When Bank of America tapped Brian Moynihan to replace its fired general counsel during the tense December of the Merrill Lynch merger, Moynihan was on inactive status with the Massachusetts Bar.
He was selected for the position on December 10 and his membership became active on December 18.
Brian Moynihan was named general counsel on Dec. 10, 2008, but was not technically allowed to offer crucial legal advice until more than a week later, when he re-activated his status with the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Moynihan is now the president of BofA, and one of two internal candidates the board is considering to replace outgoing CEO Ken Lewis.
Moynihan had not practiced law since 2005, so went inactive. He apparently never relinquished his membership. “Mr. Moynihan has been a member in good standing of multiple bars for 25 years. When appointed general counsel, he moved quickly to update his status from ‘Inactive’ to ‘Active,'” BofA spokesman Larry Di Rita told the NYP.
Attorneys the paper talked to noted that general counsel generally do not lack membership in their respective state bars, but one securities attorney also said that the SEC does not require a person who is serving as general counsel to be an active member of the bar.
Representative Ed Towns, chairman of the Congressional committee investigating the BofA/Merrill deal finds this “inactive” controversy more interesting than most probably will. “This is another fact that leads me to believe there could be something rotten in the cotton,” Towns said.
The NYP has the exlusive on this one; the story is here.
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