Marshall Law: Ashurst’s Gang of Three now Gang of… One?

Ashurst quietly moved on David “Butter Knife” Greenberg in November 2021 and snatched up Mr Bernie Walrut from Norton Rose Fulbright to take Greenberg’s anticipated role as a partner in James Marshall’s Restructuring and Special Situations Group in Sydney.

Greenberg did not get the coveted partner spot he had been working toward for nearly 12 years after it appears Ashurst have taken my advice and moved him along.

David Greenberg was one of the “Gang of Three” who appointed receivers over Sargon under unconscionable and potentially unlawful circumstances on 29 January 2020. The others were the award winning Mr James Marshall and Ms Minna Zhang. Ms Zhang was exiled to Hong Kong a month after the receivership appointment when Ashurst first learned that interest was fully paid on their appointment. I do not begrudge Ms Zhang as I do not believe she really had any power to stop what her bosses had put in motion. 

On the left we have David Greenberg and on the right we have his replacement Bernie Walrut. For the non-lawyer reader, when you do 12 years waiting to become partner and that doesn’t happen, it usually is not a good reflection of your performance.

Source: LinkedIn profiles of David Greenberg and Bernie Walrut at 25 March 2022

In this case Mr Greenberg’s demise occurred straight after credible documents tabled in Parliament revealed that interest was fully paid up when Sargon was placed into receivership by Ashurst after some extremely creative law firm trust accounting in December 2019. The cover up had failed, so Marshall had to roll a head otherwise it was his. Greenberg was the only choice. Sorry, not sorry.

I understand that Mr Marshall’s KPIs for Bernie Walrut include:

  1. Not appointing receivers over anyone while Mr Marshall is on holiday; 
  2. Memorising the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (2015) for law firm trust accounting; 
  3. Not losing an Ashurst client $200 million in a day; and
  4. Not lying to regulators and courts as default practice.

To Butter Knife Greenberg, use this as an opportunity to reflect on your actions and how they affect others. Good luck!

To Vincent Young, I hope you’ve done your due diligence – lucky you are not an unlimited liability partnership for what is to come.

More at

As many of my readers will know James Marshall and the team that he leads holds a number of coveted awards:

  • Best Lawyers Australia – “Best Lawyer in Insolvency and Reorganisation Law” 2020
  •’s – “Fattest Windsor Necktie Outside of Capital Markets” 2020
  •’s – “Exposed and Proud for the insolvency practitioner with two or more houses in his own name. Uncontested – 2020 through 2022.

Ashurst have nominated themselves in the Australasian Law Excellence Awards 2022 “Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year” for Sargon restructuring and recapitalization alongside a raft of other firms. In fact, it appears as though the Sargon matter had more firms on it than just about anything else. Ashurst were hoping for nominations in the “Unlawfulest Means Conspiracy” and “Fanciest Repudiation” categories, but have to make do with “Restructuring and Recapitalization” for now.

Sargon restructuring and recapitalization

Firms: ABL, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Clifford Chance (Australia), Ernst & Young, Gilbert + Tobin, Hall & Wilcox, Herbert Smith Freehills, Minter Ellison, Quin Emanuel, White & Case (NY)

Australasian Law Awards 2022 –

Ashurst have ruined many lives through their false Sargon receivership:

  • Innocent, loyal and talented staff who were on visas sponsored by Sargon or Trimantium entities placed into receivership were immediately dislocated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Australian law, all visas are cancelled when the sponsoring company is placed into receivership – lawfully or otherwise. This was not a nice thing to do.
  • Innocent contractors and working families never got paid because of how botched the interaction with the Voluntary Administration was. I lost 7 years of annual leave accruals instantly.
  • Countless courts and regulators were systemically lied to including ASIC and APRA. This is the subject of my next post now that critical FOI information has been obtained.
  • Two PR firms were engaged to destroy my and other’s reputations to try to cover it up. These were Sefiani and Bluechip Communications. One of these firms has come forward to me and apologised. My door is wide open for the other one, should you wish to avoid litigation down the road.
  • The appointment itself was a direct client-client conflict with Sargon CT and Trimantium Life’s own ongoing work with Ashurst. Ashurst’s own defamation team working for James Marshall against me was a firm-client conflict with Sargon, Trimantium, China Taiping, and now Ashurst’s opposition in the Federal Court is probably the most conflicted appointment in Australian legal history when matters center on their own trust accounting and partner’s conduct. Read more.
  • Zero money was recovered for China Taiping after Ashurst’s own costs and expensive goose chases. Two of the three lawyers on this “deal of the year” have now been moved on from Ashurst. How does this win an award?
  • Every promise Ashurst made after January 2020 was reneged upon, including to almost every other firm in the award with them. The way Ashurst treated GrowthOps and Westpac in particular was disgraceful. This will all come out.
  • Ashurst has cost me millions in legal fees and lost my shareholders tens of millions of equity.
  • Australian creditors such as Westpac, GrowthOps and OneVue/IRESS lost tens of millions because of Ashurst conduct.

Now you might think that’s just a day in the life of James Marshall’s Ashurst-branded Thiefdom, but to now be nominating yourselves for an award for this work? This is not just an insult to whatever modicum of legal ethics you had left, it is inhuman level of privilege, arrogance and pride.

Please do not put the families of those lives you have ruined in extreme financial distress, visa losses/dislocation and defamation through the humiliation of accepting an award for profiteering off their demise. James – this is on you.