Lawyers battle over people’s right to choose counsel
A Canadian lawyer has spoken out about how law firms are selected to represent fired employees seeking severance pay from an insolvent telephone-gear maker. Nortel Networks Corp filed for bankruptcy in January after losing almost $7 billion since 2005, Bloomberg reports. It refused to pay some pension benefits as well as severance and termination payments, labeling them unsecured claims. Nortel recommended to the judge at a hearing that Koskie Minsky LLP represent the workers, having to itself pay the legal fees of the firms appointed by the judge. “This is not about people’s right to choose counsel,” Nortel’s lawyer said. Meanwhile Nortel has 100 lawyers at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steeb & Hamilton working on the file in New York. The judge has reserved his decision.
Washington judge in prostitute trouble
A Washington judge has taken a leave of absence after being charged both criminally and by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct over his alleged activities with male prostitutes, among other things. The 58-year-old judge denies wrongdoing and “is hoping and anticipating that he’ll be exonerated at the end of all of this”, his attorney Wayne Fricke said. The Seattle Times reports the state attorney general’s office says the judge threatened to kill a prostitute on 30 August last year, not long after he was elected to the bench.