The Firms

March 24, 2011 5:45 PM

Defunct Firm WolfBlock Still Embroiled in Legal Disputes

Posted by Irene Plagianos

WolfBlock dissolved two years ago, but the defunct Philadelphia-based firm's legal and financial woes are far from over. The firm's outside lawyers and wind-down committee still are trying to collect money from more than 40 partners, hammer out deals with creditors and handle suits filed by former lawyers and clients, sister publication The Legal Intelligencer reports.

The process of winding down the firm has been delayed by an arbitration initiated by the firm against partners who have refused to give back two months' worth of compensation paid out right before the firm voted to dissolve. Since partners are paid off of profits, and the firm had no profits at the time of dissolution, the firm has argued that the money should be returned. WolfBlock already has recouped about $2 million from 97 former partners; another $1.5 million from 48 partners is outstanding.

The firm's wind-down committee consists of former WolfBlock attorneys Brian Flaherty, Patrick Matusky, and Stuart Pachman. Flaherty is now at Cozen O'Connor, Matusky is at Duane Morris, and Pachman stayed with the former Roseland, N.J., office of WolfBlock, which became Brach Eichler. Greenberg Traurig's Leslie Corwin is representing the committee. James Golden of Hamburg & Golden is representing the nonequity partners in the arbitration, which started in August.

Also adding to the complicated wind-down process, according to the Intelligencer--in March, WolfBlock filed two suits against two individuals in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court seeking unpaid legal fees that total more than $200,000. Aside from these recent cases, the firm has filed 17 other suits against former clients since it dissolved in March 2009, trying to recoup $1.86 million in fees.

The firm also is being hit with suits filed by former vendors like LexisNexis seeking unpaid bills, former clients, and a former partner, Michael A. Budin. He sued the firm in March 2010, after WolfBlock stopped paying his severance after the dissolution. The case is on appeal in the Pennsylvania superior court.

The dissolution has also been rough on WolfBlock staff. Former partner Jonathan Segal, now of Duane Morris, and former human resources manager Ann Marie Dimino have worked to find jobs for WolfBlock employees. But about 40-50 former staff are still without new jobs.

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