Top law firm Boies Schiller Flexner has seen an exodus of dozens of attorneys after staff have taken issue with some of its client base, the founder’s son’s alleged use of the n-word and his other son’s alleged favorable treatment in securing an office design contract, according to a report.
Multiple insiders at Boies Schiller Flexner told CNBC there has been a dramatic exodus of talent from the legal powerhouse due to a series of controversial decisions made by founders David Boies and Jonathan Schiller.
In 2020 alone, the workforce shrank by more than a third, from around 320 attorneys to 200 by the end of the year, including the loss of almost 60 partners, Bloomberg reported.
Last week, the woman thought to have been tapped to become the firm’s successor – Natasha Harrison – stood down from her leadership role. She will stay on at the firm at least through the end of 2021. Harrison is based in London, with sources citing the ongoing COVID restrictions on people from the UK visiting the US as the reason for her departure.
Some staffers are said to have been upset over Boies’ decision to represent convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein and disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, CNBC reported.
Meanwhile, others are said to have taken issue with the way the company dealt with Schiller’s two sons.
Sources said staff were left ‘horrified’ when Josh Schiller, an attorney at the firm, allegedly used the n-word at a company party.
The issue was allegedly raised to the firm’s leadership and a member of the management committee demanded an investigation but no one from the party was ever contacted over the incident, reported CNBC.
This January, Josh was also arrested for domestic abuse and put on temporary leave. He has since returned to work at the firm after prosecutors dropped the charges and the law firm’s outside investigators cleared him.
Schiller’s other son Aaron Schiller, boss of architecture firm Schiller Projects, was also accused by some staffers of being granted special treatment in securing a contract to design the law firm’s offices in New York, San Francisco and Washington.
Sources claim that some staff are unhappy with the firm’s glittering new Hudson Yards offices in NYC, because its open-plan layout is not conducive to private conversations with clients.
A spokesperson for Boies Schiller told CNBC the two founders were not making all the decisions at the company and that it is the managing partners that oversee the day-to-day running of the firm.
Top law firm Boies Schiller Flexner has lost around 100 attorneys in the space of a year after staff have taken issue with its ‘unsavory’ client base, the founder’s son’s alleged use of the N-word and his other son’s alleged favorable treatment in securing an office design contract, according to a report. Founders David Boies (left) and Jonathan Schiller (right)
Some people were driven to quit over Boies’ decision to represent convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein (left) and disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (right), the insiders said
Matt Schwartz, one of four new co-managing partners at Boies Schiller, said the founders are ‘part of’ discussions about deals with outside vendors but are far from ‘running everything.’
‘David and Jonathan are on the executive committee. Of course they are part of those discussions,’ said Schwartz.
‘They hold the titles of managing partners and are an important resource for us. But truly and honestly in every way the four new managing partners of Natasha [Harrison], Sigrid, Alan and myself run the day-to-day operations at this firm and we do so under the guidance and oversight of the executive committee.
‘Whoever is telling you that the founding partners are running everything is wrong.
‘The short answer is if I want to know how much money we are paying for any particular vendor or item, yes, that is something that is knowable.’
Boies Schiller was founded by Boies and Schiller in 1997, before becoming one of America’s largest law firms.
That year, Boies was hired to represent the US government in its high-profile antitrust case against software giant Microsoft.
Boies then famously represented then-Vice President Al Gore in his Supreme Court battle over the 2000 presidential election recount.
Since then, the company has represented some of the biggest corporations including Facebook and American Express and high-profile clients including Weinstein, Holmes and Jeffrey Epstein victims including Virginia Roberts.
Insiders told CNBC that the firm’s ties to Weinstein and Holmes had pushed several employees to leave.
Others are said to have taken issue with the way the company dealt with Schiller’s two sons. Sources said staff were left ‘horrified’ when Josh Schiller (pictured), an attorney at the firm, allegedly used the n-word at a company party
This January, Josh was also arrested for domestic abuse and put on temporary leave. He has since returned to work at the firm after prosecutors dropped the charges and the law firm’s outside investigators cleared him. Josh with wife Melissa Siebel Schiller in 2007
The jury at Weinstein’s 2020 rape trial heard testimony from a lawyer at the firm admitting it had previously acted as a go-between helping the disgraced media mogul hire private investigation firm Black Cube.
