Web Week 18/09/06

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@ thelawyer. com.

Website claims needle barrister

Irish website www.rateyour solicitor.com has landed one lawyer-hating critic in hot water.

One unhappy client, who claims to have been “robbed and defrauded of tens of thousands” by members of the legal profession, has been told by a High Court judge to do all he can to remove all offensive remarks about a barrister from the internet, according to The Irish Times (www.ireland.com).

Dublin barrister Jayne Maguire claims that John Gill posted statements “of the most offensive and damaging nature, both personally and professionally” on the website.

Maguire claims that in November 2005 a newspaper article stated that the domain name had been bought by the Victims of the Legal Profession Society and that Gill, as spokesman, had said that the society planned to “list all rogue solicitors” on the website.

Maguire is seeking damages for defamation, breach of privacy and an interlocutory injunction to restrain Gill from continuing to post statements on the website, which she claims is operated and administered by him.

The injunction has been extended to include anyone with knowledge of the order to remove offensive material from the website. Gill claims he has never published or permitted to be published anything concerning Maguire.

The website is full of critics of lawyers all over Ireland. One post said: “Stick a needle in your eye, run naked through Dublin City, do anything other than deal with this man.”

Terminator won’t be back for Orrick, Dewey

The legal story that caught everyone’s eye hit the web on 13 September, when Dewey Ballantine and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe confirmed their merger discussions.

www.thelawyer.com/breakingnews reported: “If the merger comes to fruition the combined firm would have more than 1,200 lawyers and come close to $1bn [£530.12m] in revenues.”

Lawyer News Weekly took the story on when it revealed that Orrick had almost tied up the (very) loose ends of its merger with Coudert in China: “A big thanks must go to elite China firm King & Wood, which managed to smooth the feathers ruffled by Orrick’s misguided stunt to draft in the political weight of the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, reported by The Lawyer earlier this year.”

HP bloggers go nuts

The HP board leaks scandal continues to take up blogspace and the legal team is now coming under fire. Even the company’s hugely-respected and usually-untouchable Larry Sonsini of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has received flak across the blogosphere for his role as outside counsel.

Most of it is completely unprintable, but Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes, had this to say on blogs.forbes.com/ digitalrules: “My vote for villain is Larry Sonsini, the Silicon Valley lawyer and power broker.

“On 28 June 2006, Sonsini emailed Tom Perkins this: ‘The investigating team did obtain information regarding phone calls made and received by the cell or home phones of the directors. This was done through a third party that made pretext calls to phone service providers. Apparently a common investigatory method which was confirmed by experts. The legal team also checked with outside counsel as to the legality of this methodology.”‘It appears, therefore, that the process was well done and within legal limits. The concerns raised in your email did not occur.’

“What rubbish. When your $2,000 [£1,060]-an-hour lawyer says ‘pretext calls’ are ‘a common investigatory method’ and ‘within legal limits’ – you have a big problem.

“California state Attorney General Bill Lockyer calls HP’s investigation illegal: ‘The question was, was a crime committed? The answer is yes.’

“Sonsini is a disaster. HP should can him. In the most public way.

“Come to think of it, Apple, which finds itself distracted by an options backdating scandal, should fire Sonsini too.”