Defenders of Elizabeth Warren’s failure to obtain a Massachusetts law license have argued that Warren did not operate an office for the practice of law or maintain a systematic and continuous presence in Massachusetts for the practice of law because all she allegedly did was help write a few Briefs in the Supreme Court and out-of-state federal courts.

Michael Fredrickson, General Counsel of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers even took the unusual move of giving media interviews defending Warren before any investigation, suggesting that a law professor who merely “dabbles” in legal consulting doesn’t need to be licensed.  Fredrickson later clarified that he merely was expressing a personal opinion, and that he really didn’t know much about Warren’s practice.

The Warren campaign refuses to detail the full scope of Warren’s private legal activities from her Cambridge office, but details are being uncovered day by day.  Much as with Warren’s history of “checking the box,” Warren’s campaign makes categorical statements, refuses to release records, and waits to see if others will be able to find details and documents.

The evidence mounts day by day that Warren did a lot more than “dabble” in the practice of law from her Massachusetts office.   Among other things, Warren represented to the Texas Bar that Cambridge was her “primary practice location,” in 2002 billed over $14,000 for “professional legal services” in the GAF bankruptcy case,  and even entered a court appearance for a Massachusetts client in 2001 on Massachusetts legal issues in a federal court in Massachusetts.

More details are coming out about the extensive nature of Warren’s private practice.

In a March 20, 2002, Verified Statement (embedded at bottom of post), Warren submitted in the Kaiser Aluminum bankruptcy, Warren detailed for the Court the extensive nature of her law practice at that time, which included at least 9 bankruptcy matters plus other legal work.

Interestingly, Warren disclosed that she had advised Dow Chemical Company, in keeping with a long history of representing large corporate entities:

10. …. In addition to these academic and legislative activities, have consulted with a number of companies on mass tort issues. I served in an advisory capacity to Dow Chemical, the parent company of Dow Coming, in the early days of the Dow Coming bankruptcy I have assisted the Johns Manville ‘rust and the National Gypsum Trust in appellate litigation. I have been an expert witness on behalf of the National Gypsum Trust and the Fuller Austin trust.  These trusts were formed as part of the confirmation of a plan of reorganization in mass tort asbestos bankruptcies. I have assisted in the preparation for petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in two cases involving future claims, one in an environmental context and one in an employee liability context. I have argued a case on behalf of Fairchild Aviation, an airplane manufacturer facing future claims liability. I have filed an amicus brief in future claims litigation involving Piper Aircraft. [Note – it appears there was a paragraph numbering problem in the original, and that the above paragraph was supposed to be numbered “11”]

12. In addition, I am working with Caplin & Drysdale as a consultant in Chapter 11 proceedings involving the Babcock & Wilcox Company, Pittsburgh Coming Corporation, Owens Coming Corporation, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., W.R. Grace & Company, G-1 Holdings, Inc., United States Gypsum Corporation, Federal-Mogul Global, Inc. and North American Refractories Company.

In addition to the nine bankruptcy cases, we also know that Warren was working on the  FCC v. Nextwave Communications case detailed in my original post.  Even if none of the additional matters listed in paragraph 10 of Warren’s Verified Statement were active in 2002, that would mean Warren was involved in handling a minimum of 10 active private legal matters during 2002.

That hardly is “dabbling” in the practice of law.  Of course, there may be more, but the Warren campaign will not disclose anything other than the few Supreme Court briefs she worked on.

It is significant that Warren informed the Court in the opening paragraph that she was admitted in Texas, but did not inform the Court that she had been on inactive status since 1992.  Additionally, Warren designated her Cambridge location as her office in connection with this retention:

There are other interesting details in the Verified Statement which will be explored in future posts, such as the Harvard disclosure and reporting requirements, the guidelines limiting faculty to spending 20% of their time on non-law school related matters, and this admonition from the Harvard Law School Faculty Manual in effect in 2001-2002 against the unauthorized practice of law:

The investigation will continue.

[Special thanks to Morgen Richmond, who used to blog at Verum Serum, for helping locate documents referred to here and which will be referred to in upcoming posts.]

In Re Kaiser – Elizabeth Warren Verified Statement by Legal Insurrection


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