Risk Update

Law Firm New Business Intake — Conflicts Checks and Client Selection Creating Conflicts

Boies Schiller Partner Joshua Schiller Continued Working Through Leave of Absence After Arrest: Sources” —

  • “Boies Schiller Flexner partner Joshua Schiller, son of firm co-founder Jonathan Schiller, has continued working with clients despite a leave of absence the firm said he took after he was arrested following an alleged domestic violence incident at his California home in January, according to three sources with knowledge of the firm. The firm ‘rejects the claims’ that he has not honored his leave of absence.”
  • “Two sources say Joshua Schiller has continued to send around conflict checks even after his suspension, with one source adding that he sent around a conflict check Jan. 23—roughly a week after the leave of absence began.”
  • “The two sources also said Joshua Schiller has continued to talk to clients during his suspension, and a third source said that Joshua Schiller asked an associate to work on his behalf shortly after he announced his leave.””
  • The firm published a statement, including:
    • “‘To be clear, a professional leave of absence for any of our employees is a mandate to decidedly step away from any active servicing of the firm’s work. However, our first and highest responsibility remains to our clients and the important matters that we handle for them. The requisite of minimal hand-off and delegation of that work to ensure that the firm’s clients are properly represented, which is a more difficult task in an ongoing pandemic, is not in our view a violation of the spirit and the substance of a leave of absence. While the review of the matter is ongoing, based on the information we presently have, the firm rejects the claims that Josh is not acting in compliance with his leave and that he continues to work.'”

And hat tip to Simon Chester for dropping me a note about: “Australia’s largest law firm in uproar after taking Christian Porter as client” —

  • “The chief executive of the law firm representing Christian Porter is under fire after reportedly sending an all-staff email critical of the lawyer who took the case.”
  • “On Friday the Australian Financial Review reported that Annette Kimmitt, the chief executive of Australia’s largest law firm, MinterEllison, had sent an email to the firm’s more than 2,500 staff saying she was sorry for any ‘pain’ caused by the decision to take the attorney general as a client.”
  • “Porter sought legal advice from a senior MinterEllison partner Peter Bartlett, one of Australia’s best-known defamation law experts, before revealing he had been accused of an alleged rape dating back 33 years. He has strenuously denied the claims.”
  • “The email from Kimmitt reportedly said Bartlett had not gone through the firm’s approval process before accepting the brief, and that she had only become aware of it through the media.”
  • “The email has reportedly caused uproar within the firm’s senior ranks. The Australian reported the board had met on Wednesday to discuss the email, and partners had held a Zoom meeting with the chairman, David O’Brien, on Thursday. According to the Australian, O’Brien informed them the board would investigate the appropriateness of Kimmitt’s email.”