The law firm that defended Kobe Bryant was already among the most prominent, powerful and well-respected in the country.
The resounding victory won by Hal Haddon and Pamela Mackey in the Bryant case will only add to that prestige, legal analysts say.
Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman “is already one of the top law firms in the country,” said Denver defense attorney Craig Silverman. “Where can it go? It’s like the Yankees winning another championship.”
Haddon is a successful civil litigator as well as criminal defense attorney, Silverman said.
“He’s made a lot of money. I suppose this puts him in a position to make even more, but I don’t think that’s his primary concern,” Silverman said.
“As for Pamela Mackey, she now gets the respect that I think she deserves. She was a public defender when I was a district attorney, and she is one of the most ethical, level- headed and talented lawyers in that office.”
Now that the nation has seen them in action, the firm’s increased national presence could mean referrals of more interesting cases, Robinson said.
“These are lawyers who have established practices and no shortage of clients and other responsibilities,” Robinson said. “They’ll go on doing what they’ve done for years, which is to represent people effectively.”
The victory Mackey and Haddon won is as good as it gets for criminal defense lawyers, Silverman said.
“It’s a huge feather in their cap. They did a magnificent job,” he said.
“Dismissal with prejudice is the crown jewel of criminal defense,” he said. “The only thing better is to convince the prosecution not to file charges at all. That’s what Hal Haddon and that law firm did in the JonBenet (Ramsey) case.”
The tally of 64 people who worked for the Los Angeles Lakers star in some capacity is the product of a yearlong observation of the Bryant team, educated guesses and information available in court records before his rape case in Eagle County was forever shelved on Wednesday.
Denver criminal defense lawyer Craig Skinner, commenting on the size of the Bryant team, said Bryant seemed to have it all – “the butcher, the baker, the Learjet driver.”
Robert Shapiro, a veteran of the O.J. Simpson defense team, declined to discuss how Bryant’s numbers compare with Simpson’s in his notorious double-murder case.
Shapiro said, however, “Prosecutors are fond of saying that they’re not going to treat a high-profile case any differently than any other case. But that clearly is a fiction. The resources of the state in prosecuting Mr. Bryant are enormous – much more than any individual could ever have.”
The Bryant defense, Shapiro said, could have hoped only to “try to level the playing field. But it can never be leveled successfully because the state has far too many resources.”
One big-ticket item for Bryant was his plane – not a Learjet, on most occasions, but a Gulfstream IV – which, with a pilot, co-pilot, cabin attendant and two ground personnel on either end of his journeys from Van Nuys (Calif.) Airport to the Eagle County Regional Airport, put seven people on Bryant’s payroll, directly or indirectly.
When Bryant landed in Eagle County, he’d travel from the small county airport to the Eagle County Justice Center in a convoy of three SUVs manned by four driver-security specialists. That brings the team to 11.
Legal team The main attorneys on Bryant’s case were Pamela Mackey and Hal Haddon, partners in the top-flight Denver law firm of Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman.
Also typically at the defense table – seated off to one side, actually – was Terrence O’Connor, whose practice is based in Edwards. Occasionally on hand was Boulder lawyer Mark Johnson. This past week, another lawyer from Haddon’s firm appeared in court for the first time, appellate specialist Ty Gee.
Those five lawyers bring the total employed by Bryant to 16. But the legal talent on Bryant’s payroll probably didn’t end there.
Former Denver prosecutor and legal analyst Craig Silverman, who attended most of the pretrial proceedings, believes everyone in the Haddon firm likely had a hand in the Bryant case.
The Martindale-Hubbell legal directory states that the Haddon firm includes 10 attorneys.
But another local attorney familiar with the workings of the Haddon firm, who asked not to be identified, disagreed with Silverman.
“Historically, when you hire Hal Haddon and Pam Mackey, you get Haddon and Mackey, and not 10 other people. They take pride in that,” the attorney said. “There aren’t going to be a whole lot of additional people working on it.”