The former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld lawyer who allegedly used tens of thousands of dollars of a client’s funds for personal reasons said she was “blindsided by the allegations” in the $25 million legal malpractice lawsuit that was filed Thursday in New York state court against her former firm.

In a statement to The American Lawyer on Friday, Heidi Liss defended her conduct while representing Thunayan Al-Ghanim, the CEO of Future Media Architects, an internet domain name company, contending that her actions, which included “taking approved business trips with the client and entertaining the client while he was in NY,” were done “always with the knowledge and approval of the firm including the partners with whom I worked.”

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