Did Nixon Peabody Get A Retainer Out Of Serial Lawyer-Stiffer Donald Trump?

trump smile via dbNixon Peabody is in disarray after the firm took on Donald Trump as a client in secret, publicly filed a motion parroting Trump talking points downplaying January 6, and when the rest of the firm asked why it’s putting its reputation on the line like this, leadership told them to kindly pound sand.

There are calls for leadership to step down and for the team repping Trump to follow the lead of every other Trump attorney with Biglaw roots and leave the firm before going further. So far, no action on either front.

But a reader’s insightful question got us wondering: put aside the damage to client relationships, the professional risks of slapping the firm name on buffoonish political talking points masquerading as legal arguments, and the shattered trust among the partnership following a cloak and dagger attempt to slip repping the most famous wingnut in the world past the rest of the partners… did Nixon Peabody get a retainer? And, if so, how much?

One would think so. Securing a retainer is standard procedure. But then again, so is running a potential client by the rest of the partnership and that didn’t happen, so who knows?

Trump is notorious for stiffing lawyers, as Rudy Giuliani knows well. And it’s not a new phenomenon either. Several months ago, a former Biglaw attorney told me that back in the 1980s, his firm held a party after winning a key victory for Trump’s business empire and The Donald crashed the event to tell the celebrating attorneys that he wasn’t going to pay their invoices. The firm eventually got paid but only after taking an unspecified haircut.

Firm CEO Stephen Zubiago has indicated that the case came to the firm through the GOP and not Trump specifically. Substantively, it doesn’t matter who referred the case because Trump is, ultimately, the client. As a procedural matter, it might mean the Republican Party and not Trump picked up the tab on this one. Though, query why the GOP would view it as a party matter to get clarity on whether throwing a coup triggers the Fourteenth Amendment.

Actually, scratch that. OBVIOUSLY, the GOP should view it as a party matter since it will surely come up again — but why would the GOP want the public to know the party is legitimately worried about candidates attempting coups again?

If Trump or his campaign is on the hook… is the firm covered? Motion practice can get pricey!

And the only thing that could irk Biglaw partners more than having the firm go behind their backs and making risky, embarrassing moves… is not getting paid for it.

Earlier: Trump Stiffs Rudy For All His Amazing Legal Services
Nixon Peabody Partners Meet Over Repping Donald Trump, Managing Partner Called On To Step Down
Biglaw Firm Adds Donald Trump As Client… Rest Of The Firm May Not Be Too Happy About It
After Nixon Peabody Hitched Itself To Donald Trump, Blindsided Partners Told To Get Over It
Some Clients Aren’t Worth The Risk For Biglaw… And, Yes, We Mean Donald Trump

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.


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