CHARLESTON – The recent death of a Charleston attorney was a heartbreaking tragedy for his family, his friends and law partners.
But a national legal news blog's post related to Adam Maynard's death has turned the sad situation into a nightmare for those who knew him.
Maynard, 35, died Feb. 10. He was an associate at Dinsmore & Shohl's Charleston office. His specialty was labor and employment.
Five days later, an entry titled "Associates Death Raises Questions About Work/Life Balance at Law Firms" was posted at abovethelaw.com. Written by Elie Mystal, the entry hinted that Maynard's death was related to "maniac hours at his regional law firm the week before." It went on to say some were accusing the firm of trying to cover it all up.
The blog post says "friends of Maynard and tipsters at Dinsmore" claim he was working hard before his death. They said he was working long hours because he was "gunning for partner."
The entry also included an email from Dinsmore partner Mark Carter to co-workers.
"His passing came as a total shock to us," Carter said in his email. "Adam has distinguished his service to the firm in many respects both in his practice and in his community. If you do receive any media inquiries regarding Adam please insure that they are routed to myself or John Hussell here in the Charleston office."
It went on to say the firm was working with Maynard's family to establish a memorial fund.
"His family has asked for only one thing at this juncture and that is our prayers for Adam and his son Christian," Carter wrote. "Please join me in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time."
On Monday, Charleston attorney Jeffrey Wakefield issued a statement from Maynard's family. It doesn't mention the Above The Law post directly, but it's aim is clear.
"The passing of Adam Maynard has been and will continue to be a devastating and deep loss for our family," the statement said. "During this difficult time, the family has been hurt and dismayed by rumors and innuendo that Adam's untimely passing was caused in some manner by his work. Adam's death was in no way related to his career as an attorney, a profession of which he was proud to be a member. The family requests that individuals refrain from speculating or spreading rumors about Adam's death. Such actions not only cause intense harm to the family but are a disservice to the wonderful memory of Adam."
In a separate Dinsmore press release about Maynard's passing, Carter praised Maynard.
"He had a tremendous work ethic, but his passions were his family and coaching youth basketball," Carter said. "He found joy in serving others, and he always made a positive impact on those he met."
Maynard was a 2003 graduate of the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, where he was awarded the prestigious Harter Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. He joined Dinsmore in 2007 and was a senior associate in the labor department in the firm's Charleston office. He was frequently recognized by peers for his accomplishments. He was listed as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers for five consecutive years, beginning in 2008.
"He was extremely reliable and sought-after because of his skills and his dedication," Carter said. "It's a very tough time, because he was more than a co-worker. He is going to be missed."