Breaking up is hard to do. David Hecht of Hecht Partners and John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge.
As of March 2020, the law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP had a debt in the tens of millions and was a defendant in several lawsuits with more to come. With the firm under duress, named partner David L. Hecht claimed to resign and started spin-off firm Hecht Partners LLP. All of the partners at Hecht Partners were partners at Pierce Bainbridge.
Hecht was the Managing Partner of the firm’s biggest office in New York. John M. Pierce is the firm Founder. Hecht was perhaps viewed as Pierce’s primary sidekick. Indeed, at least three of the firm’s former partners opined that Hecht would essentially do whatever Pierce told him to do, with one saying, as included in public court filings, that Hecht would “toss dogs off of cliffs” if Pierce said it was a good strategy.
The March 2020 Hecht “resignation” from Pierce Bainbridge has not been a clean break. Let’s take a look at events shortly before and after Hecht said he was going bye bye.
The conclusion should not be missed!
February 2020. The Pierce Bainbridge financial activity — of which we are aware — in the month before Hecht said he was leaving is highly unusual.
March 20, 2020. Hecht Partners LLP is formed.
April 9, 2020. The New York Law Journal reports on Hecht’s “resignation.”
April 22, 2020. Law 360 reports that the firm has a $65 million debt to Virage Capital.
May 4, 2020. Hecht seeks permission from three courts to withdraw from, or quit, cases in which he had appeared for Pierce Bainbridge clients.
- Solid 21, Inc. v. Richemont North America, Inc. et al, 1:19-cv-01262, №87–1 (S.D.N.Y.)
- Navaid Alam et al v. Kabir Ahmad et al, 653651/2018, 348 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., New York County)
- Solid 21, Inc. v. Jomashop Inc., 1:19-cv-01179, №31 (E.D.N.Y.)
May 13, 2020. During a Boeing 737 Max hearing, notwithstanding his “resignation” two months earlier, Hecht said he and Hecht Partners partner Andrew “Andy” Lorin: “remain affiliated [with Pierce Bainbridge] in connection with certain cases, including this one. We have access to all the Pierce Bainbridge systems.”
Hecht also claimed a motion filed to withdraw Pierce Bainbridge from the case in April was “filed in error.”
A lawyer for Southwest Airlines characterized the hearing as “bizarre.”
May 18, 2020. An ex-associate, who filed the Pierce Bainbridge motion to withdraw in April, accuses Hecht of lying to the federal court. Law 360 subsequently covered this in: “Ex-Pierce Atty Says Colleague Lied In Boeing Max 8 Hearing.”
May 20, 2020. Pierce forms Pierce Bainbridge P.C.
May 21, 2020. A UCC regulatory filing lists Hecht Partners as the “debtor”. The lender strongly appears to be Virage Capital, the same Virage Capital that Hecht’s “prior” firm reportedly owed $65 million.
May 27, 2020. Lawyers for Hecht Partners say: “Hecht Partners LLP is not ‘in cahoots’ with Pierce Bainbridge. They are entirely separate firms.”
June 1, 2020. Law360 reports that Virage Capital said Pierce Bainbridge “defaulted on debt the ailing law firm racked up over the past year, estimated by current and former attorneys at $65 million.”
June 11, 2020. Law360 reports that Hecht Partners claims it is a “successor” firm to Pierce Bainbridge in the Boeing case.
August 19, 2020. A then-client — now ex-client — testifies under oath that Hecht “kinda deceived” her into signing up with Hecht Partners in the Boeing 737 Max case.
August 21, 2020. A second then-client — now ex-client — agrees under oath that Hecht “deceived” him into signing up with his firm.
August 26, 2020. A newly revealed e-mail shows David Hecht appearing with John Pierce. The email is work-related.
August 27, 2020. The very next day, John Pierce appears to have perhaps hearse-chased the Rittenhouse case. (It’s worth noting that Pierce talked a big game, but failed to back it up).
August 28, 2020. John Pierce announces that “Pierce Bainbridge P.C.” is representing Kyle Rittenhouse.
It was also announced the Pierce was on a #FightBack Foundation Board of Directors, with attorneys Lin Wood and Lawson Pedigo. #FightBack was involved in fundraising for Rittenhouse.
The Foundation web page said donations may also flow to “affiliated” law firms. Was Hecht Partners considered “affiliated?”
The firm’s outside counsel has said no. Notably, this is the same counsel for Hecht Partners who made the statement on September 25th below.
September 16, 2020. A third then-client — now ex-client — testified under oath that Hecht “was being untruthful” when she signed up with Hecht Partners in the Boeing case.
September 25, 2020. The outside lawyer for Hecht Partners who said the firm was not “affiliated” for purposes of #FightBack donations says: “attempting to link my clients’ present operations to Pierce Bainbridge are per se defamatory, given the negative press about Pierce Bainbridge and Mr. Pierce.”
September 29, 2020. Just four days after this missive, the Hecht Partners founder and Pierce Bainbridge founder are on another work-related email together.
The email was publicly revealed in a court filing last week.
November 20, 2020. Kyle Rittenhouse is released on bail.
November 24, 2020. Just four days after the Rittenhouse release, Hecht and Pierce appear on yet another work-related email together.
This e-mail was also just revealed. There are several more work-related e-mails from July through November 2020 where Hecht and Pierce appear together.
December 16, 2020. The Daily Mail publishes an article which says Pierce threatened to kill his ex-wife, spent time in a UCLA psychiatric facility and, in July 2019, had a second domestic violence restraining order entered against him.
Court filings show that Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht was accused of assisting in “stonewalling” Pierce’s ex-wife’s subpoena for documents in the underlying proceedings.
The accusation was made in October 2019. David Hecht was a named partner at the time.
This is the end of the timeline, at least for now.
Before we sum up, it’s worth noting the Hecht Partners has now appeared, or moved to appear, in at least four cases where Pierce Bainbridge was prior counsel:
- Earl et al v. The Boeing Company et al, 4:19-cv-00507, №133 (E.D.Tex.)
- Greene et al v. Kabbalah Centre International, Incorporated et al, 1:19-cv-04304, №71 (E.D.N.Y.)
- Advsr, LLC v. Magistro LTD., 3:19-cv-02670, №95 (N.D.Cal.)
- Solid 21, Inc. v. Breitling USA, Inc et al, 3:19-cv-00514, №111–1 (D.Conn.)
To recap. . .
In March 2020, David L. Hecht said he resigned from Pierce Bainbridge.
In May 2020, Hecht Partners counsel said it was not in “cahoots” with Pierce Bainbridge and the firms were “entirely separate.”
In September 2020, a different outside counsel said it was really bad for David Hecht and Hecht Partners to be linked to John Pierce and Pierce Bainbridge.
So, in the final analysis, it sure does seem that, among other things, for David L. Hecht and John M. Pierce, breaking up is indeed hard to do.