I don’t blame Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro — one of California’s top showbiz law firms having represented Paramount, Sony, Disney, MGM/UA, among others — for trumpeting even the smallest achievement these days. After all, the fact that it’s alive and kicking is a minor miracle. So, with every flourish, it celebrated the elevation of three attorneys to partners (including Jay Handlin, litigation specialist in entertainment and copyright law) and boasted about another banner year for its clients and itself. But did the Century City firm have to allow accused Pellicano scandal defendant Terry Christensen (photo left), still managing partner despite being the first attorney indicted by the feds in the thug P.I.’s case, to make the announcement yesterday? (Seems like a dumb-ass move to me.) “Our firm’s success can be attributed, in part, to the confidence that our clients continue to place in us year after year,” Christensen said in the PR statement. “They trust us to represent them in difficult and complex cases. They know that every attorney in our Firm is committed to providing the highest level of client service in the most efficient manner and have an outstanding track record of success,” he added. This, from the guy who’s accused in a two-count indictment by a federal grand jury of paying Pellicano at least $100,000 to record and report on telephone conversations between Lisa Bonder Kerkorian and her attorney in 2002 while she was embroiled in a child support dispute with Christensen’s client, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. Christensen “would use the information gleaned from the illegal wiretap to secure a tactical advantage in litigation by learning Lisa Bonder Kerkorian’s plans, strategies, perceived strengths and weaknesses, settlement position and other confidential information,” according to the indictment. (Christensen says he’s innocent.) Yet Christensen Glaser added 12 lawyers to its roster of 110 staff attorneys in 2006 despite the dire predictions that the firm would implode because of Christensen’s indictment. Not on pitbull Patty Glaser’s watch, which is why she was elevated to second name at the firm in the midst of the crisis after the former No. 2 partner, Skip Miller, exited abruptly. But Glaser (photo above left) has been the firm’s official spokesperson since April, replacing Christensen; so why not on this new press release? Meanwhile, the firm’s troubles continue. In July, a California appeals court unanimously ruled that a legal secretary who was fired after she accused Christensen Glaser partner Robert Shapiro (photo below left) of overbilling clients can sue the firm for wrongful termination. (The ruling overturned a lower court decision that she had not proved her firing violated rules protecting whistle-blowers.) Then, within days, Shapiro (of O.J. legal team infamy) settled with an attorney who had sued him for allegedly siphoning $6 million from the proceeds of a $90 million death futures scam — just as jury selection was about to start. Christensen Glaser was originally named as a defendant, but a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dropped the firm from the civil suit. Just a month later in August, a civil suit was filed against Christensen and the firm seeking monetary damages on behalf of Lisa Kerkorian’s attorney Stephen Kolodny, whom the feds allege was illegally wiretapped. If all this happened in 2006, I can’t imagine what 2007 will be like for the firm.
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