We’ve now finished reading Robert Kolker’s interesting and highly detailed New York Magazine article about Aaron Charney (a piece that we’ve been anticipating for weeks). And we do have a few thoughts on it — besides admiration for Ted Partin’s elegant, black-and-white headshot of a trim-but-borderline-emaciated Aaron Charney, at right.
On the whole, the piece is well-researched and thoughtful. It doesn’t contain THAT much new information for people who have been following this case as slavishly as most ATL readers have. But it’s well-written and engaging, a good read.
Also, it’s commendably balanced. In your reactions to it, some have you attacked it as pro-S&C, while others have criticized it as pro-Charney. This strikes us as evidence of the article’s evenhanded nature. You can view it as either pro-S&C or pro-Charney, depending upon your point of view and what you choose to focus on within the piece.
More detailed thoughts, after the jump.
Here are some interesting excerpts from Bob Kolker’s article. Of course, we commend the article to you in its entirety; click here to read it in full.
On the working relationship between Aaron Charney and fellow associate Gera Grinberg (the subject of much prior commentary in these pages):
To the other lawyers on the 28th floor, [Aaron Charney] was a remote figure. Most of the M&A attorneys worked together in groups, but Charney spent his time working behind closed doors, often with Grinberg. When they weren’t busy talking about their off-hours jaunts to Atlantic City or dishing about who might be leaving the firm, the other young lawyers took to wondering what Grinberg and Charney were doing all day on their own. Were they slacking off? Conspiring? Could they be sleeping together? “It was a very gossip-heavy floor, and that was one of the frequent subjects,” one former co-worker remembers. “Actually, most people were weirded out by it.”
On S&C partner Eric M. Krautheimer, whose fashion faux pas make him even more dreadful than we previously thought:
[Eric Krautheimer] was paunchier and more rumpled than the treadmill-trim Charney and flouted firm decorum by showing up at the office without a tie and in short sleeves in the summer. Among the associates, he was widely known to be a hard-ass; when he excoriated an underling, he never did it with a smile.
Why does everyone have horror stories about Alexandra Korry, but not about Eric Krautheimer, who is also said to be difficult? Please send Krautheimer anecdotes to us by email, so he can get his time in the limelight.
Here’s how Aaron reacted to Krautheimer’s “bend over” remark:
He went into his office, closed the door, and cried. “I was upset, confused, hurt, frightened for the consequences to my career,” he says.
When he opens the door to his apartment, Aaron Charney is without shoes, his black Gold Toe socks exposed. It is a Thursday afternoon, two days after he filed his lawsuit, had his BlackBerry disconnected, and was placed on paid leave—and two weeks before he would be served with a countersuit and fired. Now 28, he looks younger, thin in a purple fitted dress shirt, a Rolex on his left wrist. His underdecorated one-bedroom in midtown has a view of the Statue of Liberty.
“Underdecorated”? What about those parental photographs? Have they been pulled?
On Aaron Charney’s grade-grubbing tendencies (which Charney detractors may cast as revealing about his personality):
When he got a lousy grade in a first-year law class [at Columbia Law School], his friends say, he confronted the professor, Eben Moglen, believing he’d been singled out for his conservative beliefs. “I remember he was livid,” says one friend. “He felt like he was wronged. He took it to the administration, and they told him there was no appeals process.” It would be too much to draw a direct line from Charney’s storming the law-school administration to what later happened with Sullivan & Cromwell, but there is one commonality: a sense of entitlement that Moglen says he sees in a lot of law students.
We’ve gone on for long enough, and attention spans are short in the blogosphere. Our thoughts on the rest of the article will follow in a subsequent post.
The Gay Flannel Suit [New York Magazine]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: If Only Herb Ritts Were Still Alive
Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney: Do You Know Aaron Charney?