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Cozying Up to Judges, and Reaping Opportunity


— November 11, 2003

I’d wager that Mr. Ravi Batra’s practice is going to slow down considerably following the publication of this article in the New York Times:

[F]or much of the past decade Mr. Batra has been a particularly potent force in the clubby corridors of New York City courthouses. He played a role in picking State Supreme Court judges. Lawyers seeking an edge in the unfamiliar world of Brooklyn courts hired him as their guide. Judges who controlled court appointments � where lawyers typically manage the assets and welfare of the elderly, the young or of troubled companies � gave him 150 of these, worth more than $500,000 in fees.

Mr. Batra’s success was fashioned in part from long hours and legal dexterity. But by many accounts it was built on his keen appreciation for an unspoken truth: that whom you know in courthouse circles can be just as valuable as what you know. And Mr. Batra developed a particular knack for getting to know judges and the politicians who made them.

He invited them to dinner and his home. He toasted them at parties. He made the Brooklyn Democratic Party boss a member of his law firm. And the boss, Assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr., put him on the panel that screened Democratic nominees for Supreme Court judgeships, a powerful position since the nomination is tantamount to election in heavily Democratic Brooklyn.

This rather understated (and very long) article paints a pretty grim picture of the inner workings of New York City’s court system. Among the nicest things said about Mr. Batra is this:

“He has a very fertile legal mind and thinks, as we say, outside the box,” said Martin W. Edelman, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

And I’m not sure that that’s really very nice. Read the whole story here. (via Overlawyered.com)


I’d wager that Mr. Ravi Batra’s practice is going to slow down considerably following the publication of this article in the New York Times:

[F]or much of the past decade Mr. Batra has been a particularly potent force in the clubby corridors of New York City courthouses. He played a role in picking State Supreme Court judges. Lawyers seeking an edge in the unfamiliar world of Brooklyn courts hired him as their guide. Judges who controlled court appointments � where lawyers typically manage the assets and welfare of the elderly, the young or of troubled companies � gave him 150 of these, worth more than $500,000 in fees.

Mr. Batra’s success was fashioned in part from long hours and legal dexterity. But by many accounts it was built on his keen appreciation for an unspoken truth: that whom you know in courthouse circles can be just as valuable as what you know. And Mr. Batra developed a particular knack for getting to know judges and the politicians who made them.

He invited them to dinner and his home. He toasted them at parties. He made the Brooklyn Democratic Party boss a member of his law firm. And the boss, Assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr., put him on the panel that screened Democratic nominees for Supreme Court judgeships, a powerful position since the nomination is tantamount to election in heavily Democratic Brooklyn.

This rather understated (and very long) article paints a pretty grim picture of the inner workings of New York City’s court system. Among the nicest things said about Mr. Batra is this:

“He has a very fertile legal mind and thinks, as we say, outside the box,” said Martin W. Edelman, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

And I’m not sure that that’s really very nice. Read the whole story here. (via Overlawyered.com)

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