Samsung attorney argued in court without proper license to practice

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It was discovered Thursday that Samsung lawyer Susan Estrich represented the company in Apple v. Samsung despite not having the proper license to practice law in the suit's jurisdiction of the Northern District of California, a mistake seen as yet another gaffe in the South Korean company's case management.

According to the case's official minutes, Estrich, a law professor at the University of Southern California and Fox News commentator, was part of Tuesday's hearing regarding evidence spoliation despite lacking a notice of appearance and more importantly not being admitted to the Northern District of California bar.

Presiding Judge Lucy Koh, in a previous order, said "ALL TRIAL LAWYERS must make appearances in this case and must be admitted in this District" (emphasis in order). While Estrich said she presented the so-called "me too" motion in good faith, the Court may still decide to sanction Samsung for the oversight.

Judge Paul Grewal first questioned the attorney on the matter, with Estrich subsequently confessing the court records were correct and takes full blame, saying that she thought she had already been admitted to the district since 1986. In actuality, Estrich is only licensed to practice in the Central District of California, notes Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, which generally comprises the greater Los Angeles area. To remedy the situation, the attorney "immediately applied for and [has] been admitted to practice before the District Court of the Northern District of California."

In her statement, Estrich wants "the Court not [to] hold these inadvertent omissions on [her] part against the merits of [her] client's case."

As far as her appearance on Tuesday is concerned, Estrich said her current law firm Quinn Emanuel asked her to argue the evidence spoliation claims on Saturday due to increased pressure on the team's other members. The adverse inference jury instruction claims Samsung is being held to evidence spoliation standards over the company's automatic e-mail deletion protocols, a system it argues is similar to e-mail deletion steps taken by Apple.

Susan Estrich's notice of appearance on Thursday. | Source: Apple v. Samsung court documents

Samsung has been criticized for certain missteps including a recent "leak" of excluded trial documents to the press. John Quinn, the party's lead counsel, claimed the dissemination of the sensitive material was both legal and ethical.


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