Patton Boggs Admits Regret for Role in Chevron Case

, New York Law Journal


Patton Boggs has ended its role in long-running, multibillion environmental litigation against Chevron involving Ecuador with the announcement that it agreed to pay the oil giant $15 million and admitted regret for its role in the case.

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What's being said

  • R. Barker

    Anonymous does not address the points I made -- contingency fees lead to the perception that the law itself is contingent. And the pressure for those fees lead lawyers and their firms down a road that should not be traveled -- as Patton Boggs has found out. There is a reason that contingency fees were banned as inappropriate to the profession for most of the history of our profession. Or should we still speak of law as a profession -- or merely a service?

    Anonymous raises the further defense of contingency -- the taking of meritorious but complex suits. This is only true if the meritorious suit is a big one. Try to find a lawyer to take a meritorious med mal case with damages under $250,000, or with pain and suffering capped, as in California. If the case is truly meritorious, the lawyer can take the risk that the client will one day be able to pay his or her fees. Otherwise, this further promotes the jackpot justice view of the law -- some are lucky, some are not.

  • Anonymous

    In response to R. Barker, I understand your frustration at contingency fees but how many individuals can pay on an hourly basis for a meritorious but complex suit against a deep pocket defendant willing to spend a plaintiff to death. Given the amount of time and resources that a law firm would have to dedicate to such a suit, even pro bono would not be an option.

  • R Barker

    A shameful episode for Patton Boggs, mitigated partially by the admitted "regret" and worsened by the 65 recent layoffs because of falling revenue. When lawyers count on contingency for their profit, the law becomes contingent. And then participating in activities that are pierced through the "crime-fraud" exception is only a slight step from the ethical viewpoint of contingent law. Congratulations to Chevron for exposing this kind of legal practice. Shameful indeed.

  • Ravi Batra

    Randy Mastro has done an amazing job for his client.

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