Risk Update

Conflicts PR — When Conflicts Allegations are Promoted via Press Release

While I don’t have hard data, I’m finding myself coming across more instances of aggrieved parties issuing formal press releases specifically focusing on lawyer/law firm conflicts allegations.

Like many have said about disqualification motions in general, the use of such communication tactics may be strategic. Clearly, exposure via reprint on Yahoo News (see below) and similar sites, and associated search engine implications are a bit different from coverage of these matters by the legal press.

And excerpting these here gives me pause as they understandably lack the “we asked the other side for a response [and they either did or did not response]” portion.

Still, this may be a trend that grows as we watch. And, regardless, it’s an interesting data point. Here’s a recent example that caught my eye: “Ebony Magazine Files Grievance With State Bar of Texas Against Attorney David Abner for Conflict and Ethics Violation” —

  • “ATLANTA, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Immediately after Ebony ownership filed a complaint with the SEC against Jacob Walthour and Blueprint Capital LLC (“BPC”) alleging insider trading; they filed another SEC complaint against John Robinson and Consequent Capital (“CC”) CRD # 285262 for violating the very same privacy policy and fiduciary responsibilities they list on CC’s website by providing Parkview Capital Credit’s (“PCC”) confidential information to media outlets for financial gain. Today Ebony Magazine filed a third SEC complaint and legal Grievance with the Texas Bar against David Abner.”
  • “Ebony accused Abner, a licensed attorney, of conspiring with Walthour and Robinson to force Ebony into Bankruptcy invalidly. David Abner and Associates is on record as PCC’s General Counsel but also a creditor for Ebony. ‘This is an absolute conflict between a lender and their lawyer to conspire to do an illegal takeover,’ says Ebony spokesperson Michael Wilcox.”
  • “David Abner has an Ethical responsibility not to create legal conflicts, especially when it can be detrimental. Also, by joining as a creditor when the lender hired him is borderline illegal. Lawyers should be a cut above. Consequent allowed their manager, Jacob Walthour, to provide confidential information to the media, and Parkview had their Lawyer lose his Ethics, says Ebony spokesman.”