Do lawyers still do that anymore?
Of course they do. A trial about to start in DC will shed some light into what can be a dirty little business and a major source of big firm frustrations:
It's been two and a half years since Douglas Rosenthal filed an $8.5 million suit against his former firm, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. But last week, the ex-Sonnenschein antitrust partner finally got the chance to start telling his story to a Washington, D.C., Superior Court jury.
The trial not only offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a major law firm's partner compensation policy, it also offers a chance to see some top litigators in action. Constantine Cannon's Gary Malone and one of its founding partners, Robert Begleiter -- both from New York -- argued for Rosenthal, while Michele Roberts, a partner in the D.C. office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and James Hamilton, a partner in Bingham McCutchen's D.C. office, represented Sonnenschein.
Rosenthal (who is not related to the Rosenthal in his former firm's name) claims he wasn't fairly compensated for representing the families of those killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Rosenthal says that work brought the firm a windfall of $17 million. He also says he's owed origination credit for work the firm handled for Sun Microsystems that resulted in $20 million in fees.
20 million in fees for billable Sun Microsystems work?
Again, why is it the greedy lawyer myth only runs in one direction?