Most of us know it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. Incidentally, sometimes it’s also about who your enemies are.
When a big man takes a fall, sometimes folks come out of the woodwork to quicken his race to bottom — especially if they are accidentally invited.
Example A: convicted felon and disbarred attorney Steven Lippman. The former Scott Rothstein partner asked for support letters from friends and colleagues during sentencing, but one lawyer deigned to provide an ice-cold glass of brutal honesty instead. And judging from the sentence Lippman received this afternoon, he’ll have plenty of time for self-reflection.
Keep your friends close, and the people who write your letters of recommendation even closer….
As we mentioned yesterday in Morning Docket, Judge Marcia Gail Cooke (S.D. Fla.) recently issued an omnibus order on multiple motions for sanctions in the high-profile case of Coquina Investments v. TD Bank. The plaintiff, Coquina Investments, moved for sanctions related to various alleged discovery violations.
At a contempt hearing held back in May, Judge Cooke heard testimony from employees of TD Bank and current and former lawyers from Greenberg Traurig, which previously represented the bank. She took the matter under advisement — but not before saying things like, “It is hard for me to describe in words the difficulty throughout this trial related to documents and discovery.”
Whenever there’s a big story, GT is there. In the past month, it has appeared in these pages as the possible savior of Dewey, the actual savior of Dewey’s Poland operations, and the victim of some alleged rudeness by a divorce lawyer in Texas.
And, of course, Greenberg Traurig has found itself at the center of the TD Bank controversy. Late last week, Judge Marcia Cooke held a contempt hearing, to decide whether Greenberg should be sanctioned due to a discovery debacle.
The hearing spanned two days and featured some high-powered witnesses. What happened?
* “I want to apologize. Obviously, mistakes were made.” Admitting you’ve got a problem is just the first step. Greenberg Traurig’s executive director apologized for the Biglaw firm’s apparentscrew-ups in a Rothstein-related trial. [Miami Herald]
* Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng will be enrolling at NYU Law School on a fellowship. The administration is giving him a ritzy faculty apartment that comes complete with a kitchen full of Chinese food. He already knows how to eat like a law student. [New York Times]
* “What [the f**k] comes next?” That’s what law school grads asked themselves when their commencement speakers tried to slap on a happy face and speak positively about the job market. [Connecticut Law Tribune]
* But perhaps future law school grads will be able to find jobs more easily thanks to class offerings geared toward in-house counsel lawyering skills. Keep on dreaming that impossible dream. [Washington Post]
* How does a small-time DUI attorney from California go from being an unknown to being a household name overnight? By filing a lawsuit filled with tawdry allegations against actor John Travolta. [Los Angeles Times]
Judging from our traffic stats and the many emails we’ve received about it, the story of the document controversy involving Greenberg Traurig and its former client, TD Bank, has captured the interest of our Floridian readers. So we’ll do one more story about it for now (and then we may keep our powder dry until after the contempt hearing later this month before Judge Marcia Cooke, when there will be bigger news to report).
In our first story, we discussed the allegations made against Greenberg Traurig and one of its former shareholders, Donna Evans. In our second story, we raised some points in defense of ex-partner Evans and her former firm. We believe in providing both sides of a story here at ATL.
Now we’ll share with you a final rebuttal by critics of GT and Evans….
Last week we covered a controversy down in south Florida involving Greenberg Traurig. The firm was replaced as counsel in a particular case by its client, TD Bank, after a partner at the firm denied the existence of a document that, it turned out, actually does exist. The partner who allegedly made the statement is no longer with the firm, and next month, Judge Marcia Cooke (S.D. Fla.) will hold a hearing to determine whether the bank should be held in contempt of court as a result of this apparent screw-up.
This does not sound good, to be sure. But subsequent developments, as well as a closer examination of the situation, suggest that GT’s culpability may be overstated….
Federal judges don’t take kindly to misstatements by counsel appearing before them. And when the judge is unhappy, the client is unhappy. And when the client is unhappy, outside counsel gets cashiered. It’s not a pretty process.
Let’s travel down to south Florida, where an allegedly incorrect statement by a partner at Greenberg Traurig has incurred the wrath of a federal judge — apparently resulting in the client replacing the firm, and the firm parting ways with the partner.
* DOMA dude Paul Clement filed his first brief as lead counsel for 26 states seeking to nullify Obamacare. In a land of socialist, freeloading, hippie queers, one man stands alone. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
* Actually, that’s not true — The Cooch has Clement’s back (twhs), Tweeting all the misspelled and hilarious punchlines that are fit to print. [The Virginian-Pilot]
* Eric Holder defended the legality of the Osama killing on Capitol Hill yesterday. In prepared remarks, he said, “If history has taught us anything, it’s that you can kill anyone.” [CNN]
* I don’t want to intrude on Lat’s beat here, but Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s pad sounds pretty nice. Bet it even has a foyer, whatever the hell that is. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Irving Picard has asked a judge to allow him to start making disbursements to Madoff’s victims. Victims stand to receive a coupon book valued at over 200 dollars, a free subscription to Cat Fancy, and a lifetime’s supply of Spanx for Men. [Reuters]
* Chris Simms, guilty of poor quarterbackery, was found not guilty of smoking drugs and driving. [New York Post]
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