Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting To Know You: The Vetting of Elizabeth Warren


One of the best-deserved vetttings in this election cycle is that of MA Senate candidate and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. First, there was the revelation that she had advanced her career through a risible claim of having Cherokee blood. More seriously, blogger William Jacobson has made a very persuasive case that Warren was practicing law out of her Harvard office without being licensed in Massachusetts.
The Warren campaign refuses to detail the full scope of Warren’s private legal activities from her Cambridge office, but details are being uncovered day by day. Much as with Warren’s history of “checking the box,” Warren’s campaign makes categorical statements, refuses to release records, and waits to see if others will be able to find details and documents. 
The evidence mounts day by day that Warren did a lot more than “dabble” in the practice of law from her Massachusetts office. Among other things, Warren represented to the Texas Bar that Cambridge was her “primary practice location,” in 2002 billed over $14,000 for “professional legal services” in the GAF bankruptcy case, and even entered a court appearance for a Massachusetts client in 2001 on Massachusetts legal issues in a federal court in Massachusetts. 
More details are coming out about the extensive nature of Warren’s private practice.
In a March 20, 2002, Verified Statement (embedded at bottom of post), Warren submitted in the Kaiser Aluminum bankruptcy, Warren detailed for the Court the extensive nature of her law practice at that time, which included at least 9 bankruptcy matters plus other legal work. 
Interestingly, Warren disclosed that she had advised Dow Chemical Company, in keeping with a long history of representing large corporate entities:
This is, of course, awesome, the more so because it was uncovered by a middle aged attorney in Rhode Island, rather than our vaunted professional media. (although professional GOP operatives should hang their heads in shame for missing such an obvious path of investigation. Doesn't anyone do oppo research any more?) Interestingly, Warren was licensed in Texas and in New Jersey...until two weeks ago when she abruptly resigned from the NJ Bar, another avenue of inquiry that the MSM and the Brown campaign will no doubt be pursuing with all deliberate dispatch.

Warren's defenders initially defended her by saying she was only representing clients in federal court (especially on appeal), and didn't need to have a MA license to do so, a plausible defense, in my opinion, but Jacobson has unconvered enough examples of Warren representing MA clients in MA state court to blow this defense out of the water. It really does look like she was practicing law without a license, which opens one up to civil and criminal liability.

Even without the lurid/exciting possiblity of Warren being frog-marched out of her campaign headquarters by investigators from the State Bar, this is great stuff. That's because examining Warren's career as an attorney has shown her to be a corporate flack, rather than the tribune of the Middle Class that she has claimed to be. Brown was getting at this in their debate, but the details are crying out for the detailed examination of a major media investigation, rather than the sound-bite intesive atmosphere of a debate "moderated" by one of warren's media partisans.

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