The Most Dysfunctional Law Firm Ever?

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By Alex Aldridge on

The recently released testimony of dodgy American lawyer Scott Rothstein – sentenced to 50 years in jail for a $1.2bn (£770m) Ponzi scheme fraud – puts events at Hogan Lovells, where partner Chris Grierson amassed £1m in false expenses, firmly in the shade.

According to Rothstein:

His now defunct firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, was at one point spending $60,000 (£39,000) a month on escorts and prostitutes for its lawyers and clients – with the encounters taking place in a flat paid for by the firm across the road from its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Weed was routinely smoked by lawyers at the firm, with some partners getting stoned “in the office, in the garage, outside the office.” Rothstein added: “I had some partners that couldn’t come to work without smoking pot.”

Here’s a chunk of the amazing transcript:

Q: All right. So you said the only drugs you used were marijuana with your wife. Is she the only — you didn’t — that wasn’t incorporated in the rock-star lifestyle, using drugs with any of your investors or co-conspirators?

Rothstein: No, actually, never. Actually, I had a lot of opportunities to because there was a lot of marijuana smoking going on in my office, but it wasn’t something — I prefer to drink vodka.

Q: Actually in the office it was going on?

Rothstein: In the office, in the garage, outside the office, I had some partners that couldn’t come to work without smoking pot.

Q: Okay.

Rothstein: I also found out they were actually dealing drugs in the office. I actually tried to put a stop to that.

Q: That was one crime you wouldn’t tolerate?

Rothstein: No, no, it’s not that. I didn’t want to draw attention. You don’t want to have marijuana dealing from the middle of your law office because I was running a giant Ponzi scheme out of there.

Q: Did you ever have any of the escorts visit the office?

Rothstein: Yeah. Sure.

Q: You had had prostitutes in the office, but you wouldn’t have pot?

Rothstein: You’re missing the point. The police also were sleeping with my escorts….Pot, not a great idea in the office, I don’t know why, specifically, it bothered me; but it troubled me, probably because they were actually dealing the pot out of the office while I was in the middle of running a several-hundred-million-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Elsewhere in the testimony, Rothstein reacted with fury, and stormed out of the room, when asked if he’d been involved in the 2008 murder of Melissa Britt Lewis, a partner at the firm who he was romantically involved with. The insinuation of the questioning was that Lewis might have been murdered because she discovered Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme.