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How a Profane Joke on Twitter Spawned a Legal Army

Here’s one way to build a legal team: Interview graduates from the top law schools or firms, then hire the most qualified.

Akiva Cohen, a trial lawyer at a small New York firm, tried a different way: Spend way too much time on Twitter, talking trash about other lawyers’ cases, then hire the people who post the smartest, most biting comments.

Now, from his suburban family room on Long Island, Mr. Cohen, 45, is leading this small team of Twitter adepts against an almost comically outsized adversary in a $500 million lawsuit against Elon Musk.

Their saga begins in 2019, far from Long Island, in a Texas defamation case that took an unintentionally comic turn, then blew up on Twitter.

That January, a voice actor named Vic Mignogna, who made a career dubbing English dialogue for Japanese anime cartoons, was accused on Twitter of sexual misconduct. He denied the allegations and sued three of his accusers for defamation.

His lawyer, Ty Beard of Texas, sent notification letters to the defendants, citing the tweets he considered defamatory.

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