In-House Counsel

General counsel for Al Jazeera America seems to lack a law license, New York Times says

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The general counsel for media company Al Jazeera America has been suspended and a BigLaw firm has been brought in to conduct an investigation of a claim by the New York Times that he is not licensed to practice law.

David Harleston, an executive with Al Jazeera who also serves as general counsel, graduated from Yale Law School, clerked for a federal appeals court judge and passed the New York state bar exam. However, there is no record that he is licensed to practice in New York or any other state, the New York Times (reg. req.) reports. The article relies on information from Harleston’s corporate profile at Al Jazeera for information about his background.

The article says Al Jazeera suspended Harleston on Sunday and engaged Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to investigate after the company was contacted by the Times. Harleston did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

Harleston’s corporate profile also says he “litigated extensively” for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, between 1985 and 1989, before moving on to other jobs and eventually arriving at Al Jazeera. A spokeswoman for the law firm declined to comment.

“My No. 1 priority has been to run Al Jazeera America to the highest professional and business standards,” CEO Al Anstey of Al Jazeera told the Times, adding: “I take very seriously any potential issue that could jeopardize the reputation and integrity of Al Jazeera America.”

Hat tip: Gawker.

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