Theranos, the company that received widespread acclaim for claiming it could provide cheaper and less painful blood tests, is in crisis mode after a brutal Wall Street Journal expose. At its helm is Elizabeth Holmes, who owns around half of the $9 billion valued-company. And standing behind her is one of the most powerful, sought-after lawyers around: David Boies. Here’s what you need to know about the lawyer who was once asked by Charlie Rose if there was any important American case he wasn’t involved in.
- Boies has been with Holmes since long before last week’s crisis. He often attended Theranos board meetings as a “de facto legal adviser at large.”He represented the company personally in its first challenge from patent holders claiming infringement, according to a 2014 Fortune profile of Holmes.
- In the 1980s, Boies defended CBS in a libel suit against U.S. Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland, who sued for $120 million after CBS produced a documentary accusing the commander of deceiving the American public about the War in Vietnam. Boies was so effective that the reporters in the courtroom gallery began to hum the “Jaws” theme song whenever he got up to cross-examine a witness.
- Ever since his days in the sixties of working at Cravath, Swaine and Moore, Boies has only worn suits from Sears and Lands End. “It goes with everything I have,” he told David Kaplan in a 2010 Fortune feature.
- David Boies argued for Al Gore in the landmark Bush v. Gore (2000) Supreme Court case, facing off against lawyer (and victor) Ted Olson. Years later, the two lawyers banded together to lead the legal battle against California’s Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage, eventually winning a 2013 Supreme Court case to overturn the ban.
- Boies is dyslexic and didn’t learn to read until the third grade. “Half the words he knows he never uses, he says, because he can’t quite pronounce them,” a Vanity Fair profile wrote in 2000.