Paul W. Bergrin

Paul Bergrin (via Getty Images)

I have to give Paul Bergrin some credit. This former federal prosecutor, accused of drug dealing, pimping, and murder, has been remarkably successful at eluding conviction for his crimes.

Bergrin was first arrested back in 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey, where Bergrin once worked before becoming a defense lawyer, brought him to trial. That trial, which took place in 2011, ended with a hung jury. Some time was taken up with appellate machinations (in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office prevailed).

A new trial, before a different district judge, got underway this January. And today justice finally caught up with the man that New York magazine famously dubbed “the baddest lawyer in the history of Jersey”….

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* After 22 years of dedicated service, William K. Suter, the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, will be retiring come August. Now don’t get too excited about that, it’s not really a job you can apply for; you have to be appointed, so keep dreaming. [Blog of Legal Times]

* A Biglaw hat trick of labor deals: if you’re looking for someone to thank for bringing a tentative ending to the management-imposed NHL lock-out, you can definitely reach out to this group of lawyers from Skadden Arps and Proskauer Rose. [Am Law Daily]

* “Thanks for helping us out, but you can go f**k yourself.” AIG, a company that was bailed out by the government, is now considering suing the government with its shareholders. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Apparently there’s such a thing as the “Nick Saban Corporate Compliance Process.” And as we saw from last night’s game, that process involves efficiency, execution, and raping the competition. [Corporate Counsel]

* Guess who’s back in court representing himself in a racketeering trial? None other than Paul Bergrin, “the baddest lawyer in the history of Jersey.” Jury duty for that could be a fun one. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Too bad last night’s football game between Alabama and Notre Dame wasn’t played by their law schools. In that case, the final score on factors like tuition, enrollment, and employment would’ve been a tie. [HusebyBuzz]

* This just in: when studying for the LSAT, you should focus on scoring the best you can. This is actual advice that the future law students of America need to hear. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

Noooo, anything but that!

* The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments today over the state’s voter ID law. But at this point, who cares? Come on, Election 2012 is probably going to be decided by a court anyway. [Bloomberg]

* Sedgwick’s New York office is relocating to Two World Financial Center. This won’t be just any office; no, it’ll be an “office of the future.” They don’t need roads where they’ll be reviewing documents. [Real Estate Weekly]

* Paul Bergrin, the Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey, will be tried on all 26 counts in his racketeering case in one fell swoop. Not to worry, because this badass thinks he’s going to be acquitted. [The Record]

* This year’s summer associates didn’t want to be wined and dined. They wanted to be put to work, because “[m]andatory social events can be physically and mentally taxing.” Aww, boohoo, social skills sure are tough. /sadface [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another law school lawsuit tossed out: Team Strauss/Anziska’s case against DePaul Law was dismissed because it’s pretty hard to blame a law school for the effects of a bad economy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Anna Gristina, the alleged Millionaire Madam, vowed that she’d never spill the beans on a mystery man from her little black book. Could it be the “prominent Manhattan lawyer” mentioned earlier? [New York Daily News]


Judge Martini could probably use a drink right now.

Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit delivered two stinging benchslaps of Judge William J. Martini (D.N.J.). The benchslaps were delivered in two different cases by two separate three-judge panels, but both opinions vacated rulings by Judge Martini and also directed that the cases be reassigned to new judges on remand.

Ouch. As noted by the Newark Star-Ledger, “[i]t amounted to an extremely rare and harsh rebuke of a well-known federal judge who once served in Congress.” (Before he was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2002, Bill Martini served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives; he ran for re-election but was defeated.)

What did Judge Martini allegedly do to incur the wrath of the Third Circuit? And what did the opinions have to say about His Honor?

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Natalee Holloway

* What’s funnier here? The fact that Stephen Colbert is running for “president of the United States of South Carolina,” or the fact that he’s already beating Jon Huntsman in the polls? [Washington Post]

* Notorious New Jersey defense attorney Paul Bergrin’s second racketeering trial has been postponed and may be delayed indefinitely, but he’s such a pimp that he doesn’t even care. [The Record]

* According to a new study, 80 percent of law students surveyed said they would attend law school again if they could start over. Hey, any way to escape a dead-end job market. [National Law Journal]

* Unfortunately, not everyone impaneled for jury duty gets to have the Pauly Shore experience. Some people just get fired — even law firm receptionists. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The day after Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to another girl’s murder, a judge declared Natalee Holloway was legally dead. Sometimes coincidence has great timing. [New York Daily News]

* Can you put a “White Only” sign outside of your apartment complex’s public pool? Nope, still illegal. That’s an antique that you might want to consider leaving up in the attic. [ABC News]

* Got fired because you love prostitutes and strippers? Don’t sue over your “hurt feelings,” because apparently all of the bros in the oil and gas industry love them, too. [The Snitch / SF Weekly]

