Highly respected attorney Thomas Hyland, of Wilson Elser, writes in the NYLJ, in part:

"We write in response to your article, "Judge Orders Firm to Disgorge Fees Over Ethics Breach," (NYLJ, April 5, page 1) which discusses Justice Marcy S. Friedman’s decision in Ulico v. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, granting partial summary judgment against our firm. The article notes that Wilson Elser is an "insurance defense giant." We are proud of our reputation and standing in the insurance defense and greater legal community. We have built this reputation with over 30 years of exceptional service to our clients, and in accordance with the highest ethical standards.

With all due respect, Justice Friedman’s decision is flawed and contrary to the law and facts. As is the right of any litigant aggrieved by the order of a lower court, we intend to appeal. Unfortunately, an erroneous decision may do damage, even if ultimately overturned. While it would be impossible to demonstrate in this forum all of the problems underlying the court’s decision, we feel compelled to note the following:

The court stated that "the facts relevant to [the claim of breach of fiduciary duty] are largely undisputed," yet failed to heed the most important undisputed fact: Wilson Elser did not represent two parties having adverse legal interests. Rather, the claim concerns the propriety of Wilson Elser doing work for an existing client that was potentially adverse to the business interests of Ulico. This is a question of interest to all lawyers. If, for example, a lawyer assists a restaurant in obtaining a liquor license, does he violate his ethical obligations to that client if he also helps another restaurant on the same street obtain a license? A "competitor" is simply and obviously not an "adversary."

Here’s the rest of the letter.

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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.