Plaintiffs Firms

Managhan Kortum Managhan Law Firm Above the Law blog.jpgA fantastic and hilarious email, announcing a name change for a Montana law firm, has been making the rounds. We’d like to reprint it here, but we’ll refrain for now. Instead, read the email and commentary on it here and here.
We have no reason to question the authenticity of the email (which apparently went out to the entire membership of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association). But we haven’t verified it definitively either. And we’d like to give William Managhan and Santana Kortum-Managhan the chance to comment, given the salacious nature of the material. How do they fill about all the roomers?
Accordingly, we have phone calls and emails in to the Managhan Law Firm (whose typo-laden website still identifies it as the “Managhan & Kortum-Managhan Law Firm”). We will let you know if and when we hear back from them.
Update (7 PM): We have been communicating with Bobbi Bonnington via email. We hope to have more information for you soon.
A comedic tidbit…courtesy of Montana [The Amateur Law Professor]
Firm Name Change [The Legal Scoop]

Bill Lerach William Learch William S Learch Above the Law blog.jpgAs you know, we’ve been doing a series of fall recruiting open threads on the Vault 100 law firms — which, of course, tend to represent large corporate defendants in litigation matters.
But lately plaintiffs’ firms have been on our mind. Like Hewes & Associates, the fictional firm headed by Glenn Close in the new FX show, Damages. Or Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins — which will drop “Lerach” from its name as of August 31st, after the departure of the colorful and controversial Bill Lerach (whose over-the-top farewell message can be accessed here).
We’re not alone in thinking about plaintiffs’ lawyers. The crew over at Illegal Briefs sent in this request:

We’ve been enjoying your recent recruiting posts/threads. We’d be curious to read about folks’ take on plaintiff-side recruiting and work experiences.

We’re curious too. To kick things off, here are some questions:

1. What are associate salaries (and bonuses) like at the big plaintiffs’ firms, like Lerach Coughlin or Milberg Weiss?

2. Law students (a) want to make money, so they can pay off their student loans, and (b) generally have liberal or left-of-center political views. So why do they all go trooping off to firms that defend big corporations? Why not do plaintiffs’ work, where they can stand up for “the little guy” — and make good money, too?

And, from a different reader, an inquiry about another ATL favorite subject:

You should consider including in your updated clerkship bonus coverage the bonuses being paid by a large plaintiff firm such as Lerach. It would be interesting to see if they are matching their corporate adversaries.

So, does anyone have information or opinions to share on plaintiffs’ firms? If so, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
Bill Lerach To Resign August 31 [WSJ Law Blog]
Lerach’s Departure Memo [WSJ Law Blog]

Hank Adorno Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgActually, this is a two-for-one. We can also get a Benchslap of the Day out of this item. From the Miami Herald:

Prominent attorney Hank Adorno — already under Florida Bar investigation for his role in Miami’s fire-fee scandal — on Wednesday was blasted by the Third District Court of Appeal for what the judges called his ”reprehensible conduct” in the now infamous case.

In a unanimous opinion that upheld a lower-court decision invalidating Miami’s $7 million fire-fee settlement with just seven people, the appeals court ripped into Adorno, who had represented the so-called ”lucky seven.” The Adorno & Yoss firm stood to earn a $2 million share of the $7 million payout, while some 80,000 taxpayers got nothing.

Huh? How did that almost come to pass?
More discussion, plus the benchslap-worthy language from the court’s opinion, after the jump.

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Damages FX Glenn Close Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re looking for something to do in an hour and a half, why not check out the new legal thriller on FX, Damages?
This new television series stars Glenn Close, whom we have worshiped ever since Fatal Attraction. We love a strong woman, who knows exactly what she wants — and will stop at nothing to get it.
The litigatrix role that Glenn Close plays in Damages has some similarities to Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction. Here’s the show’s synopsis:

DAMAGES is a legal thriller set in the world of New York City high-stakes litigation. The series, which provides a view into the true nature of power and success, follows the turbulent lives of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) the nation’s most revered and reviled high-stakes litigator and her bright, ambitious protégé Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) as they become embroiled in a class action lawsuit targeting the allegedly corrupt Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson), one of the country’s wealthiest CEOs.

As Patty battles with Frobisher and his attorney Ray Fiske (Željko Ivanek), Ellen Parsons will be front and center, witnessing just what it takes to win at all costs, as it quickly becomes clear that lives, as well as fortunes, may be at stake.

Tonight’s episode is the third installment of the series. Some thoughts on the first two episodes, from two readers and from us, appear after the jump.

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Hogan Hartson LLP Above the Law blog.JPGWe discussed them back in this post, and wondered: What are they all about?
Well, now we have some answers.
But the mystery isn’t completely solved, since we know neither the identity nor the grievances of the ex-Hogan client who is so unhappy with the firm (or its fees) that they’re taking out (presumably expensive) radio ads to make a point. If you can enlighten us, please do so by email (subject line: “Hogan & Hartson”). Thanks.
Former Client Running Ads Against Hogan and Hartson [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
Disgruntled Client Launches Toll-Free Number for Gripes About BigLaw Firm [Legal Times]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Have You Been Injured… By Hogan & Hartson?