He did so to try to squash a damning 2017 New York Times report which revealed Weinstein had paid off multiple women to make their sexual harassment allegations go away.
The report was released and ultimately led to Weinstein’s downfall and the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in 2020 and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Weinstein is now facing fresh sex-related charges in Los Angeles.
Boies also admitted to contracting Black Cube on Weinstein’s behalf.
Insiders told CNBC a group of employees raised concerns about Boies’ work with Weinstein with a member of the management committee.
Then, several staff members also confronted Boies at a private retreat in 2017.
Boies admitted in a 2018 interview that he has made mistakes but was just doing his job.
Boies Schiller told CNBC in a statement: ‘Retaining Black Cube for Weinstein was a serious mistake as David has, himself, said. We have since implemented procedures ensuring that never happens again.
A spokesperson for Boies Schiller told CNBC the two founders were not making all the decisions at the company and that it is the managing partners that oversee the day-to-day running of the firm. David Boies pictured
‘Having said that, I don’t believe there is another firm where you can consistently do well while doing good at the scale and level we have historically done that and continue to today.’
Boies also previously represented Holmes in her dispute with the Wall Street Journal over its plans to release its damning expose on Theranos.
Despite efforts to quash the story, it was released.
Holmes is currently on trial accused of defrauding investors and customers in her medical company Theranos by falsely claiming to have developed technology that could run a wide range of health tests on a single drop of blood.
Her trial was put on pause Friday just three days after it began after a juror came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
As well as the ‘unsavory’ clients, several employees are said to have quit after being unhappy with its handling of issues with Josh Schiller, reported CNBC.
Josh allegedly tried to imitate a joke by black comedian Dave Chapelle comparing the use of the n-word to a homophobic slur while at a party hosted by then-partner Susan Estrich.
He later allegedly claimed it was a joke, a source told CNBC.
The incident is said to have left many staffers ‘horrified’ and Estrich sent a memo to leadership calling it inappropriate. She later left the firm.
Harrison was also allegedly unimpressed with the company’s treatment of Josh – which was topped off by the domestic abuse allegations leveled against him in January, reported CNBC.
Weinstein in court during a pre-trial hearing in July after being extradited from New York to Los Angeles to face sex-related charges in California
Josh is married to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s sister-in-law Melissa Siebel Schiller, whose sister is Newsom’s wife Jennifer.
Sources told CNBC several leaders were also unhappy that they weren’t consulted about Josh’s brother Aaron being awarded work on the company’s new offices.
Schwartz told CNBC that Schiller was not responsible for deciding to give the work to his son’s company.
‘It was made by other members of the firm management and was the process of competitive bidding,’ Schwartz said.
Harrison, who was seen to be next-in-line to lead the company, announced last week she was stepping down from her role as deputy chair.
This means she will no longer be able to be appointed to chair.
While she told CNBC she is ‘not in discussions with any other law firms, nor do I plan to enter into discussions with any other law firms, and any suggestion to the contrary is false,’ insiders said she could be leaving the firm soon.
Several sources said there have been concerns for some time around who will succeed the founders, citing a lack of succession planning in place.
Schwartz told CNBC he did not know of any plans for the founders retiring yet and insisted the law firm is ‘now run by a group of people that is much broader than the founding partners.’
‘The day to day is run exclusively by the four new managing partners, with guidance from, but not control by, the founding partners. That is the succession plan in action,’ he said.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Boies Schiller for comment.
MeToo Champion Gavin Newsom accepted a $300 bottle of wine from Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer David Boies, financial disclosures show
California Governor and #MeToo champion Gavin Newsom accepted an expensive bottle of wine from the lawyer hired to represent Harvey Weinstein and dig up dirt on the women who accused him of sexual assault.
Democratic superlawyer David Boies gave Newsom the $300 bottle of wine weeks after Boies led a smear campaign against Weinstein’s accusers, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Boies helps run prestigious law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which has also hit the headlines this weekend over a raft of staff departures linked to its work with Weinstein, Theranos founder Elizabeth Smart, and claims of nepotism linked to co-founder Jonathan Schiller’s two sons. The firm has denied claims of impropriety.
While others cut ties with Boies because of his work with the disgraced Hollywood producer, Newsom accepted the pricey gift on December 8, 2017, more than a month after reports revealed the lawyer worked to discredit Weinstein’s alleged victims.
