Lindquist & Vennum

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Left to right: John Michael Farren, Scott Rothstein, Michael Margulies.


For some reason, today brings lots of news about lawyers and the criminal justice system. And we’re not talking about lawyers representing clients, but lawyers who are the clients: John Michael Farren, the former White House lawyer accused of attempting to murder his wife; Scott Rothstein, the Florida attorney who ran a massive Ponzi scheme; and Michael Margulies, the former Lindquist & Vennum partner who misappropriated millions in client money. We’ve decided to hit this rogues’ gallery in a single, omnibus post.

Let’s start with John Michael Farren, the former Bush Administration lawyer and Xerox general counsel charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation of his wife, Skadden counsel Mary Margaret Fadden. As reported by the ABA Journal, John Farren has posted $750,000 bail and been released to the “Institute of Living” — which sounds like a fancy spa where you eat seaweed and do yoga, but is actually a mental hospital in Hartford.

The news coverage also reveals that the wealthy couple’s divorce has been finalized. How were their millions distributed?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Trio of Misbehaving Lawyers: Some Updates”

Back in the summer of 2008, we wrote a post entitled “Summer Associates of the Day: Sapphic Summers in Lesbianic Lip-Lock.” The title of the post pretty much says it all.

Well, it turns out that a partner at the same firm, Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum, may have been misbehaving too. The Pioneer Press reports that Michael S. Margulies, a leading Twin Cities real estate lawyer, has been accused of professional misconduct — in the form of “misappropriat[ing] significant sums from a limited number of clients and from the firm,” according to a statement by the firm. Margulies has withdrawn from the firm’s partnership, reported his conduct to Minnesota’s professional responsibility office, and agreed to be disbarred. He has also resigned from the St. Paul Planning Commission, where he served several terms under different mayors.

What prompted this alleged theft? It seems that Michael Margulies, former head of Lindquist’s real estate group, may have loved real estate not wisely, but too well. From the Pioneer Press:

Margulies, 56, of St. Paul, and his personal company, Triad Services, were sued in Ramsey County District Court by a real estate development company for which he had worked as an attorney, secretary and treasurer. In the lawsuit, CMB Minnetonka LLC alleged that Margulies “made numerous illicit withdrawals” from CMB’s bank account and line of credit at Highland Bank and used the money — $1.5 million or more — for his own purposes.

Specifically, the suit claims Margulies spent the money to overhaul the historic mansion at 516 Summit Ave. in St. Paul that he owned with his former wife.

So he allegedly did it all for love of a house. Was it worth it? Just how nice is this pile o’ bricks?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Partner Accused of Misappropriating Money to Overhaul Minnesota Mansion”

john michael farren.jpgIn January, a former Bush Administration lawyer was charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling and beating his wife, a counsel at Skadden Arps. John Michael Farren, 57, served as deputy counsel to the president under President George W. Bush, as general counsel at Xerox Corp., and as Under Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush.

But if the allegations against him are true, this impressive résumé — and the wealth that came with it (more on that later) — didn’t stop J. Michael Farren from brutally attacking his wife, Mary Margaret Farren, an energy lawyer at Skadden. Mary Farren filed a $30 million lawsuit against her husband shortly after the alleged attack.

Last week, the Washington Post published a detailed profile of Mike Farren. It painted a picture of a man with some serious rage issues.

Highlights from the profile — plus additional tidbits we’ve gathered, including photos of the Farrens’ multimillion-dollar home in Connecticut, records of Michael Farren’s sales of Xerox stock, and his salary as a White House staffer — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “All You Ever Wanted to Know About John Michael Farren, The Ex-Bush Lawyer Charged With Attempted Murder Of His Skadden Counsel Wife”

Mary Margaret Farren sues her husband.jpgEarlier this month, former Bush White House attorney John Michael Farren allegedly attacked his wife, after she told him she wanted a divorce. Farren pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, first-degree strangulation, and assault last week.
The alleged attack — with a flashlight — was a brutal one. Mary Margaret Farren, who is also a lawyer, was hospitalized with a broken jaw, fractures to the face, and lacerations to the back of her head. She’s counsel in the energy regulation and litigation practice group in Skadden’s D.C. office, but claims that she has not been able to work since the attack.
An experienced litigator, she’s decided to sue. The Danbury News Times reports that she filed a $30 million lawsuit in Connecticut last week.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “War of the Farrens: Skadden Counsel Files $30 Million Lawsuit Against Her Husband”

john michael farren.jpgA former Bush Administration lawyer has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly strangling and beating his wife, a counsel at Skadden Arps.
John Michael Farren, 57, served as deputy counsel to the president under Fred Fielding in the most recent Bush administration, as general counsel at Xerox, and as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade under President George H.W. Bush. Since leaving the White House, the UConn law grad returned to Connecticut.
Last night, he made the news there when he allegedly attempted to kill his wife. From the Greenwich Time:

John Michael Farren, 57, of New Canaan, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree strangulation after police received a panic alarm from his home shortly after 10 p.m.
Farren was arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday. He appeared in court with a large bandage on the right side of his neck and has been placed on suicide watch.

