The news that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has hired attorney David Boies to potentially file suit against the NFL over Roger Goodell’s contract extension may ring a bell for those who have been following the league for the past several years. Boies represented the NFL in connection with the antitrust litigation following the lockout.
The rules of professional conduct allow a lawyer who once represented a client to represent a different party against that same client in the future, under certain circumstances. It’s still a delicate proposition, and in matters of public interest the lawyer can end up looking more like a hired gun and/or a seeker of fame and notoriety.
Speaking of notoriety, reports have emerged in recent days regarding Boies’ role in the Harvey Weinstein case. Boies reportedly hired private investigators who tried to identify Weinstein’s accusers and to undermine media coverage of their allegations. The New York Times was one of the outlets targeted, even though Boies also had been representing the New York Times.
The New York Times fired Boies’ firm on Tuesday, calling his behavior “reprehensible.”
The NFL could be using similar language soon, given that only six years ago it was paying Boies to help advance the league’s interests. Now, Boies may be directly attacking them.