A New York court has rejected Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s “tactical” bid to disqualify the lawyer suing the law firm on behalf of a former associate who claims he was fraudulently promised promotion to partnership.
Orrick’s efforts to remove the lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, from the case reveal that not one but two associates consulted with him last year about suing the firm over partnership promises. One of them, Patrick J. Hoeffner, sued Orrick last July for breach of contract, fraud and other claims, asking for more than $100 million.
But the other, unnamed, associate ultimately hired another attorney instead of Wigdor. It is unclear if the other associate dropped or settled claims against Orrick but earlier this year the unnamed associate backed the firm’s disqualification motion, stating his concerns that discovery requests in the Hoeffner case would result in his identity and his dispute with the firm entering the public record.
“Public disclosure of these matters would in my view be disastrous to my career and is something I have taken extraordinary steps to avoid,” the unnamed associate wrote in an affidavit he submitted to the court in March.