According to CBS News, his wife is Mary Margaret Farren, an energy regulation and litigation counsel in Skadden’s D.C. office.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former White House Lawyer John Michael Farren Charged With Attempted Murder of His Skadden Counsel Wife”

Wild Things lesbian kiss Neve Campbell.jpgLet’s close out the week with one more post about everyone’s favorite summer associate scandal: the girl-on-girl kiss that got two summer associates fired from the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist & Vennum.

Earlier today, we alluded to rumors of “additional lasciviousness” at Lindquist, and now it’s time to deliver. We wouldn’t want to be accused of being teases.

Now some of you may be getting lesbian kiss fatigue (although some of you may say, “no such thing!!!”). But having received this tip, we can’t sit on it, or we’d be accused of giving you only part of the story.

From a tipster (who provided additional identifying information to explain how he’s in a position to know this, which we’ve omitted to preserve his anonymity):

“[The Kiss] happened at a bar with a bunch of summer people after dinner at a partner’s house. [One of the summers] was probably just fired as a scapegoat, because that same night [another summer] made out with a married partner. I bet they didn’t fire that girl because they were afraid of employment discrimination suits.”

Well! All this scandalous talk — faux-lesbian kisses, orgiastic firm retreats — is making us blush.

We retract any and all prior remarks suggesting the folks at Lindquist are prudes and squares. To the contrary, it sounds like the place is so buck wild that lesbian lip-action is on the mild side of the spectrum. We are — involuntarily, mind you — imagining Nancy Vollertsen dancing on a table.

Okay, this scandal may have run its course; all good things come to an end. But we remain open to corrections, in case we’ve gotten anything wrong. Feel free to send any info our way, by email (subject line: “Lindquist and Vennum Summer Associate Scandal”). Thanks.

Earlier: Prior coverage of The Kiss (scroll down)

When we recently lamented the lack of summer associate scandals, in the New York Observer, did we speak too soon? Although we may be in the home stretch, law firm summer associate programs are not yet over — and neither, thankfully, are the salacious tales they generate.

Here’s a story we’ve known about for a while — it happened late last week — which has already surfaced elsewhere on the web. We’ve delayed on reporting about it because we wanted to get more confirmation and give the parties involved a chance to comment.

We reached out to numerous representatives of the firm — managing partner Daryle Uphoff, chief marketing officer Greg Wolsky, recruiting director Lisanne Weisz, diversity coordinator Nancy Vollertsen — by phone and by email, yesterday and today. We also contacted the two summers involved, via Facebook message. Nobody has gotten back to us, despite ample time to do so. We’ll have to push ahead without them.

Since we’ve heard the story from multiple sources, all offering generally consistent accounts, we are fairly confident in its accuracy. But if you have any corrections or additions to offer, please email us (subject line: “Lindquist and Vennum Summer Associate Scandal”).

Here are some of the versions we heard (many tipsters sent it in):

1. Word through the grapevine is that two female summer associates at Minneapolis firm Lindquist & Vennum were fired recently for getting drunk at a firm event and making out with each other.

2. I’m an associate at a large Minneapolis firm, and word is that two female summer associates at Lindquist & Vennum, another of the large firms in town, got drunk at a summer associate event and were making out with each other. They were fired on Friday.

3. [Two summers at] Lindquist & Vennum were fired over the weekend. Drinking was involved; however, the firm supplied it to them during a boat cruise in 90+ degree weather. Can you get this posted? I want more information.

4. I am a summer associate at a Minneapolis law firm. I can tell that you that two female Lindquist and Vennum summer associates were recently fired (within the last week). I could not tell you for sure why they were fired, but the rumor is that they were drunk at some sort of firm social event (one that had partners present), and started to make out with each other.

And they got fired for this? We’re surprised the old-white-male partners didn’t cheer them on.

Update / Correction: According to reports received after this post was published, whether the SAs were “making out” or merely kissing on the lips is unclear. Furthermore, the event in question was not the boat cruise, but a post-dinner gathering at a bar. For an update post containing additional information and corrections, see here.

One tipster pointed us to some corroborating evidence:

Lindquist has removed all photos/references of the two from its summer associate section on its website.

This is true. We verified it ourselves, by comparing the current summer associate page, which lists eight summers, to an older version, which lists ten summers. (But please do not post in the comments any links to archived or cached versions of the page.)

You can read more, if you want to — if you don’t, then don’t — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Associates of the Day: Sapphic Summers in Lesbianic Lip-Lock?”