By Aaron Kesel
Earlier this month, Activist Post previously published a piece: “Lawyer Don Lewis Exposes Marc Dreier Fraud Redo.” Lewis, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, was a partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht in 2018 until he decided to blow the whistle. Lewis alleges the firm was involved in financial misconduct, and Pierce Bainbridge retaliated by weaponizing #MeToo. Lewis also adds that law firms Putney Twombly Hall & Hirson LLP and Littler Mendelson P.C. engaged in malicious deceitful misconduct as well. The alleged misconduct of Putney Twombly partner Michael D. Yim and Littler partner S. Jeanine Conley has been well documented.
The story of Pierce Bainbridge is one of the biggest law firm debacles we have seen since this writer’s own Wall St fraud series with serial Wall St whisteblower Laser Haas exposing Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP (MNAT.) PB was founded in January 2017 as Pierce Sergenian, became Pierce Burns in December 2017 and then Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht in March 2018. According to Lewis, the firm then “abused litigation financing to fuel its explosive growth” and then began touting itself as “The Fastest Growing Law Firm in the History of the World.” The Pierce Bainbridge firm has since, as reported by LawFuel, undergone an epic implosion. The drama is overwhelming and that’s an understatement, there are accusations of: lies under oath, financial misconduct, misogyny, potential securities fraud, bribes from unsavory characters and more; Law360 made a shocking report of an “estimated $65 million debt” to litigation funder Virage Capital Management. But now, we have a connection to death threats as this writer will detail below.
The incredible collapse takes on increased interest considering Pierce Bainbridge’s own strong connections to the United States Republican party, the GOP. The firm’s disgraced founder, John Mark Pierce, is reportedly a huge “MAGA” guy in Trump’s corner representing several of the U.S. president’s allies. For example, Pierce recently claimed that a Law360 report of the firm’s death knell was “total fake news;” his Slack handle for firm communications is “realjohnpierce,” and Pierce has posted on LinkedIn that Trump’s lawyer, and his own client — Rudy Giuliani is a —“good friend.”
PB also curiously represented Michael Avenatti, a Trump foe who helped Stormy Daniels sue the current president. Avenatti was accused of fraud himself defrauding Daniels and other clients like Nike, (found guilty) and charged with other federal charges.
The shocking allegations of widespread corruption at the firm, which align with the views many have of the connected individuals and the timeline, is very compelling.
July 2018 – Eric Creizman, now of Armstrong Teasedale, joins Pierce Bainbridge as a partner.
September 2018 – Pierce Bainbridge is retained to represent Russian Oligarch, Sergey Grishin, in a legal dispute with two women, including messy allegations and, as reported in LawFuel, of purported death threats.
September 2018 – The firm recruits Giuliani to join as a partner; Giuliani never joins the firm’s partnership ranks; as noted, Pierce has stated that he and Giuliani are — “good friends.”
September 2018 – George Papadopoulos tweets that he has retained Pierce Bainbridge. Two months later, Papadopoulos, lands in prison for lying under oath. Ironically, Papadopoulos was represented by Christopher N. LaVigne, now of Withers Bergman LLP, who Lewis has also accused of “lying under oath.” A GoFundMe “legal fees” page in Papadopoulos’ name suggests he did not pay for the representation.
November 2018 – The Washington Post pens an article “Federal investigators scrutinized Whitaker’s role in patent company accused of fraud.” That same week, Donald Trump named Whitaker United States Acting Attorney General. The company accused of fraud is World Patent Marketing; the Washington Post notes that a complaint lodged by the Federal Trade Commission was “settled . . .for more than $25 million earlier [in the] year,” with no admission of fault. The article also states: “an advisory board member who also did legal work for the company, New York-based attorney Eric Creizman, said he also received a subpoena from the FTC and turned over records regarding the company.” Creizman has denied knowing Whitaker.
June 2019 – Harmeet Dhillon, Co-Chair for Women for Trump, and heavily involved in fundraising efforts for the President, tweets that Pierce Bainbridge is co-counsel with her on a case against Walmart, Target and CVS.
