This Madison Record article contains a months work of issues: conflict of interest, change of venue, prejudice, blackmail, child ponography, indictments, plaintiff’s attorney joining the firm he has sued;  it just goes on and on.

"When Gary Peel joined the Lakin Law Firm in September 2003, he had spent the previous 17 months accusing the firm of malpractice.

Peel sued the firm in Madison County Circuit Court in April 2002, on behalf of William Coates.

Peel alleged that the firm failed to sue a Greene County farmer who may have caused the death of his client’s son, Michael Coates.

Peel dropped Coates as a client when he joined the Lakin firm. Chief Judge Edward Ferguson assigned the case to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, who set it Nov. 1, 2005.

By then attitudes in Madison County had changed so fast that the Lakin firm tried to escape the community’s judgment.

Six days before trial the firm’s attorney, Jeffrey Mitchell of Geneva, moved for change of venue.

"Defendants cannot receive a fair trial in Madison County…," Mitchell wrote.

He argued that negative press about the firm’s principal, Tom Lakin, tainted the jury pool.

He wrote that on July 20, 2005, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that West Virginia suspended Tom Lakin for a year.

He wrote that on July 22, 2005, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Tom Lakin’s discipline in West Virginia.

Stack denied the venue change and started the trial.

He stopped it when Bosslet and Mitchell told him they settled.

By then the author of the complaint had turned into another embarrassment for the Lakin firm.

Peel had filed a bankruptcy petition seeking relief from obligations to former wife Deborah J. Peel under a divorce agreement.

He had tried to cancel the agreement in St. Clair County divorce court, claiming she tricked him into signing a contract he did not understand.

In January 2006 he allegedly tried to blackmail her.

Grand jurors at U.S. District Court in East St. Louis indicted Peel in March 2006 on charges of bankruptcy fraud, possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

He left the Lakin firm.

This March, a federal jury in East St. Louis convicted him on all counts.

Back in Edwardsville, Peel’s old lawsuit still hasn’t gone away.

Bosslet and Mitchell never filed the settlement stipulation they told Stack they would file. The case remains open on Stack’s docket."


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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.