Biglaw, Eric Krautheimer, Gay

Brokeback Lawfirm: Eric Krautheimer Is a Nice Guy

Eric Krautheimer 2 Eric M Krautheimer Aaron Charney Sullivan & Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously solicited tips about Sullivan & Cromwell M&A partner Eric Krautheimer, of Aaron Charney v. S&C fame. Alas, we didn’t get much.
Until now. Someone who knows Eric Krautheimer reasonably well has come forward with some helpful information, which sheds some light upon this powerful partner, and places his alleged conduct in context.
Check it out, after the jump.

Our tipster’s email appears in block quotes, with our commentary following. We’ve redacted some details to preserve anonymity.

I had the good fortune of knowing Eric for [several years]. He was my friend. When I heard about this case, I emailed him to say hello after [many] years. He emailed me back within 10 minutes — that’s kind of guy he was, and I suspect he still is….

Prompt response to email — we would expect nothing less of an M&A partner at S&C!

He was extremely well-liked, humorous, generous and an all-around decent guy. His sense of humor (much like mine) occasionally veered toward the “equal opportunity offender,” but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that — at least certainly nothing litigation-worthy.

Fair enough. We’ll all in favor of non-PC humor around here. Eric Krautheimer sounds like the kind of guy you could enjoy hanging out with over a few beers (if you enjoy beer — we don’t).

I am not surprised to hear how on the job he is “gruff and does not suffer fools or mistakes lightly.” Many of us are, or have been, the same way when the situation requires. He is a partner in a high-powered law firm, working on huge M&A deals for demanding, unforgiving multinational corporate clients. Certainly, people like Charney know this — knew it going in, and knew it while it was occurring.

[Although I’m] not an associate in a Big Law firm, I would be amazed if anyone thought this a coddling environment. And if a guy like Krautheimer wants to make a bathroom joke (i.e., “probably some sh-t still on this”) to blow off steam or amuse himself once in a while, no harm, no foul. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, or work a “quality of life” legal job.

Also a fair point. We’ve often wondered why Charney didn’t just take whatever modest settlement S&C originally offered, then make a lateral move to another top-flight firm, a boutique practice, or a cushy in-house gig.
We understand that Charney was drinking the S&C Kool-Aid, so that he probably didn’t want to leave the firm (especially since he felt he was the wronged party). And we realize that he got emotionally invested in his case, in a way that may have impaired his judgments. But still…
Back to our tipster:

This sounds to me like nothing more than a disgruntled, hypersensitive, oddball, secretive employee exacting revenge upon being called on his behavior. Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll get a good payday out of it as well–nothing like another frivolous lawsuit hitting paydirt. Can a book deal be far behind? But in the process, Charney is playing the consummate victim, dragging a decent human being (albeit a gruff one) through the mud….

It is more likely Charney’s reason for discipline came from his secretive, surreptitious behavior (e.g. spending too much time in his office with another associate behind closed doors (Is S&C supposed to be a college dorm?) — very strange behavior in a law firm, regardless of sexual orientation) rather than any time he spent as a gay man, in or out of the closet.

We thank our tipster for taking the time to share these thoughts with us. We welcome all such firsthand information about Charney v. S&C and the cast of characters involved. If you have anything to offer, you know where to reach us.
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: Eric Krautheimer Is Busy as a Bee

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