Paul Bergrin

I’ll always be grateful to Paul Bergrin, the New Jersey federal prosecutor turned notorious criminal defense attorney. Thanks to him, I’ll never have to worry about being the most scandalous alumnus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

While working as an assistant U.S. attorney, I wrote a mildly snarky blog about federal judges, pretending to be a woman, until I outed myself in the pages of the New Yorker. That pales in comparison to what Bergrin stands accused of doing, including (but not limited to) the following: operating a real-estate scam, which defrauded lenders of over $1 million; running a high-volume drug dealership, which was apparently big enough to move 120 pounds of uncut cocaine; running an illegal escort service; and, most seriously of all, having witnesses murdered to keep them from testifying against his clients.

It’s hard to believe that Paul Bergrin was once a federal prosecutor. It’s not hard to believe that he is, in the words of New York magazine, “The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey.”

But let’s recall that the charges against Bergrin are just that — charges, which Bergrin disputes. Last week, represented by prominent defense lawyer Lawrence Lustberg, Bergrin appeared in federal court in Newark and pleaded not guilty to all 33 counts in the 139-page indictment. Bergrin’s trial is currently set for October 11 before Judge William J. Martini.

In light of the astounding charges leveled against him, Paul Bergrin has taken on a larger-than-life aura — the man, the myth, the legend. What is he really like?

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Paul Bergrin

* New York magazine is on a roll: first the buzz-generating Paper Tigers piece, then the big Anna Nicole Smith story, and now this great profile of Paul Bergrin, “The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey.” [New York Magazine]

* When Elie read Megan McArdle’s response to his debt story, he screamed, “I said I PAID my federal loans!” I told him the screen couldn’t hear him but he kept right on screaming. [The Atlantic]

* A few highlights from the Sarah Palin email dump. [Wonkette]

* A lap dance might get a rise out of a recipient, but it doesn’t rise to the level of art, according to a New York state appellate court. [Albany Times-Union]

* The new home of Paul Clement — Bancroft PLLC, founded by Viet Dinh — has become D.C.’s “it” firm with respect to conservative causes. Where does it get its name? [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

* Speaking of the former Solicitor General, here’s his substantive defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (via Chris Geidner). Check it out — there’s a link to his brief — and see what you think. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Speaking of gay marriage, here’s an interesting legal issue, involving foster care and adoption, same-sex couples, and religious freedom. [Peoria Journal Star]

* An update on Aaron Biber, prominent law firm partner turned convicted pedophile. [Minnesota Lawyer]

Lean on Me.JPG* “They used to call me Crazy Joe, now they can call me the Batman.” [Bad Lawyer]

* Is it really so hard to imagine that young, talented, hard-working individuals would rather start their careers instead of sitting around for a year while being fed $80,000 to stunt their professional growth? [The Economist]

* E-marriage sounds like a terrible idea, for alcoholics. [Ideoblog]

* Wild and crazy CPAs. [What About Clients?]

* Notorious lawyers of 2009. [Business Insider]

* Humor is everywhere around you. [Lowering the Bar]

* Former Biglaw lawyer has problem washing baby’s penis. Sounds about right. [Babies in the Wild]

Paul Bergrin Paul W Bergrin.jpgThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has some interesting and illustrious alumni.

Some are now distinguished federal judges, like Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (3d Cir.). Some are high-ranking officials in state government, like Stuart Rabner, the Attorney General of New Jersey. One works as a legal gossip blogger.

And one former assistant U.S. attorney, if prosecutorial allegations are true, went on to become a pimp. Meet ATL’s Lawyer of the Day: Paul Bergrin.
From the New York Law Journal:

A criminal defense lawyer who worked as a federal and state prosecutor in New Jersey has been indicted for running a Manhattan-based escort service, Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced Wednesday.

The lawyer, Paul Bergrin, who has defended soldiers charged with committing abuses while in Iraq, was arraigned Wednesday on a fugitive warrant in Newark, N.J., and bail was set at $500,000.

No plea to the charges was entered, but Bergrin, 51, declined to waive extradition at the proceeding.

Bergrin is a well-known figure within Garden State legal circles. The Newark Star-Ledger accurately describes him as “a brash, high-powered defense attorney who courted controversy.” His clients ranged from defendants in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal to rap star turned actress Queen Latifah.

We never had any personal dealings with Paul Bergrin when we were in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Many of our fellow AUSAs did, however, and he didn’t have the best reputation. Bergrin wasn’t viewed as the most trustworthy or upstanding of adversaries. He was the kind of defense lawyer who, if you had a meeting or telephone call with him, you’d want someone else in the meeting or on the call (in case there was ever any dispute over what transpired).

But we had no idea about Bergrin’s little sideline in the procurement business. For the details of this salacious story, keep on reading.

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