Yesterday we posted an interesting excerpt from Lincoln Caplan’s book, Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire, which discussed Sullivan & Cromwell. The excerpt concerned a closeted gay associate at S&C who committed suicide after being passed over for partner.
A comment on that post:
“Does this anecdote show anti-gay bias, or just that S&C partners are a**holes? The S&C lawyer who committed suicide was closeted.”
“Would the failure of partners to attend his funeral represent hostility towards gays? Or just general indifference by S&C partners to associates who don’t make partner?”
The “we’re not homophobes, just a**holes” line of defense probably won’t do wonders for S&C’s recruiting this fall. But one of you has brought our attention to an excerpt from later on in the book (pp. 160-61) that speaks more specifically to the issue of gays at S&C.
It concerns the late Jonathan Bowie, a partner at Skadden at the time of his passing. As one commenter noted, “Bowie was passed over for partner at S&C, that’s why he moved to Skadden. On a sad note, he later died of AIDS.”
From Skadden, by Lincoln Caplan:
Unlike the S&C associate from the earlier excerpt, Bowie wasn’t “very closeted” during his time at the firm. He had a boyfriend at S&C, and “people knew” about him. So his story, and his being passed over for partnership, may be slightly more revealing than the prior anecdote.
Note our use of the word “slightly.” It’s worth pointing out that the above excerpt contains no clear, objective evidence of anti-gay bias at S&C. People get passed over for partner for all sorts of reasons. The anecdote rests entirely upon perceptions of S&C held by lawyers at a different, rival firm. And it’s over two decades old; a lot can change over 20 years.
We just thought it was interesting (as did the source who sent it to us). So we’ve posted it here for your consideration. You can decide how much weight to place upon it.
P.S. We try not to miss a single news article about the litigation between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell. But we did fail to mention this interesting Gay City News article, by Professor Arthur Leonard, which appeared late last week.
Professor Leonard analyzes S&C’s recent motion to dismiss Aaron Charney’s complaint. We never offered our own thoughts on that motion, but we agree with much of Professor Leonard’s thoughtful analysis.
Charney Litigation Heats Up [Gay City News]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: A Walk Down Memory Lane