New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Attorney Ethics


December 8th, 2008

WSJ Law Blog Showing Bias Against Plaintiffs Firms in Dreier Case? (Updated)

New York litigator Marc Dreier was arrested by Canadian authorities for impersonation in an apparent scam to procure $50M. It also seems that tens of millions may be missing from the firm’s escrow account. I didn’t know anything about the 250-person Dreier firm, but the WSJ Law Blog referred to it’s firm founder and sole equity partner as “a prominent New York plaintiffs’ lawyer.” [Update: The reference to this being a plaintiff’s firm has now been removed from the story.]

Hmmm, a plaintiffs’ firm with 250 lawyers that I didn’t know anything about? I checked their website and found this, showing it to be one of the BigLaw firms:

Dreier LLP has grown to a firm of more than 250 attorneys, with its principal office at 499 Park Avenue in Manhattan, and additional offices in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California; Albany, New York; Stamford, Connecticut; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The firm’s principal practice areas are commercial litigation, real estate, bankruptcy and corporate reorganization, employment law, corporate and securities, entertainment, sports law, intellectual property, including patent, trademark and copyright law, matrimonial law and tax.

The firm also has two affiliates within our offices which have specialized practices and are of counsel to the firm. Pitta & Dreier LLP specializes in labor law; and Pitta, Bishop, Del Giorno & Dreier LLP specializes in government relations. The firm is also affiliated with Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George LLP which has its primary offices in Santa Monica, California and specializes in entertainment litigation and corporate transactions, as well as Dreier Sports Opportunities Group LLC, which is a sports marketing and consulting firm.

So why did the WSJ Law Blog decide to call it a “plaintiff’s” firm? There are plenty of crooked lawyer stories to go around — that will happen in a nation of a million lawyers — and I suspect the number of lawyers gone bad is probably equally weighted on both sides of the litigation aisle.

Was this just a cheap shot at plaintiff’s firms in general, which as a general practice are not favored by the business-oriented WSJ? Why magically turn a BigLaw firm into a “plaintiff’s” firm? Or is the firm description too vague to be depended upon?

P.S. — The whole story sound similar to my ear to the case of legendary car maker John DeLorean trafficking in cocaine to prop up his struggling car company. Short story theme: Big shot player gets in deep money trouble and panics to try to rescue the business by doing something monumentally stupid.

See also regarding the scandal:

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