Plaintiffs’ lawyers

Gerald Ung (left) and Edward DiDonato Jr. (right)

This shouldn’t come as a shock; we predicted it last February, when the criminal case ended in acquittal. But Eddie DiDonato Jr., a former lacrosse star at Villanova and the son of a prominent partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, has filed a civil lawsuit against Gerald Ung, the Temple Law School student who shot DiDonato in January 2010 in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Gerald Ung isn’t the only defendant. DiDonato is suing a half dozen other parties, relying on various theories of liability. Let’s think of this as a Torts final exam: Who else might DiDonato be suing besides Ung? What causes of action can you see?

Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit, filed on behalf of DiDonato by one of Pennsylvania’s leading personal injury lawyers….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “DiDonato v. Ung: The Temple Law Shooter Gets Hit — With a Civil Suit”

Cops learn to hate people. Basically everyone they encounter is a criminal, so cops soon come to believe that everyone is a criminal.

Litigators — or perhaps litigators who are repeat players in a particular field — learn to hate people. Personal injury insurance defense counsel come to believe that all plaintiffs are lying fakers. Personal injury plaintiffs’ lawyers come to believe that all insurance defense counsel are tightfisted jerks who never pay a claim.

Maybe this is natural. If you spend eight hours every day repeatedly doing the same thing over the course of many years, you become what you do. It’s hard to break out of your role.

But this can cause trouble for in-house litigators. If you become what you do, consider who in-house litigators learn to hate . . .

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Last week in Non-Sequiturs, we pointed you to a photo essay of some of the sketchiest lawyer billboards out there. From dogs, to eye patches, to crazy nicknames, these billboards are the epitome of what makes local lawyer advertising so painfully bad.

It’s tough to say which is worse — these misguided attempts at originality, or the overly earnest types who make lofty promises to fight for you and protect your rights. The serious advertisements are equally subject to mockery.

One Florida solo practitioner may have discovered the perfect approach. No over-the-top gimmicks, no vows to fight injustice. Just the simple, honest truth….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: Best Lawyer Billboard Ever”

Last week, more than a dozen high-profile mass torts attorneys lost a San Francisco jury trial against a small technology company. The jury decided the attorneys had illegally breached a document review contract during the high-profile Chinese drywall class-action litigation.

On September 19, the 14 defendants in Cataphora Inc. v Parker were ordered to pay $317,113 to the technology company in lost profits, plus attorneys’ fees.

“These guys are the worst of hypocrites that you can possibly find,” said Roger Chadderdon, technology counsel at Cataphora. “They claim to be trying to help the little guy, but what they’re doing is trying to put more money in their own pockets. Everybody knows that, but this is a case that illustrates it beyond what I have ever seen.”

Clearly, tempers are still running hot. We’ve got more from both sides of the dispute, and a quick refresher on Chinese drywall, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prominent Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Ordered to Pay Up After Losing Breach of Contract Trial”

I recently met Ray Zolekhian at a wedding. He went to Harvard Law School, worked as an associate at Skadden in Los Angeles, and started his own law firm with a friend, Robin Hanasab.

As soon as I heard Zolekhian’s background, I immediately guessed that he started a personal injury firm. Isn’t that the most natural progression?

Apparently so. Founded in July 2009, Hanasab & Zolekhian, LLP began as a firm specializing in restructuring commercial real estate loans. The firm then transitioned to personal injury litigation, because the founding partners found the work interesting and lucrative. But Zolekhian had no background in personal injury; according to Zolekhian, the pair was “thrown into the fire.” They were not devoid of help, however, and benefited enormously from the resources and mentoring given by other attorneys in the close-knit plaintiffs’ bar.

What does Zolekhian like most about his practice?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Does Skadden Do Personal Injury?”

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Johnson, asked all of her students to write an essay on who we admired most. My best friend Marni wrote about President George Bush, Sr. She loved America. I wrote about my dad. I loved my family. A classmate named Jay wrote about Ted Turner. He loved money.

Apparently, Jay is not the only person to love money. In fact, I am told that some lawyers chose the profession because they too love money.

Those lawyers work at Am Law 100 firms, right? Not all of them. Not the country’s richest practicing attorney….

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* Who are the top plaintiffs firms in securities class-action litigation, ranked by 2010 total settlement value? [RiskMetrics / SCAS via WSJ Law Blog]

* Protip: if you go to a meeting at Deutsche Bank’s New York offices, avoid the men’s room. [Dealbreaker]

* This lawyer has an assistant with an unusual name. [Abuse of Discretion]

* We were impressed by the University of Chicago Law School’s new loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) — and we’re not alone. [The Belly of the Beast]

* Dov Charney’s latest accuser, Kimbra Lo, has an interesting past. Yes, there are pics. [Fashionista]

* You know the whole “anti-bullying” trend has gone too far when plaintiffs’ firms are setting up practice areas for it. [Constitutional Daily]

* Career alternatives for attorneys: meet Akila McConnell, traveler and writer. [Thrillable Hours / Legal Nomads]

* Is the “mommy track” a form of gender bias? [Lawyerist]

* Are prosecutors working on commission in one Colorado district? [ABA Journal]

Potential clients keep contacting me, almost daily. I’m going to have to take my number off our Web site.

– Maryland lawyer Daniel Whitney of Whitney & Bogris, aka “the bedbug attorney,” in an interview with the Washington Post.

The comely Cate has her father's smile.

No, she didn’t cheat on a cancer-stricken spouse through an affair with a trashy “videographer”; Cate Edwards, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Edwards, isn’t married. Rather, the 28-year-old Harvard Law graduate has become a plaintiffs’ lawyer, like her father before her.

As reported today in the Washington Post’s Reliable Source column, Edwards recently became an associate with Sanford Wittels & Heisler, a boutique class-action litigation firm with offices in New York, D.C., and San Francisco. Her bio on the firm website, which lists her as Catharine E. Edwards, mentions that she’s a member of the Virginia bar, with an application to the D.C. bar pending.

It also reveals that she previously served as a law clerk to a federal judge. For whom did Cate Edwards clerk?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Cate Edwards Follows in Her Father’s Footsteps”

Milberg Weiss, the plaintiffs’ class-action mill currently under federal indictment, continues its swift disintegration. Here’s the latest news:

Indicted law firm Milberg Weiss has lost another partner. Christopher Jones announced Friday he’s leaving the firm’s Boca Raton office to join Saxena White.

Right now you’re scratching your head: “Saxena White, Saxena White… Didn’t I see one of her films when I took that due diligence trip to South Dakota, and stayed in the motel with the vibrating bed?”

But no, Saxena White isn’t a porn star — it’s a law firm:

[The] firm was founded last month by former Milberg partner Maya Saxena and associate Joseph White, who left a few weeks after the firm’s May 18 indictment.

Perhaps they split off from Milberg and started their own shop to avoid criminal liability. Or maybe they wanted a shot at winning Above the Law’s first annual contest for “Law Firm That Sounds Most Like a Porn Name.”

Milberg Weiss Watch: From Four Offices to Two [WSJ Law Blog]

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