Dechert faces 3 UK trials, 2 US suits stemming from 1 former partner’s work
The Royal Courts of Justice in London houses the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Photo from Shutterstock.
Dechert is “aggressively defending itself” in three upcoming trials in the United Kingdom and in two lawsuits in the United States that have one common thread: a connection to former U.K. partner Neil Gerrard.
Bloomberg Law has the story on the legal troubles by Dechert, which has denied impropriety. Gerrard has also denied suit claims.
Gerrard was global co-chair of the law firm’s white-collar and securities litigation practice before his retirement in 2020.
The “spate of allegations” is “raising questions about how many dollars in damages and reputational costs Dechert will rack up before litigation tied to Gerrard is finished,” according to Bloomberg Law.
Gerrard was a “star lawyer” when he was recruited to Dechert in 2011, bringing with him a promise of a potential $24 million in fees and his mining client, the Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., according to Bloomberg Law.
The Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. wanted Gerrard’s help for an internal probe of its Kazakhstan mining operation, but the company now says Gerrard leaked information to investigators and the media in hopes of widening the probe and hiking his fees.
A London judge concluded last year that Gerrard was at fault for the leaks, and he acted in “reckless breach of duty.” A damages trial begins March 6.
Other allegations involve Gerrard’s work for Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab Emirates. He is accused of conspiring to hack and release the emails of the emirate’s enemies and participating in the questioning of executives who were unlawfully detained.
Bloomberg Law reports that suits were filed by:
• Missouri-based aviation entrepreneur Farhad Azima, who had been involved in commercial ventures with Ras Al Khaimah. He alleged in an October 2022 civil racketeering suit that Gerrard conspired to hack and release data in a bid to silence his complaints about the emirate’s human rights abuses. The suit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
• Fired reporter Jonathan “Jay” Solomon of the Wall Street Journal, who alleged in an October 2022 civil racketeering suit that his email communications with Azima were swept up in the hack. He was fired in June 2017 because some “suggestive language” in the emails impugned his integrity, the suit says. The suit is pending in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
• Karam Al Sadeq, a Jordanian lawyer who claims that Gerrard and other former partners participated in his unlawful detention and mistreatment, according to story by the Law Society Gazette. The suit is pending in the Queen’s Bench Division of the U.K.’s High Court of Justice.
• Jihad Quzmar, another Jordanian lawyer who brought a suit similar to Al Sadeq’s, according to the Law Society Gazette. The suit is also pending in the Queen’s Bench Division of the U.K.’s High Court of Justice.
• Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, a London firm representing Al Sadeq, according to another story in the Law Society Gazette. The firm’s suit alleges attempted hacking. It is also pending in the Queen’s Bench Division of the U.K.’s High Court of Justice.
Dechert and Gerard have said they weren’t aware of hacking targeting Azima, and they have denied allegations by the lawyers who claim that they were unlawfully detained.