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Boies Partner Returns After Domestic Violence Arrest, Probe (2)

March 30, 2021, 7:41 PM; Updated: March 30, 2021, 11:18 PM

Boies Schiller Flexner partner Joshua Schiller is returning to work after an outside investigation into a criminal domestic violence case against him and the firm’s finding of no evidence of wrongdoing, according to an internal email obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Schiller, the son of firm co-founder Jonathan Schiller, was placed on leave of absence after his Jan. 14 arrest stemming from an incident involving his wife Melissa at their home in Ross, Calif. He was charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, a case that is still pending.

“Based on all of the information available to us, we have not seen any evidence that the dispute between Josh and his wife Melissa involved any physical abuse,” the firm’s leaders said in a Tuesday email to Boies Schiller attorneys. Schiller will return to the firm “over the next few weeks” and the couple has asked prosecutors to drop the criminal charge against him, according to the email.

The firm founded by superstar litigator David Boies has seen a wave of departures over the last year and reported a significant drop in revenue as attorneys headed for the exit. Boies Schiller, which announced a new leadership group after Co-Managing Partner Nick Gravante left earlier this year, has also been involved high-profile sexual assault matters.

The firm faced public criticism for its work representing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual assault by a number of women. Its attorneys have played a prominent role in representing several of the late hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims in court battles accusing him of sexual assault, including against underage women.

Boies Schiller hired New York lawyer Danya Perry “to conduct a review of the underlying facts” shortly after Schiller’s arrest, according to a separate March 2 firmwide email obtained by Bloomberg Law. Perry recently represented Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump’s one-time personal attorney, and defended California lawyer Michael Avenatti when he was charged with fraud.

Perry declined to disclose her findings.

“We no longer represent Boies Schiller,” she told Bloomberg Law. “We have been instructed by our former client that we may not disclose our work or findings.”

Police said at the time of the arrest that they observed “visible injuries that were minor in nature” on Melissa Siebel Schiller, who is the sister-in-law of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The firm leaders in their email thanked the couple for agreeing to sit for separate interviews. “Both Josh and Melissa were separately interviewed, and both of them have assured us that their dispute did not involve any physical abuse,” they said.

The couple said in a joint statement following the arrest that the situation was a “private matter” that they intended to “move beyond” together.

Schiller is scheduled to appear in criminal court for the domestic violence case on April 16. Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Firm leadership said in the email that they “appreciate Josh’s patience with his leave as the Firm conducted its investigation.”

“The Firm has and will continue to take seriously any allegations of wrongdoing on the part of anyone who is employed by the Firm,” the leaders said in the Tuesday email. “We did that in this instance by moving quickly to undertake an internal investigation, retaining outside counsel, implementing a professional leave of absence, and keeping all who contribute to the important work of our Firm informed of developments.”

—Meghan Tribe contributed to this story.

(Updated to include comment from Danya Perry.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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