Most of Twitter's former legal staff is gone, as is Elon Musk's personal lawyer Alex Spiro, reports say
Attorney Alex Spiro emerges from a courtroom at the Palm Beach County Courthouse in April 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Patrick Dove/TCPalm.com via the Associated Press.
Twitter’s legal staff of about 200 people is mostly gone following the social media company’s takeover nearly two months ago by Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk. He has also replaced two law firms and reportedly ousted the personal lawyer he installed as the interim legal chief.
Bloomberg Law and the New York Times had reports on the shake-ups that are partly based on anonymous sources.
Musk had installed his personal lawyer, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Alex Spiro, to aid the transition and oversee legal matters at Twitter. But Spiro is no longer in that role, according to six unidentified people who spoke with the New York Times.
The New York Times’ sources said Musk was unhappy with some of Spiro’s decisions, including his decision to keep on board deputy general counsel James A. Baker. Musk recently “exited” Baker, a former FBI general counsel, for his possible role in Twitter’s decision to ban a 2020 story by the New York Post about files on a laptop reportedly belonging to President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, according to Law.com.
Quinn Emanuel is taking on a larger role for Twitter, however, according to legal filings reviewed by Bloomberg Law. That law firm is replacing Cooley and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in two ongoing cases.
The last remaining deputy general counsel at Twitter, international legal chief Regina Lima, has left the company, four anonymous sources told Bloomberg Law. The publication also reports that most of Twitter’s legal staff of about 200 people “has either been laid off, resigned or otherwise departed” since Musk’s takeover. Only about a dozen in-house lawyers remain.
Helping fill the void are lawyers for Musk’s other companies, including SpaceX vice president of legal Christopher Cardaci, a former partner at Hogan Lovells, according to the New York Times.
According to the New York Times, Musk’s takeover “has been characterized by chaos, a series of resignations and layoffs, reversals of the platform’s previous suspensions and rules, and capricious decisions that have driven away advertisers.”
One of the authors of the New York Times story was Ryan Mac, who is now permanently suspended from Twitter, CNN reports. Other banned journalists worked for CNN and the Washington Post and also “covered Musk aggressively” and “in recent weeks were all abruptly permanently suspended.”