James Wagstaffe

The Shining Knight

If Charles Carreon was the lawyer that prevented Kremen's case from collapsing in June 1999, it was James M. Wagstaffe that carried it through to completion when he entered the case in June 2000.

The two could not be more opposite. While Carreon is unconventional and wears his outsider status as a badge of honour, Jim Wagstaffe is the epitome of a highly accomplished and respected lawyer. He went to Stanford University and continues to teach communication skills there. He co-wrote a widely used guide to trial procedure and as a result instructs new trial judges how to proceed in court.

As one of the United States' lead lawyers on the First Amendment, granting freedom of speech, he has led some high-profile cases involving household names. He was asked to represent all Californian lawyers in front of the Supreme Court in 1999.

Perhaps surprisingly then, Wagstaffe is also very friendly, with shining eyes and a warm demeanour. He can hold a room's attention through sharp intellect, and even wrote a book on that very subject. He was recommended by another Kremen lawyer, If Richard Idell, after the judge removed Network Solutions from the Sex.com legal fight and the whole case looked set to collapse.

The removal of NSI actually aided the case in the end, but it was Wagstaffe that actually persuaded the judge to pull NSI back into the case two years later and then went on to beat the company at its own game, achieving the historic domain name judgement at the Court of Appeals in July 2003.

Kremen told me he said an immediate difference when someone who the judges respected stood up and presented his case: "Carreon was hurt where it mattered, in the courtroom: the judge didn’t take him seriously. It’s unfair to Charles. But going in with a ponytail, you’re a defence lawyer, you defend criminals, that’s like strike one and two, to any serious judge.

"Judge Ware was treating the case like two drug dealers fighting over who owned these drugs. And NSI was egging it on. When Wagstaffe got involved, Wagstaffe said immediately, 'Look...' Wagstaffe saved the train wreck."