There may be no place like home, but for Hogan & Hartson partner Ty Cobb a change of address uncorked a heap of trouble recently.
The vitriol reached a peak last week when a former Hogan client, Denver-based General Steel, launched an extremely high-profile and ferocious advertising campaign lambasting the firm.
The company put out a public call in newspapers and on the radio claiming it had been short-changed by Hogan in terms of services.
It asked any other Hogan clients that may, in its words, have discovered its lawyers were “less experienced” than expected to call a toll-free number. It is not known whether any have taken advantage of this unique opportunity.
The campaign was an attempt to recoup costs incurred by General Steel when it instructed Hogan on a lawsuit it faced three years ago. During the matter, leading white-collar defence lawyer Cobb relocated from Denver (home of General Steel) to Washington DC, an event the client claimed led to it being represented by a less senior lawyer, namely employment associate Sean Gallagher.
General Steel (known in its own ad campaigns as ‘The General’) settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $4.5m (£2.57m). It then sued Hogan.
The company’s president Jeff Knight apparently warned Hogan in the settlement negotiations that he would initiate a “shock and awe” advertising campaign in order to influence Hogan to settle.
According to Hogan general counsel George ‘Sandy’ Mayo (who may have been speaking with just a trace of sarcasm), Knight designed the campaign himself “because of his expertise in advertising”.
Mayo says the campaign and its argument was “complete nonsense”.
“Ty Cobb is a very successful trial lawyer who tries cases all over the country,” Mayo adds. “It doesn’t matter where he lives. The notion that where his house is located has any impact upon his abilities is laughable.”
The case is set for arbitration in Denver next April.
General Steel did not return a call for comment.