Partner Janine Cohen is out at Hecht Partners, did accusations against her ex-boss David L. Hecht play a role? Cohen was a former partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, like each of the partners she’s left behind. A look at Hecht Partners’ claim that it’s an entirely separate law firm from Pierce Bainbridge.
“We fight as hard for our clients as we would for our own families — because we consider our clients part of our family.” ~ Hecht Partners LLP website.
With ex-clients testifying under oath that Hecht Partners founder David L. Hecht deceived them, the “we are family” representation on the Hecht Partners website is notable. As it turns out, the around 11-attorney firm appears to be somewhat of a real life family matter; the boss’s wife Kinza Hecht serves in a “Counsel” position, similar to a position Mrs. Hecht held while her husband was a named-partner at Pierce Bainbridge. The Hecht Partners LLP “family”, however, is no longer home for Janine Cohen. According to Cohen’s LinkedIn page, the former partner is with another firm in an “Of Counsel” position; the page also makes no mention of Hecht Partners.
The departure seems to be a recent development, as Cohen appears on a Hecht Partners filing earlier this month.
Perhaps a few events involving her now former boss David L. Hecht influenced Cohen’s exit.
- An ex-Pierce Bainbridge associate accused Hecht of lying to a federal court.
- Hecht’s own clients in the Boeing 737 Max case testified under oath that Hecht deceived them.
- Ex-Pierce Bainbridge attorneys have accused Hecht of “deceptively splicing” messages to fit a “false narrative.”
Perhaps consistent with these accusations, in April 2019, a federal judge wrote an opinion finding Hecht acted “inconsistent” with the ethical Rule of Professional Conduct on “dishonesty and misrepresentation.” Hecht was apparently involved in surreptitiously recording an adversary at a social event.
With that “credibility” background, claims made by Hecht that his firm is an entirely separate law firm from Pierce Bainbridge — a narrative also suggested by outside lawyers Hecht has hired in Ireland, New Zealand and New York — are worth a closer look.
A few points to ponder.
- Partner Overlap. All the partners at Hecht Partners were partners at Pierce Bainbridge. Included in this group are two ex-named Pierce Bainbridge partners: David Hecht & Max Price.
- Hecht’s Signature on Legal Filings. Hecht claimed to to have resigned from Pierce Bainbridge in March. Yet, he signed legal documents for Pierce Bainbridge in at least May, June & July.
- Hecht’s LinkedIn Page & Court Statements. Subsequent to his “resignation,” Hecht removed Pierce Bainbridge from his LinkedIn page, then later publicized that he was “Counsel” for Pierce Bainbridge, then said during a hearing, two months after his “resignation,” that he and Andrew “Andy” Lorin were both still “affiliated” with Pierce Bainbridge and had “access to all the Pierce Bainbridge systems.”
- Hecht’s E-mail Address. At least three months after his “resignation,” Hecht, appears to have still been receiving emails at a “Pierce Bainbridge” email address.
- Virage Capital Funding. Pierce Bainbridge reportedly defaulted on a $65 million debt to litigation funder Virage Capital. Yet, Virage then funded Hecht Partners. This “Money Mystery” is perplexing.
- Boeing 737 Max Case. Pierce Bainbridge was counsel in the Boeing case, David Hecht signed filings interchangeably on behalf of both firms after he purportedly resigned, then Hecht Partners said in June the firm is a “successor” to Pierce Bainbridge in the case. (Now both firms are out of Boeing , after Virage Capital, according to Hecht, poured “millions” of dollars into the lawsuit.)
- Kabbalah Centre Case. Pierce Bainbridge was counsel in a lawsuit against the Kabbalah Centre. Now Hecht Partners is counsel on the case.
- Advsr LLC v. Magisto. Pierce Bainbridge was counsel for Advsr LLC. Now Hecht Partners is counsel for Advsr LLC, as reflected in the screenshot above.
As for this last case, Pierce Bainbridge appears on a February 2020 UCC lending document as a co-debtor with Advsr. Notably, February is the same month Pierce Bainbridge founder John Pierce essentially pilfered $2.5 million from a payday lender in Queens, New York; which was one month before spin-off firms Hecht Partners LLP and Bainbridge Law APC were formed.
Another question is whether the departed Cohen, or any of the partners at Hecht Partners, signed personal guarantees related to the reported $65 million debt to the Virage Capital.
We know that ex-Pierce Bainbridge COO Camille Varlack — now at Bradford Edwards & Varlack, run by a liar named Denver G. Edwards — was involved in efforts to secure such personal guarantees. Presumably Varlack knows if David Hecht or anyone else is on the hook to Virage.
In any event, Cohen’s departure reminds of several partners quitting Pierce Bainbridge from August through October 2019. When those partners left, firm founder John Pierce — who has been the subject of two domestic violence restraining orders and currently represents Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse — said Pierce Bainbridge attorneys were required to have “kevlar skin combined with titanium at times,” and be willing to “swallow some risk.” While at Pierce Bainbridge, David Hecht, pitched himself as a “Gladiator in a Suit,” so perhaps he had the whole “kevlar skin” thing under control.
As for Janine Cohen, she was apparently “tough enough” to stick it out at Pierce Bainbridge longer than most; however, her partnership days at Hecht Partners have come to an end faster than anyone else.