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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wonder why Big Law is dying? Wonder no more

Apparently, DLA Piper -- a worldwide legal giant -- got hired to prepare a bankruptcy filing for a company owned by Adam H. Victor, the head of  TransGas Development Systems. Victor seems to be a guy who owns a lot of companies, and he hired DLA Piper, and they jacked up his bill, and he said "fuck you" and wouldn't pay all of  it. DLA Piper sued him. he said "fuck you" again and sued back. And discovery has given rise to documents that show he had a point the first time.
Mr. Victor’s feud with DLA Piper began after he retained the firm in April 2010 to prepare a bankruptcy filing for one of his companies. A month after the filing, a lawyer at the firm warned colleagues that the businessman’s bill was mounting.
“I hear we are already 200k over our estimate — that’s Team DLA Piper!” wrote Erich P. Eisenegger, a lawyer at the firm.
Another DLA Piper lawyer, Christopher Thomson, replied, noting that a third colleague, Vincent J. Roldan, had been enlisted to work on the matter.
“Now Vince has random people working full time on random research projects in standard ‘churn that bill, baby!’ mode,” Mr. Thomson wrote. “That bill shall know no limits.”
A DLA Piper spokesman said the firm did not comment on pending litigation.
Legal ethics scholars said that it was highly unusual to find documentary evidence of possible churning — the creation of unnecessary work to drive up a client’s bill.
Actually, this kind of shit, while long talked about and not all that rare (it is rare to get emails produced in discovery proving it, of course) is not why Big Law is dying. There are a lot of reasons, most of them systemic, that we can talk about later, but this doesn't help, does it?

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