The attorney-client relationship, by itself, one-on-one, like all human relationships can be deeply rewarding and fulfilling (“DR&F”). It can also be crazy-making and ruinous (“CM&R”). Representing multiple parties inevitably skews the balance in a bad direction. That is, Client x (>1) = > P(CM&R) + <P(DR&F), where “P” = probability.
If you think of the provision of legal services (whether transactional or litigation) as a decision tree, like a chess match, every branch on that tree, every “decision node,” may present a consequential decision with risk that, ultimately, may materialize. If a lawyer has two clients and she does not have unanimous fully informed buy-in by all of her clients at every node, woe to her when she sacrifices the bishop to take a rook, and, in hindsight, one of multiple disappointed clients sees that as the turning point that led to check mate. Triple woe when the fallout from decision harms one of multiple clients in particular.
Notwithstanding the increased risk of multiparty representation, which does not include a corresponding benefit, lawyers represent multiple parties all the time. Why? To save money, of course. And also, closely related to that shortsightedness, because of a human tendency to under-appreciate unpleasant risks (a.k.a. “denial”) — like your business partner whom you adore might some day be adverse to you. And also because it often works out fine and saves money. (Just as texting while driving works out often as well. (Check this out, by the way: a “St. Paul Distracted Driving Lawyer.”))
And this brings us to the recently filed professional malpractice lawsuit brought by Richard Ledin against the Twin Cities law firm of Moss & Barnett and distinguished Minneapolis lawyer, Thomas Shroyer.
Ledin and his accounting firm Schecter Dokken Kanter (SDK) assisted investors, it is alleged, in accounting services related to an entity specifically set up to provide money to Bernie Madoff “for investment.”
Ledin was the accountant for this investment vehicle (called RD&D) and was also “managing shareholder” (which presumably put him in the position of being viewed as both a victim and a perpetrator (if perhaps only by negligence as opposed to intentional wrong-doing) at the same time).
One “Shimek” appears to have brought a lawsuit against Ledin and SDK in connection with the collapse, presumably of RD&D, built, as it was, on a rickety foundation of fraud. According to Ledin’s complaint, Shroyer and Moss & Barnett represented both Ledin and SDK in the defense of the Shimek action.
Until the lawyers withdrew from representing Ledin and then sued him (and his wife, and his daughters) on behalf of SDK.
It would seem that the SDK/Ledin laweyers, Moss & Barnett and Shroyer, undertook an investigation and the result of their investigation cast Ledin in a bad light. So they turned on him.