Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cost of Changing Lawyers and Lawyers Changing (Malpractice, Billing, Conflicts and Other Allegations)

Some interesting allegations and updates making news. First: "Telstra has tripped over a legal conflict of interest issue as it fights a patent infringement claim" --
  • "Telstra has been sideswiped by conflict of interest issues after suddenly changing lawyers while defending claims that its mobile eCommerce platform has been infringing an inventor’s patents for many years."
  • "King & Wood Mallesons had been representing Telstra in the Federal Court, but last month the telco filed notice that it had changed to another top-of-town firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, with Sue Gilchrist as the representing lawyer."
  • "The Telstra account, a plump piece of business for any law firm, is potentially worth millions each year. However, Telstra’s new firm, Freehills, is known to have acted for Upaid as recently as last month when it filed a patent application in Australia. Upaid has now made an application to the Federal Court seeking to restrain Freehills from acting against the interests of Upaid. A hearing is set down for later this month."
And, as reported by Law360 (subscription or free trial) come allegations tied to a lateral departure of a lawyer (and more): "Mayer Brown 'Abandoned' Client In Trade Secrets Row: Suit" --
  • "In a legal malpractice complaint filed in Illinois court, Think Tank Software Development Corp. alleges that Mayer Brown unexpectedly withdrew as its counsel in March 2013 after the firm’s lead lawyer on the case, Thomas Durkin, accepted a federal judgeship."
  • "Adding insult to injury, according to the suit, Mayer Brown hit Think Tank with more than $1.1 million in legal fees after leaving the case. Many of the charges for the firm’s four-plus years of work “were excessive, duplicative and/or otherwise unnecessary and unreasonable,” Think Tank said."
  • "The firm’s alleged unreasonable billing practices also included 'vague and unintelligible time entries,' unauthorized rate increases and block-billed time entries, Think Tank said. The firm’s 'billing abuses,' various legal missteps and early departure from the case amount to negligence and also to breaches of the retainer agreement Think Tank had signed with the firm, according to the suit."

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