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If You Have to Lose a Jury Trial, This Is the Way To Do It

Akin Gump partner Michele Roberts didn't win a complete victory for her client, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in its dispute over compensation with its ex-partner Douglas Rosenthal.   But she won something possibly even more valuable -- praise for her efforts from the jury.

As today's Legal Times reports, a D.C. jury found that the Sonnenschein owed Rosenthal close to $1 million as compensation for high-value contingency cases -- such as representation of families killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 102 over Lockerbie -- that Rosenthal brought to the firm.  The jury's award, however, was far less than the $8.2 million that Rosenthal sought.   Moreover, the jury also awarded Sonnenschein $300,000, to compensate it for Rosenthal's interference with firm clients after his departure in 2005.

As for Roberts, she won praise from the jurors, several of whom expressed that she and her co-counsel, Bingham's James Hamilton outperformed Rosenthal's legal team.  Said one juror:

I didn’t believe Ms. Roberts as much, but she was such a brilliant litigator that I was leaning toward her direction,” said Stofferson, who works for the federal government.

Daniel Petrocelli, who unsuccessfully defended Jeff Skilling against felony fraud charges related to Enron's collapse, is another lawyer who lost but won.  As we posted previously, jurors said that they'd hire Petrocelli... if they could afford him.

If you have to lose a jury trial, winning the jury's endorsement is probably the best way to do it.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 31, 2008 at 04:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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