While it sounds like a punchline for a joke about the worst person alive, Lawfuel has announced its winner of Lawyer of the Year, granting it not to an individual but to the entire legal team of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
While there’s a lot of people working in the background, the team captains are Queen’s counsel Paul Davidson, litigator William Akel and commercial Lawyer Greg Towers. While Ira Rothken, who runs the US branch of Dotcom’s legal team has perhaps had a bit more publicity than these, Lawfuel believes they form the backbone of his legal counsel and therefore deserve the accolades.
Part of the reason they’ve been given the honour is because of the sheer scale of the case. While it boils down to one man’s extradition trial, there’s so many elements to it. There’s whole discussions on copyright and trademark law that have been sparked by this case, as well as privacy and personal liability. International law has come into it, as has the US’ leaning on foreign nations and susceptibility to lobbying from the media corporations of the world.
On top of that, there’s the fact that the New Zealand government and its intelligence agency the GCSB acted illegally by raiding his home under an invalid warrant and completed months of illegal surveillance, which resulted in the Prime Minister attempting to legalise the practice instead of clamping down on his watchdogs.
The Dotcom case has elements that effect us all and the legal team has had to keep on top of this. They’ve been fighting his corner since the original arrest almost two years ago, much of that time without payment since Dotcom’s many millions were frozen as part of the money laundering investigation against him.
KitGuru Says: Combined with Dotcom’s Robin Hood, folk hero antics, it looks like he’ll be ok in the long run, but that was no small feat – even if it does look like he was innocent, the forces arrayed against him have seemed insurmountable at times.