The legal world set ablaze with the news that two of the biggest law giants on the east coast are at war. The New York Post noted this is not new at all. The two fought for over a year up until this point.
WGRZ has the text of the case. Ross Cellino Jr. and Stephen Barnes are known for their easy to remember number and jingle. Now, they’re known for their knock out, drag out fight. The case is in front of the Buffalo, NY Supreme Court.
The two seem to disagree on nearly every part of their business. This included how to market the firm, attracting clients, and more. One of the final straws seems to be that Barnes refused to hire Cellino’s daughter Jeanna. Cellino aims to break up the firm. However, Barnes strongly opposes this.
Many personal injury attorneys were surprised when the New York attorneys started to really market and franchise their name in California several years ago. We started seeing offices pop up everywhere, along with web pages, television and radio ads. Their market focus appears to be Los Angeles, the most competitive market in California for injury lawyers. So one could see why it would be hard to spend that much getting cases and not have disagreements.
What Happens to the Cases?
There are many possibilities here. In a smaller firm, there may be a simple separation. However, in such a large, known firm the case changes. Furthermore, media scrutiny makes it more interesting.
The Buffalo News reported that mediation attempts failed. Also, the firm employs 300 people. Their jobs are up in the air. One New York attorney said that a judge might need to hire a broker or auctioneer to sell off the firm’s assets.
Furthermore, this could take a long time and money. It could also destroy each one of the attorney’s reputations. In most cases, compromises are made. However, in some, the two go to war.
The two attorneys should probably also consider their employees. They likely don’t want to displace anyone. Clearly, they just don’t see eye to eye. Furthermore, the acrimonious fight between the two serves as a negative precedent for other firms’ dissolution. The battle may have damaged their brand’s marketing in California and their home state of New York. Maybe not though.
I have personally seen a bump in their web traffic since the announcement. Sometimes there is no such thing as bad press, as they say. Each one understands the stakes.
In addition, the client base could become shattered through a loss of faith. What client stays under these circumstances? What injury victim risks their family’s well being? It appears that the California attorneys the New York based firm hires to sign up and manage their California cases have agreements which prevent the local case handlers from taking the clients.
So this could be causing some people to just stay. Or maybe the clients will just hire a resident California firm to handle their California cases? Only time will tell.
Regardless of how it all shakes out it will certainly be interesting. Ehline Law covers the ongoing situation right here. In conclusion, keep this page bookmarked for updates.