All major Internet entrepreneurs with complex lives need legal advice. That is especially true for Kim Dotcom, who needs clerks just to keep up with the mountains of paperwork generated by his myriad legal issues.
Currently the Megaupload founder is dealing with legal action in three major jurisdictions – the United States, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In the former matters are handled by lawyer Ira Rothken, a veteran of copyright cases who also runs Dotcom’s worldwide legal operations. In the latter, however, Dotcom now has new issues to overcome.
The first signs of developments in New Zealand came on November 6 when Rothken tweeted, “We are looking for awesome lawyers in NZ and US to assist our global legal team in the @KimDotcom related cases.” Rothken also linked interested parties to a new site titled MegaScholar.
Now, almost a week later, it’s been revealed that high-profile Queen’s Counsel Paul Davison, QC, and Simpson Grierson, one of New Zealand’s biggest lawfirms, are stepping down from Dotcom’s legal team.
“Paul Davison & Simpson Grierson of NZ are stepping down from @KimDotcom legal team. They did world-class legal work & were great colleagues,” Rothken tweeted.
Davison has been representing Dotcom in his U.S. extradition case and various Simpson Grierson partners including William Akel and Tracey Walker have represented the entrepreneur in civil actions brought by the Hollywood studios.
While Rothken has made it clear that he was pleased with the work of the outgoing legal team, there is a rather unusual element to the story. When we searched the Simpson Grierson website for the history of the Dotcom case, it appears that the company has erased it, an unusual move for such a high-profile action.
And it doesn’t stop there. Senior litigation partner William Akel has removed all reference to Dotcom from his case history. The image below shows his profile, before and after, with Dotcom’s case now erased.
Partner Greg Towers has gone one step further. Not only has he deleted all mention of Dotcom from his profile but has also erased references to the work he did with Mega, the cloud-hosting service founded by Dotcom.
But perhaps most telling is the way Chairman Kevin Jaffe has attempted to distance his company from Kim Dotcom.
Announcing the first edition of ‘Aluminate’ – the Simpson Grierson alumni newsletter, Jaffe singled out Dotcom’s case as one of just two big company projects worthy of a mention. As can be seen below, a year on and history has just been rewritten.(Original: Bing cache, rewrite here)
Of course, as is professional in these circumstances, no one is saying anything on the record about why Simpson Grierson has parted with Dotcom. However, with Dotcom’s extradition battle only a few months away, the timing could hardly have been worse for the Megaupload founder.
Dotcom and Rothken are now racing against the clock to bring new lawyers on board which, incidentally, is also something Simpson Grierson have just done with the appointment of former New Zealand Minister of Justice, Tony Ryall.