New York, NY – Becoming a specialist in a niche area of the law is often promoted as the most effective path for attorneys, but taking a more dynamic approach to a legal career can also be beneficial. Attorneys who are willing to learn and develop new areas of expertise may better serve clients whose needs extend across multiple areas of the law. This flexibility can be essential in certain situations.
Michael Quinn, an arts lawyer at Eisenberg & Baum, LLP, discussed his experience representing clients in the fight against the Sackler Family and Purdue Pharma, widely held responsible for the opioid crisis. Quinn’s involvement in this high-profile case demonstrates the importance of adaptability and a willingness to navigate multiple legal fields on behalf of clients.
The Sackler Family’s name is prominently displayed above museum doorways worldwide, evoking an image of prestige in the arts, culture, and education sectors. However, Quinn’s client, artist Nan Goldin, sought to expose the Sacklers’ role in the opioid crisis. Despite Quinn’s limited experience in activism and pharmaceuticals, he wholeheartedly supported Goldin and took on the intense lawsuit pro bono.
Throughout the case, Quinn faced challenges and ethical considerations. He tapped into the knowledge of colleagues and received advice from various legal practitioners and professors. By actively engaging in conversations and seeking guidance, Quinn was able to navigate the bankruptcy case effectively, despite lacking expertise in that particular field.
The Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case became a battleground for different perspectives on justice and accountability. The key issue revolved around whether individual corporate owners and officers should be able to obtain non-debtor releases to discharge their liability without going through the standard bankruptcy process. This issue reached the Supreme Court, leading to a significant ideological fight over the role of courts and constitutional protections.
Quinn’s clients, including grieving parents who lost their children to opioid overdoses, wanted more than just a monetary settlement. They sought accountability, a fair legal process, and proper fact-finding. However, the proposed settlement and bankruptcy proceedings seemed to prioritize efficiency and satisfying the maximum number of creditors. This tension between justice and expediency fueled the fight against the Sacklers.
To amplify their cause, Quinn used the media and storytelling to shed light on his clients’ experiences and the injustices they faced. Through interviews, documentaries, books, and fictionalized TV shows, the public gained a deeper understanding of the case, amplifying the voices of those affected by the opioid crisis.
While the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma had ample resources and strategic legal tactics at their disposal, Quinn was able to represent his clients effectively by utilizing creative legal strategies within the constraints of limited resources. He filed objections instead of costly motions and used his knowledge to keep the case moving forward.
Despite the challenges and setbacks faced, Quinn remains hopeful. He emphasizes the importance of being adaptable, embracing uncertainty, and fighting for justice within the legal system. Quinn believes that the courtrooms still provide an avenue for individuals to participate in the legal process, speak out against injustice, and challenge the status quo.
In conclusion, Michael Quinn’s experience as an arts lawyer in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case demonstrates the power of flexibility, creative lawyering, and the pursuit of justice. By representing clients in areas beyond his traditional expertise and utilizing various legal strategies, Quinn and his clients have made their voices heard. The case serves as a reminder that the legal profession can be a tool for change and that lawyers should be prepared to adapt and challenge conventional practices to serve the interests of justice.