We all know it, it’s why lawyers are so terrible: we spend all our time taking out how awful some client is on others. But no one ever calls out the client in public, because we’re either too nice or too interested in keeping our business to ridicule our gravy train.
But then there are some lawyers who are big enough and important enough to become the Honey Badger and just rip clients on the radio.
Maybe this is one more advantage of being part of Skull & Bones….
Last night we wrote about a high-profile lawsuit: 3M v. Lanny Davis. Yes, that’s right: the maker of Post-its and Scotch tape is going after Lanny J. Davis, the noted D.C. lawyer and lobbyist, along with his client, Porton Capital (a group of private investors).
It’s a strange lawsuit, but the allegations in it aren’t new. Similar suits were filed by 3M in June and July, in New York state court. (And one of them is still pending, despite the filing of an action in D.C. federal court.)
The primary parties, 3M and the Porton Group, have crossed swords before. In fact, they’re litigating against each other right now in merry olde England, before the High Court in London. In the U.K. litigation, 3M is being sued by Porton Capital and by the British government (in the form of Ploughshare Innovations, an entity owned by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence).
According to the Wall Street Journal, Porton and Ploughshare allege that 3M failed to diligently develop the BacLite testing technology, “a product already proved and used in Europe as a cheap and quick way of detecting methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, a hospital infection.” The reason this is so upsetting to Porton and Ploughshare is that they were contractually entitled to receive royalties from 3M’s sales of BacLite. The plaintiffs in the U.K. case claim that 3M abandoned BacLite less than a year after buying it — after botching the BacLite trials, and declaring the testing technology non-viable — “in order to protect a 3M-developed detection product known as Fastman from the less expensive rival posed by BacLite.”
Got that? Okay. Now, some updates to our prior coverage….
UPDATE (9/2/11, 9:30 AM): An update to our updates: a statement from William A. Brewer III, counsel to 3M, has been added below.
Physician, heal thyself? D.C. power broker Lanny Davis, a guru of crisis management, now has a crisis of his own to manage.
Davis has been hit with a federal lawsuit by, oddly enough, one of America’s largest corporations: 3M, the Fortune 100 company and Dow Jones Industrial Average component that’s famous for such products as Post-it Notes and Scotch tape. It’s surprising to see a mega-corporation like 3M going after a high-profile lawyer like Davis.
UPDATE (10:50 AM): Comments from Lanny Davis and his client, the Porton Group, have been added below. They point out that this is 3M’s third bite at the apple — the company previously filed two similar cases in New York state court. (The first suit was withdrawn, while the second still appears to be pending — rather strange, given the D.C. federal court filing.)
In yesterday’s post about the departure of D.C. power broker Lanny Davis from McDermott Will & Emery, a firm he joined a little over six months ago, we put out a request for more information. That request was promptly answered — by none other than Lanny Davis himself.
The drama lover in us was hoping for an epic tale of office intrigue and power struggle at McDermott Will (and commenters were happy to speculate). As it turns out, however, the parting of Davis and MWE is quite amicable — and far from total. As Davis explained to us, he’s setting up his own shop, but he will continue to work closely with McDermott lawyers, serving McDermott clients. In fact, Davis isn’t even leaving the building (so no office exorcism necessary).
What’s going on here? Information from our chat with Lanny Davis, plus the complete press release mentioned previously by the Washington Post, after the jump.
Now, just a few months later, it appears that Davis is striking out on his own. From the Washington Post:
Lanny J. Davis, the former White House counsel and longtime Clinton booster, is launching his own eponymous law-and-lobbying shop, according to a draft announcement obtained by The Post. Lanny J. Davis & Associates LLP will provide “a unique combination of traditional legal and litigation services plus media/crisis management, and legislative/public policy strategies to solve U.S. and international client problems,” the announcement says. Davis, a cable television staple who has often run afoul of more liberal Democrats, highlights his avowed centrism as a prime benefit for potential clients….
The new venture means Davis will step down as partner at the global law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, but he says he will continue to write a column for “The Hill” newspaper and contribute to a legal strategies blog that he began last year.
We reached out to McDermott, and a firm spokesperson confirmed that Davis is leaving the firm.
So who else is going with him, and what prompted the move?
Last week we wrote about the move of prominent D.C. lawyers Lanny Davis and Eileen O’Connor from Orrick to McDermott Will & Emery. Am Law Daily described the jump as follows: “Lanny Davis, a longtime Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush, is taking his unique practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott, Will & Emery.”
It’s not the case, however, that the entire practice moved. As noted by one commenter, the rest of the legal strategic and crisis management practice remained with Orrick. Consistent with this, an Orrick spokesperson issued the following statement to ATL:
We wish Lanny and Eileen well, but Orrick’s law, policy, media, and crisis management practice remains vibrant and strong with continuing plans for expansion and will keep delivering its unique blend of legal, public relations and government affairs counsel to our clients around the world.
Remaining at Orrick are partners Adam Goldberg, who was co-chair of the practice with Davis, and Joshua Galper. Goldberg and Galper will head the practice going forward. In addition, the associates who work in and with the law, policy and media group are staying at Orrick.
As for clients, it’s not yet clear which ones will stay with Orrick and which will move to McDermott. “Thankfully, this is a practice where we’ve always had plenty of work, so that’s not an issue,” Galper said. (We’d guess, however, that certain clients closely tied to Davis — like CEAL, the Honduras business group supporting the coup in that country — will travel with him.)
Get to know Messrs. Galper and Goldberg, and read more about Orrick’s very interesting and unusual practice area, after the jump.
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