He was also the thought leader associated with seminal social issues such as marriage equality.
In addition, he was the former partner in BigLaw who turned his back on conventional status and went entrepreneurial. The firm he started - Boies Schiller Flexner - is not the one even top lawyers want to go up against in legal disputes.
That was then.
Now Boies' reputation is in tatters. His firm's brand may never recover, despite the spin he is desperately attempting.
It has been documented that Boies was behind the thuggish tactics to enable alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. Targeted by the spies he contracted with were not only women who might be accusers but also journalists such as at The New York Times. Here you can read all about it in Ronan Farrow's feature in The New Yorker.
In addition to a massive fall from grace (the world heard the thud yesterday), the New York Times Inc. fired Boies. The amazing thing was that simultaneously when he was lining up a spying operation on the newspaper's reporters he was representing the media company in other legal matters. Expect a film on this, but it probably won't be produced by the Weinstein Co.
In her coverage of Boies' getting the boot from the New York Times Inc., lawyer-journalist Kathryn Rubino at Abovethelaw quotes the stunning termination notice. Essentially the message is: Boies violated the trust of his client.
Here are excerpts:
"Such an operation [spying on reporters] is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision to continue using the firm. Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted."
In addition to Boies and his firm taking a body blow, so does the profession of lawyering. After all it was Boies who got hedge fund player Steve Cohen off the hook with the SEC. That freed up Cohen to again accept investment funds from outsiders. Should we admire that as "clever lawyering" or a "corruption of the U.S. legal system" - that is the new question.
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