Corporate counsel demand alternative fee arrangements from their outside law firms

  • United States
  • 11/09/2017
  • Bloomberg Law

By Rick Mitchell

• Famed trial lawyer David Boies has been fired by The New York Times over a perceived conflict of interest after revelations that his firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, was advising the Times even as Boies helped fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein contract private investigators in an effort to dissuade the Times from publishing explosive sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy issued a statement saying the newspaper never contemplated that Boies’s firm would contract private investigators to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at its reporters. “Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm,” she said. “Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.” (Bloomberg via BLB)

• In a memo to his firm’s employees, Boies sought to clarify his role in advising Weinstein, saying it was a “mistake” to contract private investigators that he did not select or direct. He also distanced himself from his former client, saying: “Mr. Weinstein was a client of mine; he is no longer a client of mine or the Firm,” wrote Boies. (BLB)

• Ropes & Gray got booted from a false advertising dispute in California for ignoring its client’s ultimatum, with the federal judge in the case citing the firm for breaching its duty of loyalty to the client by representing its adversary in another case. In its explanation, Ropes & Gray pointed to the spin-out in June of its patent prosecution practice to a stand-alone firm. (The Recorder)

• Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has scored work advising Qualcomm Inc., a longtime Cravath client, on a $103 billion offer from rival Broadcom Corp. The new work on what would be one of the biggest M&A deals ever is the latest return for Paul Weiss from its big lateral hire last year of Scott Barshay away from Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Barshay, now global head of M&A at Paul Weiss in New York, is taking the lead for Qualcomm. (Law.com)

• Broadcom is using a tactic popularized by corporate raiders in the 1980s to convince Qualcomm and its shareholders that it has the means to complete the deal. (Bloomberg) The proposed deal is the latest sign that Wall Street likes what it is seeing from the Trump administration. (CNBC)

• As more corporate counsel demand alternative fee arrangements from their outside law firms, Boston-based Suffolk Law School has launched a certificate program in legal innovation and technology to prepare legal industry pros for an era when the billable hour no longer rules. (BLB)

• TechLaw Group Inc., a coalition of 25 technology-focused law firms, has elected Fenwick & West partner Jennifer Lloyd Kelly to its executive board, the first woman leader in its 30-year history. Kelly, the San Francisco-based chair of Fenwick’s gaming and digital media practice, will serve as the organization’s treasurer this year and become its first female president in 2021. (Law.com)

https://biglawbusiness.com/wake-up-call-nyt-fires-david-boies-over-weinstein-spy-scandal/