and $1,063 in cash.
Dye was charged with drug possession and possession of criminal tools, but after a weeklong trial in November 2005, a jury cleared him of the charges. Dye even argued successfully that all the items seized should be returned to him, right down to the sandwich bags.
This guy sounds AWESOME. Here’s more from the article:
Common Pleas Judge Lillian Greene declined to discuss the case because Dye has three more cases pending before her. Courtroom observers, though, said Dye is surprisingly charming. While he sometimes mangles his words, he gets his point across to the jury.
Considering that Dye prevailed in getting his cocaine-dusted Ziplocs returned to him, he’s got to be good. Update: From someone who has witnessed Muhammad Dye in action:
He’s not great, I’ll be honest, but he’s not bad. His cross of a codefendant who flipped was decent — he got his point across. Having clerked in a federal district court, I’ve seen lots worse from retained defense attorneys.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.