Law Firms

Kasowitz Firm Makes Clear: We Fired Former IP Head

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The former head of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman’s intellectual property practice group reportedly didn’t jump ship to accept a job at a 52-lawyer New York City intellectual property boutique.

Jeremy Pitcock was fired, his former firm says in a press release. Issued by name partner Daniel Benson, it states that “Mr. Pitcock was terminated for cause by Kasowitz, Benson in December 2007 because of extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” reports American Lawyer.

Pitcock, 35, declined to comment, other than to say that the conduct referred to is “nothing professional” and “has absolutely nothing to do with my practice.”

He joined Morgan & Finnegan as a partner Jan. 1, in a move that Pitcock’s new firm announced in a press release.

“Why did Kasowitz Benson, a firm known for its aggressive litigation tactics, issue such a statement?” asks the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Answering its own question, Law Blog says the Kasowitz firm was “peeved by a story last week in trade pub IP Law 360 that said Morgan had lured Pitcock from Kasowitz.”

In the press release, which is reportedly directed at the publication, Benson details his beef with the article: “It was inaccurate to use ‘nab’ in your headline, or to use ‘jump ship’ in your opening paragraph.” Thus, although his firm was “not looking to publicize this incident” it felt “because of those incorrect news items … compelled to set the record straight.”

Such blunt announcements that an attorney was fired by a former firm are, as Law Blog notes, quite rare.

One memorable exception to the general policy of allowing problem partners to depart without public criticism was a press release issued by Pillsbury Winthrop approximately five years ago claiming that a former partner was unproductive and had been the subject of sexual harassment allegations. It resulted in a former partner’s being fired by his new firm, Latham & Watkins, after it proudly announced the acquisition—and a subsequent tortious interference suit being filed by the former partner against Pillsbury, according to Of Counsel (reg. req.).

The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount and the partner received a public apology before moving on to yet another new position, in the New York office of Holland & Knight, reports the New York Law Journal.

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