The Theranos Story, ch. 26: counsel Boies, Schiller & Flexner departs, disagreeing

click to enlargeAppearing in the netherworld of a Saturday weekend edition before a holiday week was this tidbit in the Wall Street Journal announcing that Theranos‘ legal representation will no longer be big, politically connected NY-based law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Their replacement is a big, politically connected Washington, DC-based law firm, WilmerHale.

Reasons why, according to the John Carreyrou article, are disagreements on how to handle the ongoing multiple government investigations of Theranos. It also follows the September departure of in-house general counsel, and former Boies partner, Heather King, who is returning to the firm. Her replacement is David Taylor, who has no visible ties to WilmerHale.

According to Mr Carreyrou, Mr Boies “became Theranos’s outside counsel after being approached in 2011 by two investors in the Palo Alto, Calif., startup. He fiercely defended Theranos against questions about its technology and operations.” Those actions included threats of legal action against the WSJ and pressuring whistleblower Tyler Shultz (ch. 25).

Mr Boies also sits on the Theranos board. His fate there is not disclosed, yet.

David Boies is known as a bare-knucks litigator involved in high profile cases defending Sony, American Express and Big Tobacco, and against Medco, Microsoft and George Bush in the 2000 presidential election. At 75, the chairman is one of the best known figures in what is colorfully termed Big Law.

Perhaps another reason why is found at the end of the article. “The law firm was paid in Theranos stock for its work on the patent case, according to a person familiar with the matter. Boies Schiller was granted more than 300,000 shares valued at $4.5 million, based on a valuation of $15 a share at the time, this person said.” Since this $9 bn Unicorn is now worth about $9, this was a bad investment, indeed.

But Elizabeth Holmes, and whoever is left, are soldiering on to “show who we are through our inventions.” Indeed.

If the link hits the paywall, search on “Theranos and David Boies Cut Legal Ties”.  See here for the 25 previous TTA chapters in this Continuing Saga.

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