Aaron Charney, Gay, John Scheich, LeGal

Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: Wherein Jack Gets Bitchslapped By His Own Organization

Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyIt looks like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of New York (“LeGal”) has gotten tired of receiving angry emails from random gay law students at Columbia, NYU, and Fordham.
Over at their website, LeGal has posted an interesting statement (gavel bang: Soloway) about Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. LeGal, you may recall, is the gay rights group whose vice-president, John Scheich, spoke out publicly in defense of S&C (as discussed here and here).
The statement, issued by LeGal’s Board of Directors, reads as a whale of a bitchslap stinging rebuke of Jack Scheich. It’s unintentionally amusing, in a smirk-inducing, Schadenfreude-ish sort of way.
We reprint (1) the LeGal Board’s statement, and (2) a personal email that Scheich sent to Charney — yeah, seriously!!! — after the jump.

Here is the official statement of the LeGal Board of Directors on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell:

As a law association of the LGBT community, our organization has followed news of the recent discrimination lawsuit filed against the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell by Aaron Brett Charney. Our knowledge of the case is of course limited to what is communicated in the media – both online and in print – and in public court filings As a result, none of us are capable of determining, at this stage, what actually transpired.

We do know, however, that Mr. Charney’s allegations of discrimination are quite serious. Given the gravity of the allegations and the early stage of legal proceedings, we sincerely regret that an officer of our organization has been quoted as essentially prejudging the merits of the lawsuit and the veracity of Mr. Charney, and that the officer also made subsequent comments. That was wrong – plain and simple. Since we believe the initial comments were wrong, we also believe any subsequent attempt to justify the initial comments were also wrong.

As lawyers, we are especially mindful of the dangers of prematurely judging evidence and of trying a case in the press. If Mr. Charney has suffered discrimination because of his sexual orientation (or for any other reason), he is entitled to not only his day in court but also the full support of the LGBT community and others who care about basic civil rights. We are deeply sorry that an officer of our organization, which aims in part to eliminate discrimination and to encourage LGBT individuals to choose law as a career, made public comments dismissive of Mr. Charney’s claims. The views expressed by that officer do not represent the views of our Board, nor, we suspect, the views of our members. This statement is being released within 24 hours of our learning of the comments.

While it is true that Sullivan & Cromwell, as well as many other law firms, have been supporters of our organization, that fact does not bear on the crucial question of what actually transpired between Mr. Charney and his colleagues and superiors at the firm. The courtroom is the proper forum for such facts to be uncovered.

To all those who rightfully found the comments at issue troubling or even dangerous, we offer again our apologies.

And here’s an email that Jack Scheich himself wrote to Aaron Charney:

From: Jack Scheich
To: Aaron Charney
Subject: Charney vs. S&C
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 03:45:32 EST

Dear Mr. Charney,

As you proceed through your legal career and as the press covers your law suit, and as you give interviews, especially live interviews, you will learn first hand that you are not always quoted 100% correctly in the print media, and often a statement made is taken out of context or misunderstood. Such is the case with ABC’s reporting on my interview.

LeGaL , as a Bar Association, will soon be releasing a WRITTEN press release with a clarification of the interview and with an official policy and position statement so as not to confuse you, S&C or any other interested gay attorney.

Jack Scheich

We don’t mean to discount the significance or the sincerity of Jack Scheich’s email to Aaron Charney. But excuse us for rolling our eyes, just a wee bit, at Scheich’s suggestion that he was misquoted.
To refresh your recollection, here is his statement, as quoted by ABC News:

“Sullivan Cromwell is far from prejudiced in any way,” says John Scheich, the first vice president of the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of New York [LeGal], adding that the firm often buys a table at his group’s annual fundraising dinner dance. “I don’t know Aaron Charney or the details of his case, but if I had to line up on one side or the other, I would have to line up with David H. Braff [an openly gay partner at the firm] and Sullivan Cromwell.”

Pray tell, Mr. Scheich: How were you misquoted? Would you care to share with us the more complete version of your remarks?
We are big believers in the power of a good spin doctor. But not even the best publicist in the business — Howard Rubinstein? Pat Kingsley? — can spin dog crap into gold.
LeGal [official website]
Breaking News: LeGal Disavows Prior Statements re Aaron Charney vs Sullivan & Cromwell [Soloway]
Earlier: Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: That Time of the Month for LeGal?
Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: Wherein Aaron Bitchslaps Jack

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments