Dan Garner* The severe problems at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, including the dispute with ex-partner and whistleblower Don Lewis, have been covered at length by LawFuel. And the latest development appears to be the departure of New York Office Managing Partner David L Hecht.
Long-time Managing Partner John Pierce (formerly of K&L Gates) has apparently lost the respect and confidence of even his closest partners. With Pierce ousted as firm boss, one would have expected another name partner – Carolynn K. Beck (formerly of Murchison & Cumming and Margolis & Tinsman), David L. Hecht (formerly of Steptoe & Johnson), James D. Bainbridge (the mystery man with the FTC issues) or Maxim “Max” Price (formerly of Quinn Emanuel) to step into his shoes.
Yet, this has not happened, Tom Warren, who represents Michael Avenatti, has been given the nod. And now it appears that – on the heels of Marc Mukasey and his firm Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP filing to withdraw as PB’s counsel in the Lewis matters – former New York Office Managing Partner David L. Hecht is the latest Pierce Bainbridge lawyer to join the exodus from the firm.
David L. Hecht, Maxim “Max” Price and Wen Wu (Pierce Bainbridge Associate)
“Davey & The John” Never Did Take Over the World
Hecht was reportedly the name partner closest to John Pierce. Hecht did his best to mirror Pierce in cartoonish and bombastic statements about the firm.
For example, in an interview with Above the Law; Hecht offered the following Pierce-lite doozies:
- “[T]he firm has been able to run circles around our adversaries. It’s clear that we have intimidated those other firms with our agility and resourcefulness.” – David L. Hecht
- “[W]e are fixated on world domination. . .” – David L. Hecht
Hecht’s and Pierce’s bombast of “world domination” invoke thoughts of the colorful Saturday morning staple “Pinky and The Brain.” Just like that infamous little duo, “Davey & The John” have failed miserably.
Bragging About Violating the Ethical Rules
Hecht’s own conduct with regard to his practice has been the subject of criticism and comment.
For example, Hecht secretly recorded an adversary at a social event last year; a motion to disqualify the firm was filed and a federal court found that Hecht violated Rule 8.4 of the ethical Rule of Professional Conduct governing attorney deceit.
Hecht then brazenly boasted about the same on LinkedIn, apparently because Pierce Bainbridge was not disqualified. Exacerbating matters, a court filing by former partner Don Lewis, who has sued Pierce Bainbridge, several of its partners including Hecht, Littler Mendelson (S. Jeanine Conley) and Putney Twombly (Michael D. Yim), contains a screenshot of the LinkedIn post and a reader’s comment (see below), Hecht appears to have subsequently altered the filed content.
“Like a Cult Member”
The Lewis filings also contain negative commentary about Hecht from his own (now former) partners. They are severe.
As a small example:
- Partner Christopher N. LaVigne – in writing – stated: “If JP said kicking dogs off of cliffs was a good strategy, Hecht would be there tossing them off.”
- Partner Andrew “Andy” Lorin – in writing – stated: “David wanted me to take charge of the trial and knows he can’t lead the trial of these cases. He just needs to be treated respectfully.”
- A former partner (not Lewis) – in writing – stated (concerning Carolynn K. Beck and Hecht): “They’re like cult members. . . .at a certain point you have to put self-respect above all else if you are a real person. You’re either compromising yourself or you’re just plain dumb. I can’t decide which category those two fall into. Could be both.”
“Laughable” and “Embarrassing”
The media been been critical to the point of vilification when writing about Hecht.
- An article by Mike Masnick in Techdirt.com commented on a Hecht filed complaint opines: “It’s laughable, and the lawyers who signed their names to it — Brian Dunne, Dan Terzian, and David Hecht, from Pierce Bainbridge — should be embarrassed.”
- A separate article by Tim Cushing concluded dance-move copyright cases pushed by Hecht: “Despite its 100% failure rate in Fortnite lawsuits, Pierce Bainbridge is still finding plaintiffs willing to ensure its partners keep collecting paychecks. And isn’t that the greatest victory of all?”
In connection with the Fortnite suits, Hecht claimed his e-mail address was spoofed. Pierce Bainbridge then “alerted the authorities, including the FBI.”
“The Boss” of The Pierce Bainbridge New York Office
Notwithstanding the omnipresent negativity, Hecht’s “name was on the Pierce Bainbridge door” and he was also the New York Office Managing Partner.
In that latter role, Hecht oversaw each member of the “$9.1 Million Crew” (with the exception of LA-based Jim Bainbridge).
Given Hecht’s apparent shortcomings, and pedigree of The Crew, we imagine this made for interesting office dynamics.
From left to right, top to bottom, The $9.1 Million Crew and their stations before Pierce Bainbridge are: Eric Creizman (Creizman LLC), Caroline Polisi (Creizman LLC), Christopher N. LaVigne (Success Charter Schools), Denver G. Edwards (Bressler, Amery & Ross), Andy Lorin (Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath), James D. Bainbridge (mystery man), Douglas Curran (Covington & Burling), Jonathan Sorkowitz (White & Case), David Hecht (Steptoe & Johnson), Michael Pomerantz (Grais & Ellsworth) and Patrick Bradford (New York City Council).
Into the Abyss
Efforts to contact the firm have been unsuccessful, however Hecht’s LinkedIn profile indicates an end to his Pierce Bainbridge tenure and the commencement of a “Full-Time” position as “Founding Partner at Hecht Partners.”
It is unclear if Hecht left of his own volition or if he was pushed out by apparent new management.
The future is uncertain for Hecht and his latest firm; while Pierce Bainbridge, the firm Hecht and Pierce advertised as headed for “domination” on a “world” and “global” scale, appears to be teetering on the brink of the abyss.
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