HK – Managing Partner Ryan Accused of the Perfect Crime

In HK on December 27, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Former Holland & Knight Partner Accused of the Perfect Crime

Posted by Nathan Koppel

hkSeveral years back, we blogged about a WSJ profile of Matthew Farmer, a former Chicago partner at Holland & Knight who blew the whistle when he believed a fellow partner had inflated bills to a client.

Farmer in 2005 reported to the firm, and then to Illinois bar authorities and to a trial court, that partner Edward Ryan had allegedly inflated by more than 450 hours the hours that he and other firm lawyers (including Farmer) had actually worked on a litigation matter.

Holland & Knight took no action and told WSJ that Ryan and the firm did nothing wrong. “The amount billed by Holland & Knight in the litigation was reasonable and appropriate,” L. Kinder Cannon III, the firm’s general counsel told WSJ.

We now have an update on the matter. Last month, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission decided to file charges against Ryan, accusing him of falsifying time on client invoices. Here is a copy of the complaint, in which the disciplinary board requests a hearing on the matter.

Ryan left Holland & Knight earlier this year, and he could not be located for comment.

“We are aware the ARDC has filed a complaint,” Holland & Knight told the Law Blog. “Mr. Ryan is no longer with the firm. Holland & Knight is not a party to these proceedings; therefore we have no further comment.”

After blowing the whistle, Farmer left the firm in 2006 and now works at Chicago’s Cohn Baughman & Martin. “Bill-padding is the perfect crime,” an ethics specialst told WSJ at the time. It is virtually impossible, he said, for clients to know whether “an attorney really spent three hours doing research instead of five hours.”

Posted via email from Case Investigation


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