Lawyers humiliated in court: Forced to hold signs reading ‘Please look at me’ after serious failure

Reed Smith, a law firm representing ODP Corporation in a shareholder lawsuit, was ordered by a Delaware judge to station two attorneys at the courthouse with “Please see me” signs. This comes after the law firm failed to announce a hearing, resulting in the date being rescheduled. Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster said the attorneys should be available to answer questions from ODP Corporation shareholders who show up at the courthouse expecting to attend the now-postponed settlement hearing.

ODP Corporation is the parent company of Office Depot and OfficeMax. The shareholder lawsuit alleges misconduct by the company’s board of directors. The settlement hearing, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed because Reed Smith failed to make a proper notice.

Judge Laster ordered one attorney to stand in the courthouse lobby and another to be stationed using elevators on the 12th floor, where the Chancellery’s courtrooms are located. The lobby sign should be printed in a large, legible font with the message: “Settlement Hearing for ODP Corporation: Please See Me.” The other sign should have a similar message.

According to the order: “Each attorney will ask any person he sees if the person intends to attend the settlement hearing. If the answer is yes, the attorney will explain that the hearing has been postponed and will provide the new hearing information.” Reed Smith must also pay for the travel expenses of shareholders that were arranged to attend the hearing.

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In a letter to attorney cited by Law360, Judge Laster said the law firm’s failure to provide proper notification was due to “an internal communication error.” The court order is intended to ensure that affected shareholders are informed of the postponement of the hearing and are provided with new hearing information.

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Reed Smith’s failure to properly announce the hearing has caused inconvenience to shareholders who have agreed to attend the hearing. Judge Laster’s order serves as a reminder to law firms of the importance of complying with court rules and orders, and the need for effective communication with clients and other parties involved in court proceedings.