Along the way to becoming one of the city's most influential figures, politically wired attorney Willie Shepherd bullied, belittled, lied, and then some. And his fellow partners at Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert failed to stop him until two junior attorneys took a stand.
VI. MEETING AT THE MARKET
The four lawyers sat around a table at the Market at Larimer Square. Staks and Almon shared their concerns about fraudulent billing. They said that Shepherd had tried to improperly break a contract with a legal temporary employee agency, named Special Counsel. Reichert said: You don't want to handle administrative matters; we'll take care of that. Staks said he didn't have a problem with administrative tasks; he believed Shepherd was behaving unethically and appeared to be fabricating charges. Staks and Almon told Reichert they were concerned that Shepherd was misrepresenting his client-work history in his bio on the firm website; that Shepherd was claiming expertise that the two lawyers believed he did not have. Staks and Almon were left with the impression that Reichert would look into it.
Staks reported to Reichert the "stir the pot" incident. Reichert asked Staks if he had in fact called the city, and Staks said no. In that case, Reichert was of the mind that no breach of client duty had occurred. Almon brought up Shepherd misrepresenting the firm as minority-owned. Staks and Almon got the impression that, moving forward, Reichert was going to keep an eye on that. There was a general acknowledgment that Shepherd had been tyrannical with employees, including Estabrook and Taylor, and then the meeting adjourned. Almon and Staks had expected more of a reaction from Reichert—after all, Reichert was a cofounding partner with the reputation for being ethically impeccable. He was also the chairman of the Colorado Securities Board.
Staks, alone, returned to Gifford's office after the meeting for his take. He informed Gifford that the situation had become so intolerable for Almon and himself that they'd begun looking to join another firm. If you stay here, Gifford told Staks, I don't think this will end well for you. Gifford added that if Staks needed a reference, he would be happy to attest to the fact that the associate was a talented, ethical attorney.