Pillsbury partner Robert Robbins is facing some stern looks at his firm this week after it was revealed that he was the inadvertent source of the leaks of the firm’s plan to lay off lawyers that found its way to the Above the Law website. It turns out the Robbins took the opportunity to speak loudly on a cellphone on a train about the secret firings of almost two dozen lawyers, including listing them by name. He was sitting next to a law student at the time.
The student says that Robbins was emphasizing that the firings should be kept ultrasecret in his less than discrete call. ATL blogger David Lat then confirmed the call by emailing him under the guise of someone named “Jennifer Everett,” and asking if he was on the train yesterday? He then confirmed that he was.
There is apparently a whole industry for such snooping, including such sites as Overheard. Of course, some overheard cellphone conversations comes with great political intrigue and legal wrangling like the Boehner v. McDermott litigation though such calls are usually not the result of loud conversations (as opposed to inadvertent interceptions or, as in the Gingrich case someone leaking a tape as a participant to the conversation). There can be liability for the disclosure of private facts in such a conversation when you are naming names of employees.
Here is Robbins’ bio:
is leader of the firm’s Corporate & Securities practice section, which includes approximately 225 lawyers in New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, London, Tokyo and Shanghai. His practice involves the legal aspects of securities offerings, mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, investment management and private investment funds. In the last year he has handled public company acquisitions with an aggregate value of over $10 billion and has assisted in institutional private offerings totaling over €1 billion.
In 2007, he headed the Pillsbury team that represented Crescent Real Estate Equities Company in its $6.5 billion acquisition by Morgan Stanley Real Estate, and the team that represented the special committee of independent directors of Laureate Education Inc. in Laureate’s $3.9 billion acquisition by a management-led buy-out group in a negotiated tender offer, the largest acquisition to date in the for-profit education industry.
He is ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading Corporate/M&A and Private Equity lawyers in Washington, DC, and as one of the nation’s leading lawyers for real estate investment trusts in both Chambers USA and Chambers Global.
Mr. Robbins has published widely on securities law topics and has served since 1991 as co-chair of the annual three-day course of study, “Private Placements and Regulation D,” jointly sponsored by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) and the Federal Bar Association. He also has served for many years on the faculty of the annual ALI-ABA two-day course of study, “Fundamentals of Securities Regulation.” He is a former chair of the steering committee of the DC Bar Section on Corporation Finance and Securities Law, and former chair of the Section’s Committee on Broker-Dealer Regulation.
He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and has been with the firm since 1976.
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