In addition to fighting Google today, my team, together with the Pierce Bainbridge firm, also sued retailers for infringing a California inventor's patents with cheap foreign knockoffs. Plucky inventor sues Walmart, Target, CVS over brow razor patent https://t.co/b72Y7foG6E
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) June 7, 2019
June 2019 – The same day of Dhillon’s tweet, the New York Law Journal reports on the retention by Pierce Bainbridge of Marc Mukasey of Mukasey, Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP, to defend against Lewis’ lawsuits. Reportedly another fun fact, Mukasey and Giuliani have been connected since at least 2007; they were law firm partners for years at Bracewell Giuliani and Greenberg Traurig.
July 2019 – Bloomberg News reports, “Rudy Giuliani said he was forced to borrow $100,000 from President Donald Trump’s other lawyer Marc Mukasey to pay his taxes.”
November 2019 – Giuliani tweets that he has retained Pierce Bainbridge for the Ukraine Biden-Trump fiasco. The New York Times reports “Facing Investigation, Giuliani Needed a Lawyer, but Firms Stayed Away.” The article notes that several well-established firms rejected Giuliani as a client for their own reasons. The Giuliani tweet specifically identifies Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal as his Pierce Bainbridge legal representatives. Creizman and Madrigal, announced in late January, as did Madrigal. They both joined Armstrong Teasedale, the Pierce Bainbridge collapse was already well under way by this time.
January 2020 – CNN publishes an article “Carter Page sues Democratic National Committee and law firm for defamation.” The complaint is for defamation related to the “Steele Dossier,” Pierce Bainbridge is once again counsel for one of Trump’s allies, former foreign-policy adviser Page.
As it turns out, the Pierce Bainbridge firm had started truly unraveling in October of 2019. Six of the more accomplished partners quit the firm, as the New York Law Journal reported. Pierce then suggested those partners were too soft and suggested Pierce Bainbridge attorneys are required to have “Kevlar skin” and a willingness to “swallow some risk.”
In November, Pierce took out a cash advance in the several hundreds of thousands dollars in exchange for an interest in firm receivables. In December, just one month later, he did the same with another entity. A few months later, with over around 50 of the firms having quit, both cash advance businesses sued Pierce and the firm for alleged failure to fulfill the payments. By April of this year things had completely fallen apart, Law360 reported the firm was shutting down. Pierce told the American Lawyer that was “total fake news,” the attorney ranks had dropped from 70 to single digits. (LawFuel covered the issues in this paragraph in a recent report.)
Then the proverbial “D-Day,” finally hit for Pierce Bainbridge. On April 22, Law360 published a thorough investigatory report, which revealed Pierce and potentially certain of the firm’s partners retain an “estimated $65 million debt” to litigation financier Virage Capital Management. Hours later, LawFuel published a devastating article comparing Pierce Bainbridge to the law firm Lambert, Bendini and Locke in the Tom Cruise movie The Firm.
These financial events seem to all validate Lewis, who had said in complaints filed in mid-2019, almost a year earlier, that Pierce Bainbridge is “a cesspool of lies and deceit,” “smoke and mirrors” operation and a “house of cards” that would collapse. It also doesn’t help Pierce’s case that he was warned he could be the next Marc Drier and go to prison as this reporter stated in a previous article.
A puzzling question is why would all these high-profile individuals align with Pierce Bainbridge? A firm which shows to have no track record of success and a miserable financial history. As an example, its first known litigation funder, Pravati, declared a $9.1 million default, according to Forbes, and its second known litigation funder, Virage, is reportedly owed $65 million. Further, the self-proclaimed “Next Generation of Litigation Excellence,” reportedly only won a single trial in over three years, and it was a small verdict in a case about mom and pop ice cream sandwiches.
That doesn’t seem to be the law firm that you would see representing several high-profile individuals in the GOP, something seems off. Secondly, the real Russiagate may lie with Pierce Bainbridge and its client Russian Oligarch, Sergey Grishin, who to reiterate petitioned Trump for U.S. citizenship, which this reporter senses is a major character in PB’s ongoing sinking ship. As a writers note, there has been zero evidence published showing that international whistleblowing outfit WikiLeaks received information on the DNC from Russian agents and such claims have been widely debunked as speculation without merit, while elsewhere forensic evidence points to a separate incident not connected to WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, as a leak and not hack (but that’s a story for another day). Grab your popcorn!
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Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post.