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BigLaw's Naughtiest Lawyers: The Showdown

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 29, 2017 7:00 AM

How's your March Madness bracket doing? If it's like mine, you've probably given up. Which is fine, since college basketball isn't what matters. The law matters. And when it comes to leaders in the legal field, we've got plenty of titans.

We're not talking about the industry's biggest rainmakers here, nor the most innovative changemakers. We're talking about attorneys who are the best at behaving badly. Really badly.

Legal Madness

If you haven't seen it, Above the Law is running a bracket of lawyers behaving badly -- that is, attorneys who are the best at being the worst. And there are some real characters in there. The first round has finished and we're down to the top eight.

So, who made the cut?

In the "Al Capone" category, we have two attorneys accused of making off with millions in wrongful gains. Keila Ravelo was a Columbia Law grad who went on to become a partner at Willkie. Then things took a turn when she was arrested, accused of stealing millions from her former firms by billing for bogus "legal consulting fees." To make matters worse, her husband was also accused of being the head of a drug trafficking ring. And who said BigLaw partners were boring?

Ravelo is facing off against John O'Brien, another lawyer with some money problems. O'Brien was a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell when he left "due to an issue relation to his taxes." That issue: not filing income-tax returns for the better part of a decade. Gosh, how'd the IRS ever spot that?

Alongside Ravelo and O'Brien, Jeffrey Wertkin is up against Carlos Spinelli-Noseda. If you're not familiar with Wertkin, he was the highly successful attorney who was caught, bewigged, trying to pawn off a sealed whistleblower complaint for $310,000. Why, Jeffrey?

Wertkin is up against Spinelli-Noseda, formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell. Spinelli-Noseda is accused of billing clients more than half a million in fake travel and entertainment expenses. Frankly, if you ask us, this one doesn't seem like much of a matchup.

And that's just the start. There's still a matchup between a lawyer serving more than 17 years in jail for child porn (one of the most disturbing cases in the bunch) and Evan Greebel, lawyer to Martin Shkreli, the most punchable man in biotech. Rounding up the bunch, there are two lawyers whose crimes are relatively tame: an airplane meltdown and a threatening voicemail.

You can check out the brackets here and here and, if you get in soon enough, you might even have a chance to vote before the field is narrowed down to the final four.

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