Monday, July 13, 2015

Conflicts News: Skadden Partner Skedaddles, Some Seeing Serious Signs

We covered the underlying matter back in 2012 (see: More (Alleged) Insider Trading (Potentially) Linked to a Law Firm) and now note a substantive update: "Skadden Partner Retires Amid Questions about Conflicts" --
  • "In late May, Eric Waxman retired as a partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Los Angeles — shortly after making what he described as 'deeply' regrettable corrections to earlier statements he had made in an insider trading case."
  • "Now, prosecutors are alleging Waxman made 'serial' misstatements in order to collect millions of dollars in legal fees and conceal evidence: For years, Waxman refused to give prosecutors potential evidence related to an interview he claimed was conducted at Mazzo’s behest and therefore protected by the work product rule. But earlier this year, Waxman reversed himself, and admitted the interview was also conducted at the behest of his other client AMO and not protected."
  • "Prosecutors say Skadden should be disqualified from representing Mazzo — who is awaiting criminal trial — as a result of what they describe as conflicts arising from Waxman’s dual representation and misconduct. While Waxman’s former partners insist that his mistakes were unintentional, they’re also distancing themselves from him and his conduct as they dispute prosecutors’ arguments. The imbroglio illustrates one problem that can arise when a law firm represents a corporation and an executive in the same matter."
The complete article is worth reviewing for more detail and background. Above the Law also offers its unique brand of commentary: "The Biglaw behemoth may have stepped into an ethical morass when a veteran partner withheld evidence from prosecutors for years, erroneously claiming it constituted work product... Oops. And the crux of Skadden’s defense is that they just kind of forgot who requested these interviews and if they were ever shared with AMO. And, hey, maybe that’s true. This is a complicated case. Lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of strands to keep in the ole Duder’s head. Unfortunately for Skadden, innocence doesn’t cut it for a top-tier firm."

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