Ex-Partners' Suit Says Law Firm Leader's Affair with Another Practice Group Lawyer Forced Them Out

Two attorneys have sued a well-known Boston law firm and its managing partner, contending that his alleged affair with one plaintiff’s wife, who is also a lawyer there, cost both their jobs.

Now partners at Nixon Peabody, estate planning attorneys Lawrence Cohen and Jay Rosenbaum say they were forced out of their partnerships at Edwards Wildman Palmer after managing partner Walter Reed began an affair in 2009 with Cohen’s wife, Laurie Hall, Reuters reports.

Hall is a partner in the estate planning group at Edwards Wildman.

The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, seeks damages for alleged constructive discharge and breach of fiduciary duty. It contends that Cohen was excluded from events at the Boston-based firm, lost a leadership position there and had his pay cut as a result of the affair. In November, the suit says, Hall and Reed announced their relationship at an Edwards Wildman partner meeting and said they intended to divorce their spouses.

Hence, due to all of these circumstances, Cohen alleges, he was forced to leave the firm in November. Rosenbaum says in the suit that he, too, had to resign as a result of the affair, because his clients were “inextricably linked” to Cohen.

Hall and Reed declined a Reuters request for comment. Edwards Wildman said in a written statement provided to the news agency that “The firm has received a copy of the complaint, and the claims will be contested in the course of the proceedings.”

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