Hecht Partners LLP first said in May that the law firm is entirely separate from Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP. Let’s take a closer look.
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP (“Pierce Bainbridge”) underwent a precipitous nosedive. In March 2020, spin-off firm Hecht Partners LLP was formed. At the time, Pierce Bainbridge was approximately $70 million in debt, and multiple lawsuits had been filed against the firm or were on their way. Two months later, the newly formed firm said it was “entirely separate” from the original firm. Let’s take a closer look.
Before diving in, it’s worth noting that the ethics/honesty of Hecht Partners founder David L. Hecht has arisen on several occasions:
(i) A federal judge held that Hecht ran afoul of the ethical rule on “dishonesty and misrepresentation;”
(ii) An ex-Pierce Bainbridge associate accused Hecht of lying to a federal court;
(iii) Ex-Pierce Bainbridge partners accused Hecht of “deceptively splicing” messages” to fit a “false narrative;” and
(iv) Ex-clients of Hecht Partners said in sworn testimony that Hecht deceived them in the Boeing 737 Max case.
With that general background, off we go.
All of the partners at Hecht Partners were partners at Pierce Bainbridge.
One, Janine Cohen, has already left.
David L. Hecht, Maxim “Max” Price, Andrew “Andy” Lorin, Conor McDonough and Kathryn Lee Boyd are the others.
The same NYC address has been used, at times, for:
Hecht’s Signatures on Court Filings
While Hecht said he resigned in March 2020, in May, June and July, he signed court filings on behalf of both Hecht Partners and Pierce Bainbridge. Examples are below.
May 13. Hecht signs for Corellium / Hecht Partners.
May 28. Months after Hecht resigned, he signs for Boeing Plaintiffs / Pierce Bainbridge.
June 4. Hecht signs for Boeing Plaintiffs / Hecht Partners.
June 8. Months after Hecht resigned, he signs for Boeing Plaintiffs / Pierce Bainbridge.
June 25. Hecht signs for Stone Interactive / Hecht Partners.
July 2. Months after Hecht resigned, he signs for Dareltech / Pierce Bainbridge.
July 2. The same day as the Dareltch / Pierce Bainbridge signing, Hecht appears on a signature block for Corellium / Hecht Partners
Hecht’s LinkedIn Activity
Upon purportedly resigning in March, Hecht immediately removed Pierce Bainbridge from his LinkedIn page and replaced it with “Litigation Boutique.”
Then, as of July 9, 2020 — and perhaps earlier — Hecht’s LinkedIn said he was “Counsel” for Pierce Bainbridge.
Sometime thereafter, Hecht removed this designation. His page currently states that he was a “Partner” at Pierce Bainbridge.
Pierce Bainbridge: E-mail, Access to Systems & Affiliation
Two months after purportedly resigning, during a Boeing 737 Max hearing — which an attorney for the airlines characterized as “bizarre” — Hecht said he and 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.”
In addition, Hecht was apparently still receiving e-mails at a Pierce Bainbridge email address until at least June — three months after his “resignation.”
Boeing 737 Max Litigation. Pierce Bainbridge was counsel for Boeing plaintiffs, then Hecht Partners was counsel. Hecht Partners eventually said the firm was “successor” counsel to Pierce Bainbridge, although the latter firm had not dissolved.
Advsr LLC v. Magisto. Pierce Bainbridge was counsel for Advsr LLC, and now Hecht Partners is counsel for the company. In addition, Pierce Bainbridge is co-debtor with Advsr on a UCC lending filing dated February 4, 2020.
There is more below about the role of these cases in securing millions of dollars in funding.
Virage Capital Management & Litigation Financing
A litigation financier named Virage Capital Management provided $65 million in capital to Pierce Bainbridge. Virage says the firm defaulted. Yet, Virage then funded a group of Pierce Bainbridge partners at the newly-formed Hecht Partners.
In order to receive the $65 million capital infusion, Pierce Bainbridge pledged collateral — See paragraph 6— which included “Eligible Cases.” Virage said in a separate court filing that “Eligible Cases” means:
“all legal matters (whether filed or unfiled) in which [Pierce Bainbridge and/or any Guarantor has or later acquires a legal interest, regardless of the basis of which the fees are payable in connection there with (including on a contingency, fixed, hourly and/or other fee basis).” (See footnote 1)
Accordingly, the Boeing, Kabbalah and Advsr cases were presumably pledged as assets / collateral in order to receive the massive capital infusion.
Finally, it is unclear if David L. Hecht, or any his partners, executed personal guarantees related to the Virage $65 million. Camille Varlack, an ex-Pierce Bainbridge attorney now at Bradford Edwards & Varlack, was administratively involved with such guarantees and would likely have answers.
(In addition, a UCC lending filing between Hecht Partners and apparently Virage Capital is dated May 21, 2020. The very day before, May 20, 2020, John Pierce formed “Pierce Bainbridge P.C.” Months later, Pierce reportedly “tweeted that an allegation his company is in debt is ‘Total fake news.’” All of this is quite interesting.)
Overlapping partners, overlapping addresses, overlapping cases, signing court filings on behalf of both firms, full access to systems and more.
Ultimately, draw your own conclusions:
Entirely separate law firms?