Associate Advice, Racism, Rank Stupidity, Rudeness, Sexism, Summer Associates

How To Get Fired (or Asked To Resign) from Sullivan & Cromwell (Part 2)

dont be an asshole.JPGYesterday we introduced you to DB (not his real name — please keep it that way), formerly an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. At S&C, and in law school before that, DB became notorious for bragging about his wealth and making politically incorrect remarks.

We collected some of his impolitic quips in our prior post, and other anecdotes surfaced in the comments (e.g., here and here). For your reading pleasure, here are a few more stories:

  • In law school, at a firm reception in the Time Warner center, DB got drunk and started going on about how he was wearing crocodile shoes that cost thousands of dollars and how his brother drove a more expensive car than the partners at the host firm.
  • At an S&C firm retreat, the same one where he made his comments about the ballet, DB was placed in charge of entertainment for one evening. This included brainstorming for the “S&C Superlatives” contest, which is supposed to feature innocuous, yearbook-style items like “Miss Congeniality,” “Best Smile,” or “Most Athletic.”

    The items suggested by DB? “Sluttiest Partner” and “Partner Most Likely To Sleep With His Secretary.”

  • DB once said, to a highly attractive summer associate he encountered in the hallway, “You really aren’t that hot. Everyone thinks you are, but outside of here you really aren’t.”

  • In fairness to DB, he has his defenders and positive attributes. One tipster describes him as “a bright guy,” and another as “nice in a weird way,” as well as unusually generous and thoughtful at times. A third raves about his hotness, including “six-pack abs and amazing arms.” As for the sexist (and homophobic) quips, they may be best attributed not to malice, but to personal issues that DB is probably still working through.

    His colorful comments, however, aren’t what got DB in truly hot water. Find out what did, after the jump.


    As you can imagine, DB was already raising eyebrows around 125 Broad Street. That was before the summer, when DB appointed himself the unofficial cruise director for Sullivan’s summer associate program.

    At first, DB would organize these massive, expensive summer events, on his own initiative. He coordinated a yachting trip, a wine tasting, and a bumper-car excursion, inviting something like 30 summer associates to each event. He put in for, and received, reimbursement from S&C.

    After a few of these events, the recruiting people told him to stop organizing these things, since they were distracting from the firm’s official events. So DB started organizing smaller, more intimate events — but even these scaled-back outings were expensive. After submitting a few more receipts for reimbursement, he was told by a partner that if he continued to organize these unofficial events, he would not be reimbursed.

    So DB hatched a brilliant plan. He continued to organize events with the SAs, but instead of submitting receipts on a rolling basis, i.e., shortly after each event, he would stockpile all the receipts. He would then drop them on S&C in one fell swoop at the end of the summer, when it would be too late for S&C management to stop him. With the events already over — and already enjoyed by the summer associates, thereby generating goodwill for S&C — the firm would have no choice but to reimburse him. (Think of it as like a quantum meruit / unjust enrichment theory.)

    The end of the summer rolled around, and DB dropped the bomb: a crazy stack of receipts to be reimbursed. Soon thereafter, he was called to a partner’s office, where he was given two options: resign or be fired. DB chose to resign. He was immediately escorted out of 125 Broad Street, without even a chance to go back to his office to get his things.

    (One source mentions possibly falsified receipts — holla, Carlos Spinelli-Noseda — but others do not.)

    What’s our hero up to nowadays? Not clear. His entry in the New York State attorney directory has no employer information.

    But don’t shed tears for DB. As he told his law school roommates upon meeting them, he’s “independently wealthy.” We suspect that whatever he’s up to now — sailing around the Mediterranean on a yacht? traipsing around Botswana on safari? — is more fun than anything that has ever transpired at 125 Broad Street.

    P.S. Except for the antics of the former S&C contract attorney supervisor. If you think you know what we’re talking about, please email us (subject line: “Sullivan and Cromwell”). Thanks.

    P.P.S. As noted in the original post, Sullivan & Cromwell did not respond to our requests for comment. This is not surprising; as we know from the Aaron Charney story, they tend not to comment on personnel matters.

    Update: In the comments, some of you have expressed curiosity over the sums involved. Word on the street is that DB spent over $40,000 on summer associates.

    Earlier: How To Get Fired from Sullivan & Cromwell (Part 1)

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