I finally had more time to study the impending lawsuit by Vincent Tylor (VKT) against Vermont Woods Studios. One thing amateurs miss is evaluating the law firm that takes on a client, their motivations, and the method of compensation.
We have established on ELI that most copyright extortion lawyers (CEL) generally work on contingency. They typically collect anywhere from 1/3 to 40% of the overall collection. So, CELs have every incentive to negotiate a high settlement if possible. However, they also weigh the ease and aggravation of trying to negotiate a higher settlement amount.
Most law firms have heavy overhead to pay. High rents, high salaries, and high office support expenses are the norm. And unless a law firm believes they can score a big win, they will usually take the quick buck.
I looked into Woolf, Gafni, and Fowler (WGF) and did a bit of analysis. I know almost nothing abut the firm except what is published on the Internet. However, I have some experience in dealing with lawyers from a variety of firms both on a personal and professional level.
First off, WGF is "missing" a named partner name "Fowler". Their attorney roster has no bio or photo of any lawyer by the last name of Fowler. However, I have discovered that "missing" partner is Mateo Fowler from Houston, TX.https://www.linkedin.com/pub/mateo-fowler/38/388/61
Mateo Fowler lists his involvement in WGF from Feb. 2012 to February 2013, only one year.
However, in looking at Chaim Woolf and Adam Gafni, the other named partners, the California Bar reveals the following:
Mateo Fowler graduated in 2005 but his license date is 2008.http://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Find_A_Lawyer&template=/Customsource/MemberDirectory/MemberDirectoryDetail.cfm&ContactID=301480
Chaim was admitted in June 2005 and Adam in January 2004. That means they have been lawyers at MOST 10 years. Most lawyers upon graduation have to put in some humble-pie, grunt time for a larger firm doing lots of legal research, paralegal type of work, and other work senior lawyers don't want to be bothered with. They put in their time to either eventually become a partner with a firm they are hired into or they break out to form their own law firms. They do so to pool their resources but, more importantly, share expenses and brainpower to give an image that they are much substantial and larger than they truly are.
It's amusing that Adam is still listed as an associate on his old law firm. http://www.meyersmcconnell.com/gafni.html
Now that I mentioned this publicly, I imagine this page will be taken down shortly.
WGF appears to have been formed only in 2012! Woolf, Gafni, and Mateo Fowler decided to form a partnership. But in Feb. 2013, "Fowler" fell out of the partnership. He could have been booted out of the partnership or he left the partnership. Either way, it leaves a firm "missing" a named partner leaving Woolf and Gafni to run this youngling law firm.
Assuming Chaim and Gafni graduated from law school in their mid to late 20's, that puts their ages as mid to late 30's. IN lawyer terms, they are still young lawyers and have SOME experience but they are NOT an Oscar Michelen or William McKenney level lawyers. Not by a long shot.
Whether WGF works on contingency or hourly rate, those guys are in Los Angeles and they NEED to crank in a healthy hourly rate to support their overhead and pay their large mortgages in California.
Interestingly, WGF keeps emphasizing their "Los Angeles Office" of WGF. This implies that they are either an offshoot of another law firm or they have aspirations to become much larger. Either way, I can find no trace of a legal entity named "Woolf, Gafni & Fowler LLP" within the California corporation database. http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/
They create the illusion that they are larger than they really are by including lawyers "of counsel", out of state, or those lawyers that appear to be loosely associated with WGF.
It may be that I am not looking in the right place. Mateo Fowler lists WGF as being in Houston, TX. Does that mean WGF was located in Texas for a time? OR that he represented the Houston, TX side of the business?
Under the California business search, I cannot find any listing close to "Woolf, Gafni & Fowler LLP". I have tried just using "Woolf" and "Gafni" but nothing close. I am soliciting help to find some legitimate registration to WGF. I have to believe it exists somewhere. I would be shocked if a law firm with so many lawyers didn't have some kind of corporate registration SOMEWHERE.
Assuming I can find some trace of a corporate entity named Woolf Gafni & Fowler, they fit the profile of most copyright extortion lawyers that are young and relatively inexperienced. WGF has only been around since 2012 for gosh sakes. Every law firm has to somewhere but for the here and now, they are younglings.
Surprisingly, for a guy of his age and firm of his size, Adam has a poor showing for his online presence. It is pretty embarrassing that he is listed only as an "associate" for Meyers & McConnell.