Samsung has until 5 p.m. Thursday to explain why Susan Estrich was representing it
FORTUNE — In addition to becoming the youngest woman win tenure at Harvard, running Michael Dukakis’ presidential campaign, writing more than half a dozen books (most recently Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate) and doing token liberal commentary for Fox News, Susan Estrich has, since 2008, been a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm defending Samsung in Apple’s AAPL multibillion dollar patent infringement suit.
On Tuesday, according to Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal’s official court minutes, she and another Quinn lawyer represented Samsung at a hearing about which side deleted what e-mail evidence and when. (Samsung has already been sanctioned for deliberate deletions; it’s trying to hit Apple with the same adverse jury instruction.)
Only trouble is, although Estrich is a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, court records do not show that is certified to practice law in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
FOSS Patents‘ Florian Mueller, who spotted her name in the minutes, notes that it could be a simple clerical error, and Judge Grewal has given Samsung until 5 p.m. to clear the matter up.
But if it turns out that Estrich did represent Samsung without being properly admitted in the district, Samsung’s may lose its “me too” e-mail battle on purely technical grounds.
UPDATE: Brandon Bailey, who’s covering the trial for the Mercury News, tweeted Friday that Estrich filed a declaration saying she thought she was admitted in the Northern District and now is.