Aaron Charney, Gay, John Scheich, LeGal

Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: The First Casualty

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGYes, it’s true. Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell has claimed its first victim.
So who is it? Has the allegedly uncouth Eric Krautheimer been admitted to “rehab”? Has the divine Alexandra Korry been shipped off to Paris, as some of you speculated? Has plaintiff Aaron Charney (at right), nominally kept on the S&C payroll since filing his lawsuit, finally been discharged?
None of the above. The news is actually far more exciting:

John Scheich has resigned as President of LeGal!!!

If this leaves you scratching your head, here’s a little background. Jack Scheich was recently elected president of a prominent gay bar association, the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of New York (LeGal). Shortly after Charney v. S&C was filed, he was contacted for comment by ABC News. In his interview, he came out swinging in favor of S&C, and sniffed dismissively at Charney’s case — even though he had done no investigation of the allegations.
Scheich’s interview generated bad publicity for LeGal. It looked like the organization was prejudging the merits of a lawsuit claiming anti-gay discrimination, without knowing all the facts, simply because S&C throws money at them has been supportive of LeGal over the years.
LeGal received numerous angry letters from gay law students and lawyers. The organization eventually repudiated Scheich’s remarks, in a statement posted on its website. Despite this distancing, LeGal and Scheich were roundly criticized by gay law student groups from NYU and Columbia, in a strongly worded opinion piece for the New York Blade.
Well, that wasn’t the end of it. A few hours ago, as of 5 PM Eastern time, Jack Scheich resigned as president of LeGal.
You can check out his statement at the organization’s website. Money quote:

[I]t is the time for me to make this apology to the plaintiff and to the entire interested LGBT legal community. I trust that it will be received with the same sincerity as it is made.

It sure will, Jack.

The firestorm surrounding this issue has hurt LeGaL, (an organization of which I have been a member for almost 30 years) and will continue to hurt LeGaL if I remain as President. Accordingly, I hereby tender my resignation, as President, to the Secretary of LeGaL to become effective upon this statement being posted on the LeGaL web site.

This is probably all for the best. Jack, it’s been fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, we’re not big fans of Jack Scheich. But he doesn’t like us either — and he’s made that abundantly clear. As victims of his snark, we’re entitled to snark back.
What do we mean by all this? Learn the details after the jump.

After the ABC News interview, when Jack Scheich and LeGal started receiving angry letters from gay lawyers and law students, Scheich’s responses were combative and catty. We reprinted one rather snide letter from him back in this post.
Now we have a second Jack Scheich missive — and it’s even juicier than the first. After a gay 3L at Fordham sent a letter to LeGal raising concerns about John Scheich’s interview, Scheich wrote back as follows:

The comment about [S&C buying a] table at [our annual] dinner was descriptive to show the firm’s support for LeGaL and the work we do.

We have received several letters from law students who have never been a part of a BAR ASSN. I think it imperative to join a Bar Assn of your choice to see how it works from within. We would welcome your joining LeGaL.

S&C has done and continues to do pro bono work for LeGaL and the gay community, perhaps you did not know that. You are working with limited facts.

At the very heart of S&C is an organization clearly committed to overcoming homophobia, and assisting gay lawyers in their careers.

You only know the little you read in a publication known as ABOVE THE LAW. Tell me, as a future lawyer, who amongst us is above the law?

S&C has spent endless hours and days and years and money in support of LeGaL and the gay legal community. Perhaps you didn’t know that before you became outraged. You too need to gather all the facts before commenting.

Thank you for writing.

Jack Scheich

Tell us, Jack, as a former LeGal president, who amongst us has had a shorter tenure as LeGal president?
(We haven’t checked the record books of LeGal, which has been around for decades. But we speculate that Jack Scheich, who was president for all of 10 days, is the undisputed champion here.)
Resignation Statement of Jack Scheich [LeGal]
Don’t Be Too Quick to Judge [New York Blade]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Jack Scheich and LeGal (scroll down)

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