John Pierce (K&L Gates), Jim Bainbridge (mystery), Carolynn Beck (Murchison & Cumming), Maxim Price (Quinn Emanuel) Craig Bolton (Wilson Sonsini), Chris N. Lavigne (Success Schools) Doug Curran (Covington), Amman Khan (Glaser Weil) Jonathan Sorkowitz (White & Case) Patrick Bradford (NYC Council) Andy Lorin (Faegre Drinker), Denver G. Edwards (Bressler Amery)
***Legal positions prior to Pierce Bainbridge are indicated parentheses.***
Dan Garner – Pictured above are those defendants in the Lewis lawsuits who remain at the Pierce Bainbridge law firm as of the time of this article.
The Lewis lawsuits were brought by former partner and double Harvard graduate Don Lewis against his ex-firm; the gist of the claims is that Pierce Bainbridge weaponized #MeToo to cover-up for severe financial misconduct and unethical self-dealing.
Since the filing of the Lewis actions, Pierce Bainbridge has been publicly exposed in additional lawsuits by others, as well as an “internal investigation” in which firm founder John Mark Pierce was ousted as Managing Partner.
LawFuel first covered this “Grisham-like Legal Thriller” after a Forbes on-line article had competing quotes from Lewis and Pierce about litigation funder Pravati Capital LLC. Pravati was recently named as a co-defendant along with Pierce Bainbridge and the firm’s name partners in a federal lawsuit brought by a lawyer in Philadelphia, and Pierce is once more accused of not being truthful.
This has been a theme for Lewis who has been under attack by what he claims was “a barrage of hurtful lies” in response to his efforts to stop financial wrongdoing at Pierce Bainbridge. Marc Mukasey of Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP, has apparently sorted this out, and recently filed to withdraw as counsel for Pierce Bainbridge in the Lewis lawsuits citing ethical concerns with his continued representation of the firm.
In contrast, Putney Twombly Hall & Hirson LLP (Michael D. Yim) and Littler Mendelson P.C. (S. Jeanine Conley) who have provided legal services to Pierce Bainbridge in connection with the Lewis saga, appear to continue to endorse and embrace the Pierce Bainbridge duplicity.
Both law firms and their partners, Yim and Conley, have been sued by Lewis.
Another legal provider in play is the newly founded Bathaee Dunne LLP.
The founders are recent Pierce Bainbridge defectors Yavar Bathaee (formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell) and Brian Dunne (formerly of Quinn Emanuel).
The Fallacies and Fantasies
The dishonesty as alleged at Pierce Bainbridge has apparently been fueled by firm founder John Mark Pierce. For instance, a Lewis complaint notes: “[A] partner colorfully and accurately opined: “John [Pierce] lies like he breathes.”
Week after week, as new details of apparent financial corruption emerge, Lewis’ varied and serious allegations appear to have been validated through events that have transpired. There appears to be a deceitful – or as Lewis alleged a “smoke and mirrors” – aura shrouding the firm.
Pierce’s claim of firm’s lawyers being like Navy SEAL’s and Army Rangers, juxtaposed with publicly filed written commentary from Lauren Schaefer-Green and partner Christopher N. LaVigne, is a prime example.
Lewis says Schaefer-Green has been Pierce’s closest confidante since 2015 and had access to the Pierce Bainbridge bank accounts. (Schaefer-Green photo below courtesy of LinkedIn.)
- “[John] is losing track of his lies” – Christopher N. LaVigne
- “All John does is lie to me.” – Lauren Schaefer-Green
- “[John] talks out of every side of his mouth.” – Christopher N. LaVigne
- [John is] showing signs of severe alcoholism and drug use.”– Christopher N. LaVigne
A short “must read” letter Lewis sent to the entire Pierce Bainbridge partnership in July of last year saw Lewis attempting to ensure that that LaVigne maintained his integrity.
However, according to Lewis, his hopes were “shattered” when he uncovered that LaVigne had secretly filed, two months before the letter, a sealed sworn affidavit with what he said contains demonstrably false statements.
- “[I] can’t handle the drinking again. this is the only area in which [John] threatens me . . .then his life implodes all over again.” – Lauren Schaefer-Green
As Schaefer-Green predicted, Pierce – like the Pierce Bainbridge firm – appears to be on the brink of implosion. Illustratively, John Mark Pierce:
- is an individual defendant in at least four lawsuits;
- reportedly has substantial personal tax and alimony obligations;
- is watching the firm he founded three years ago disintegrate in real-time;
- has been publicly exposed by sources other than Lewis for ponzi-scheme’ish “cash advance” and “payday” lending activity; and
- has been booted from the managing partner throne by his partners and replaced with Tom Warren.
The “Where Are We Now?” Faces
The ex-Pierce Bainbridge partners pictured above all hit the escape hatch weeks ago without disclosing information about their next positions: Ted Folkman (formerly Murphy & King), Michael Pomerantz (formerly Grais & Ellsworth; Lewis Defendant), Caroline Polisi (formerly Creizman LLC; Lewis Defendant), Thomas Frongillo (Fish & Richardson) and Conor McDonough (formerly Paul Weiss; Lewis Defendant). It has been weeks and still no word on where they have landed.
Bathaee Dunne LLP
Former partners Yavar Bathaee and Brian Dunne have founded a new firm Bathaee Dunne LLP.
Legit New Firm or Rebrand to Remove the Odour?
Despite Pierce Bainbridge facing:
- media scorn for filing “embarrassing” and “laughable” lawsuits;
- partners accused of lying under oath,
- violations of the ethical Rules of Professional Conduct (while boasting about the same), and
- the apparent reality that Pierce Bainbridge, after over three years of operations, has represented more convicted felons (three) – Michael Avenatti, Lenny Dykstra and George Papadopoulos – than the firm has reported trial victories (one).
The two ex-partners worked on these matters at Pierce Bainbridge. As a contrast, Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal also continued Pierce Bainbridge cases at their new firm Armstrong Teasedale LLP; however, in those cases, it appears Pierce Bainbridge has filed to withdraw.
Behind the “Smoke & Mirrors”
A clear view through the Pierce Bainbridge “smoke and mirrors”, as Lewis describes it, has been catastrophic for the firm. Any objective view of the problems faced by the firm attest to that.
The firm that Pierce just last year – in a nasty (now publicly-filed) e-mail to a client who eventually reported Pierce and the firm to the California State Bar – claimed had “70 of the most elite litigators on the planet” is clearly in a world of hurt.
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