John O'Quinn John M O'Quinn Anna Nicole Smith Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLately we’ve been writing a lot about the Lone Star State. So it’s fitting that John O’Quinn, the “legendary and controversial” Texas trial lawyer, is ATL’s Lawyer of the Day.
Why? Here are at least 35.7 million reasons.
Breaking: Wood v. John O’Quinn ruling [Overlawyered]
John M. O’Quinn bio [The O'Quinn Law Firm]
John O’Quinn [Wikipedia]

Hogan Hartson LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIf so, call 1-800-759-8611. NOW!
No, this isn’t a joke. From a source:

I heard this radio advertisement running on 50,000 watt WABC radio in New York. I heard it twice on the morning of the 16th, about 6:30am and about one hour later, and once again (3rd time) I believe [on Wednesday]. It went something like this:

Did you hire a Hogan and Hartson senior partner for bet the company liltigation? Was your case handled by a junior lawyer instead of the senior partner you thought you were paying for? Call 800-759-8611.

I believe I have the number correct. What’s this all about?

We share our tipster’s curiosity. And yes, reader, you have the number correct. We called the number, got an answering machine message (which mentioned Hogan & Hartson), and left a message of our own, identifying ourselves as media types in search of comment (we haven’t heard back yet).
We don’t understand the nature of this lawsuit. If these plaintiffs’ lawyers think that hiring Rainmaking Partner X means that all work on your case will be done by Rainmaking Partner X, they need to get a clue. Tons of other lawyers will work on your case — but be billed out at much lower rates, of course.
(David Boies, Ted Olson, Marty Lipton… they have these people called associates, you see, who help them with stuff. Associates are kinda like Santa’s elves. They do all the work, even though you may not see them that much…)
But if the allegation is that clients of Hogan & Hartson were billed for hours supposedly worked by a senior partner, when the hours in question were actually worked by, say, a junior associate — well, that might be more interesting.
Does anyone know what the heck this might be about, or which plaintiffs’ firm is handling the matter? If so, please email us. Thanks.

gingerbread house gingerbread man Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn the wake of name partner David Bershad’s guilty plea, the schadenfreude over the fall of Milberg Weiss continues.
Even ex-paralegals at Milberg Weiss are getting in on the fun. Check out this excerpt, from a comment posted at Roger Parloff’s blog:

[F]or anyone who argues that theirs were essentially victimless crimes, how about the competitive advantage Milberg Weiss has enjoyed over firms who really are ethically defending the little guy? It was this idea of evening the playing field for investors and consumers that made me excited about working for Milberg Weiss in the first place, and I passed up more lucrative offers from Defense firms because of my desire to be able to look myself in the mirror every morning. Too bad my employers did not have the same commitment to honesty.

Oh, and as an additional note on class, [former name partner Steven] Schulman actually had the nerve to e-mail the entire firm to ask if they wanted to support his children’s private school by buying gingerbread houses decorated by the kids for $200 a pop. And then, the night of the firm Christmas Party, he sent out a second-chance e-mail offering them discounted at $150!

Rumor also has it that if you bought Girl Scout cookies from Schulman’s daughter, he’d reach into this secret safe he had in his office, and kick back half of the cash to you…
Only Mel Weiss can save Milberg Weiss now [Legal Pad / Fortune]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: David Bershad

Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes Learch Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFormer Milberg Weiss partner David Bershad has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy count, and to cooperate with the feds in their investigation of his former law firm (in which he was once a name partner). The government alleged that Bershad paid kickbacks to clients to serve as plaintiffs in securities class action cases. See here, here, and here.
The best part of the whole story, from the WSJ Law Blog:

* In the earlier years of the alleged conspiracy, Bershad along with Partners A and B and others, “pooled their personal cash into a fund Bershad maintained in his office at Milberg Weiss, which was used by the Conspiring Partners to supply cash for secret payments to paid plaintiffs and others.”

* According to the statement, “the amounts the Conspiring Partners each contributed were supposed to be approximately proportionate to their respective partnership interests in Milberg Weiss. Bershad kept track of the amounts contributed and of the secret cash payments that had been made to paid plaintiffs.”

Now THAT is what we call partnership. Complete trust and cooperation. Working together towards a common goal.
Who says there’s no honor among thieves?
Milberg Weiss’s Bershad to Plead Guilty [WSJ Law Blog]
Bershad Agreement: The Personal Cash Fund [WSJ Law Blog]
Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Securities Case [New York Times]

Following up on yesterday’s post about law firm advertising campaigns, here’s another interesting ad:
Mosh Pit Litigation Goldberg Weisman Cairo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Commentary after the jump.

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