Rudy Giuliani is the Latest in a Long Line of Clients and Partners Who Have Parted Ways with the Lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse
- Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyer John M. Pierce is apparently no longer representing his “good friend” Rudy Giuliani.
- Pierce and his firm have seen several client relationships fall apart.
- Over 30 partners have left Pierce since October 2019.
John M. Pierce is the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse. Pierce and his firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP were hired by Rudy Giuliani for the Ukraine matter in November 2019. A lawyer co-counseling with Pierce for Rittenhouse and Carter Page, has publicly announced that Pierce “previously represented Giuliani.” Rudy is apparently yet another client that has seen a relationship with Pierce Bainbridge end; several during ongoing litigation. In addition, Pierce has seen partner after partner leave since he founded his firm in 2017. This track record of turnover may be viewed as another Rittenhouse representation red flag.
While Pierce proclaimed, in February 2020, he would personally be involved in handling Giuliani’s matters it’s unclear what, if any, legal work Pierce actually did for Rudy.
With respect to Rittenhouse, Pierce has been soliciting donations for the #Fightback Foundation, an outfit raising funds to fight the “radical left” media, as well as for the Rittenhouse defense. As financial problems for Pierce and his firm received increased exposure, Pierce resigned from the Foundation —Daily Beast, USA Today, NBC.
While Pierce says he voluntarily resigned, this is not the first Pierce relationship to hit a roadblock.
Client Relationships Fall Apart
Below are examples of clients who were either left in the lurch by Pierce’s firm or decided to terminate the relationship.
March 2019 — Greenway Nutrients
John Pierce and his then partner Jonathan Sorkowitz (The Law Offices of Jonathan A. Sorkowitz) handled the Greenway representation; the firm quit on the client.
Days before abandoning Greenway, Pierce sent an e-mail to the Greenway President; the firm’s then General Counsel Carolynn K. Beck (Goldstein & McClintock LLLP) was copied, as well as the entire firm partnership. The tone of the e-mail — filed as an exhibit to a Greenway motion — seems similar to the belligerent one Pierce has taken on Twitter in responding to Rittenhouse commenters who do disagree with, or question, him. The Pierce e-mail to his then client and Twitter examples are below.
(Pierce’s temperament was addressed in a prior Medium article, which covers, among other items, two domestic violence restraining order requests against Pierce by his former wife. Here are just a few of Pierce’s own texts tweeted by a reporter for Business Insider which led to the 2019 restraining order request.)
Andris Pukke — July 2019
A filing by then firm partner Patrick Bradford (Bradford Edwards & Varlack) states that this break up was based, in part, on conflicts with the client. A screenshot from Bradford’s filing is below.
While Pierce has claims he never quits, as with Greenway, Pierce’s firm quit on Andris Pukke. The client was left to continue pro se (representing himself) and a little over a year later, Pukke suffered a $120 million judgment against him.
City Drive Entities — November 2019
This client sought to terminate Pierce Bainbridge, as set forth in a declaration filed by John Pierce. The relationship ended, the litigation continued and new counsel was retained in February 2020. A screenshot from a Pierce filing is below.
Robert Ross — May 2020
This is another relationship that ended while litigation was ongoing. A filing by the ex-client below indicates that the ex-client replaced Pierce and Pierce Bainbridge with new lawyers.
Lenwood “Skip” Hamilton — August 2020
This client “elected to terminate” John Pierce as his lawyer in an appeal against Microsoft. Interestingly, Pierce put Hamilton up in a $1.3 million home for 2 years.
On July 1, 2020, the homeowners filed a complaint against Pierce and Hamilton personally for failure to pay rent and other claims.
The “elected to terminate” language is in a letter from Pierce to the court dated August 20, 2020. Six days later, August 26, 2020, a default judgment was entered against Pierce and Hamilton for failing to respond to the complaint by the deadline. The next day, August 27, 2020, Pierce appears to have sought out the Rittenhouse representation and began soliciting donations for #Fightback.
Pierce has moved to set aside the default; his excuse for missing the deadline to respond is ‘interesting’. The termination letter, as well as an excerpt from Pierce’s motion to set aside are below.
The Partner Exodus
Consistent with these broken client relationships, the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse has seen scores of partners abandon him. In 2017, Pierce founded Pierce Sergenian, by December 2018, no other partner remained. Pierce Burns was formed in December 2018, by March 2018, no other partner remained. In March 2018, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht was formed, since October 2019, over thirty partners have moved on, including the other four name-partners James D. Bainbridge (Bainbridge Law APC), Carolynn K. Beck (Goldstein & McClintock LLLP), Max Price (Hecht Partners) and David L. Hecht (Hecht Partners).
What Does This Mean for Kyle Rittenhouse?
John Pierce is immersed in heavy turnover; it includes client relationships.
One would hope that Kyle Rittenhouse does not end up with a fractured attorney-client relationship; that Pierce will see the Rittenhouse case through and not quit on his client, or put his client in a position where Rittenhouse may need to terminate Pierce.
One would also hope that the 17-year-old Rittenhouse is not subjected to the type of communications Pierce appears prone to resort to when faced with disagreement.
Time will tell.