The Avanti Group Law
Last month I recounted how a top U.S. law firm had agreed to help shadowy Japanese interests try to portray the so-called Comfort Women – the sex slaves grotesquely abused by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II – as no more than common prostitutes. As I pointed out, the case is totally toxic and no respectable law firm should have anything to do with it. The article has generated nearly 90,000 clicks, 5,500 Facebook shares, and countless supporting comments.
Now comes news that the law firm at the center of the firestorm, Chicago-based Mayer Brown, is withdrawing from the case. As reported in the Los Angeles Daily News, pressure from outraged Forbes readers helped tip the balance. Mayer Brown was probably also reacting to coruscating criticism from such well-informed legal experts as Ken White, a prominent Los-Angeles-based criminal attorney, and Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer.
Although it is, of course, not unusual for even the most respectable of U.S. law firms to press bogus lawsuits, two aspects of the Comfort Women suit have proved particularly embarrassing for Mayer Brown:
The involvement of the Global Alliance for Historical Truth-US. Incorporated as recently as February 6, the alliance gives its address as a UPS office and is little more than a legal fiction. The really controversial part is that its name has been evidently chosen so it would be confused with a very different entity, the Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia. This latter is a long-established, entirely respectable scholarly group founded by Chinese-American professors that is on the other side of the Comfort Women argument.