The gift is set to reignite accusations that Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, helped Boies try to squash negative stories about Weinstein.
California Governor and #MeToo champion Gavin Newsom (left) accepted a $300 bottle of wine as a gift from Democratic superlawyer hired to represent Harvey Weinstein, David Boies (right), weeks after reports that the lawyer worked to discredit Weinstein’s alleged victims
David Boies (pictured right with Harvey Weinstein in 2002) was hired to represent the disgraced Hollywood producer and dig up dirt on the women who accused him of sexual assault
The gift will surely fuel accusations that Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom (right), helped Boies try to squash negative stories about Weinstein
Meanwhile, in the closing days of Newsom’s recall election – which ends on Tuesday – actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s alleged assault victims, told Dave Rubin on his show The Rubin Report that Newsom’s wife Jennifer called her back in 2017 to try and broker a deal between her and Boies to make the story go away.
‘This is about six months before the New York Times article on Weinstein that I set up broke,’ McGowan told Rubin.
Weinstein is pictured in 2016, the year before he was brought down by the #MeToo scandal and faced 11 additional sex crimes while already serving 23 years in New York
She added: ‘And she called me on behalf of a Theranos board member… long-time lawyer of Hillary and Bill Clinton and Weinstein, one David Boies. So this woman… some blonde lady with the last name of Newsom, cold calls me and is like, “David Boies wants to know what it would take to make you happy.”
‘I don’t know if it would be fiscal numeration. I don’t know. Absolutely nothing would make me happy.’
Despite McGowan’s allegations, Jennifer herself accused Weinstein of behaving inappropriately with her at a film festival years before the allegations against the 69-year-old came to light.
‘I was naïve, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,’ she penned in a column for the Huffington Post, which also slammed ‘the entire engine of Harvey Weinstein’s business and legal machines’ for working to silence victims.
Two months later Newsom accepted the bottle of wine.
Jennifer also championed the #MeToo movement along with her husband, who has claimed to be a dedicated ally.
Newsom called it ‘a cultural movement, not a political movement’ while campaigning in Sacramento in 2018, though he was at the center of his own sex scandal as mayor of San Francisco.
Actress Rose McGowan (pictured), one of Weinstein’s alleged assault victims, told Dave Rubin on his show The Rubin Report that Jennifer called her back in 2017 to try and broker a deal between her and Boies to make the story go away
A decade after the affair the now-governor is up for recall after the petition to remove him from office. The recall election ends Tuesday, September 14
He admitted to having an affair in February 2007 when he separated from his first wife Kimberly Guilfoyle with his subordinate Ruby Rippey-Tourk, who was also the wife of his chief campaign advisor.
Rippey-Tourk worked as Newsom’s appointment secretary. Her husband, Alex Tourk, resigned from Newsom’s campaign after he found out about their relationship.
Guilfoyle went on to become a Fox News host, and is now in a relationship with Donald Trump Jr.
Newsom said of the affair in Sacramento: ‘I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I learned an enormous amount from it. We were very open and honest about it… And I am, every day, trying to be a champion and a model.’
A decade after the affair the now-governor is up for recall after the petition to remove him from office following ‘laws he endorsed favor foreign nationals, in our country illegally, over that of our own citizens…the highest taxes in the nation, the highest homelessness rates and the lowest quality of life as a result,’ according to the petitioners’ grievances.
‘He has imposed sanctuary state status and fails to enforce immigration laws. He unilaterally over-ruled the will of the people regarding the death penalty. He seeks to impose additional burdens on our state by the following; removing the protections of Proposition 13, rationing our water use, increasing taxes and restricting parental rights,’ it added.
People behind the recall effort have slated Newsom over the Golden State’s draconian COVID restrictions, which went on longer than any other US state.
He outraged voters after dining inside at the ultra-exclusive French Laundry restaurant in November 2020, while urging Californians to stay out of restaurants.
And Newsom faced further accusations of being an out-of-touch hypocrite after admitting his kids had returned to in-person lessons at their private school in October 2020, while many Californian public school districts refused to do so.
Newsom has raised $70 million for his campaign, and is widely expected to survive the September 14 recall effort.
Republican challenger Larry Elder, who has pledged to take a far more libertarian attitude to governing should he win, is the candidate seen as the most likely to unseat Newsom should the polls prove wrong.