After his last firm dissolved, lawyer reinvents himself as conservative civil liberties warrior
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A law firm partner known for civil litigation has reinvented himself as a lawyer for conservative causes and the accused U.S. Capitol rioters.
Name partner John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge represents at least 17 people accused in the Capitol attack, more than any other lawyer, the Daily Beast reports.
He formerly represented accused Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, but withdrew from the case after prosecutors told the court that Pierce is apparently in debt, and his fundraising “provides ample opportunity for self-dealing and fraud.”
Pierce has also created a group called the National Constitutional Law Union, which says it is seeking donations to pay the legal bills of clients whose constitutional rights are in jeopardy. Pierce said in a prior statement that the National Constitutional Law Union was formed to counter “increasing government tyranny” and the American Civil Liberties Union’s “shift to the extreme left.”
Pierce’s former firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, saw an exodus of lawyers amid a legal fight between the firm and former partner Don Lewis, who said he was fired after confronting Pierce about alleged financial misconduct. The firm countered that Lewis was fired following an allegation of sexual impropriety.
The firm also faced allegations that its revenues were pledged to multiple lenders and a claim by a litigation funder that it was owed a share of fees earned in ongoing cases, according to a July 29 Law360 story and a previous report by the publication.
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht ultimately collapsed. Pierce then created a new firm simply called Pierce Bainbridge, according to Law360. It’s unclear how many lawyers work at the firm besides Pierce and the other name partner, Jim Bainbridge, the article said.
Pierce’s new group, the National Constitutional Law Union, is already getting some bad press. According to Law360, the chief financial officer of the group, Ryan Joseph-Gene Marshall, was accused last year of falsifying court documents to help a colleague steal nearly $100,000 from her grandmother. Marshall was working as a court clerk in Pennsylvania at the time.
Pierce told Law360 that the case against Marshall was due to a “petty spat” with a local prosecutor, and the charge is without merit. Pierce said Marshall will be an associate at his firm after he becomes a member of the California bar.
According to Law360, Marshall appears to be the only staff member at the National Constitutional Law Union other than Pierce.
Pierce did not comment when contacted by the Daily Beast. He didn’t immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s email request for comment.