Stanley Brand Quoted in Law360 Article on Responsibility of Lawyers in Absence of Paid Bills
Akin Gump senior counsel Stanley Brand is quoted in the Law360 article “Fattah’s Attys Bound By Ethical Duty Despite Unpaid Bills,” regarding a corruption case against Rep. Chaka Fattah for which the congressman has stopped paying his legal bills.
The article reports, the federal judge overseeing Fattah’s trial in Pennsylvania has ruled that the two law firms representing him cannot withdraw from the case because they understood the financial risk they had assumed when they took on the matter. The judge pointed to a rule in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania requiring lawyers in criminal cases to continue representing their clients until final disposition.
Brand, who has significant experience representing elected officials in ethics-related matters, said the situation faced by Fattah’s lawyers was common when taking on high-profile clients. “It’s a hard issue, and law firms and lawyers get stuck in the position these lawyers are in all the time,” he said. “The assumption that you have to make going into these cases is that you’re not going to get 100 cents on the dollar and, at some point, you’re going to have to eat some of it.”
In the meantime, Brand said Fattah’s lawyers will have to make do with the resources at their disposal. “So you don’t get a jury consultant,” he said. “They won’t be able to do all the things they’d want to do, but I’m sure they’ll put up a good defense.”
Brand added that he did not think a lack of resources on the part of Fattah’s lawyers would make for a solid argument on appeal. “Cases over ineffective assistance of counsel generally revolve around the competence and thoroughness of the trial lawyers, not whether they could hire a jury consultant or call 13 other witnesses which would be cumulative of each other.”