Biglaw, Crime, Fast Food, Gay, Gay Marriage, Insider Trading, Kids, Labor / Employment, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Law, Wall Street, White-Collar Crime

Matt Kluger, Ex-Biglaw Associate Charged With Insider Trading, Is A Gay Dad — and Once Sued Fried Frank Over It

Matthew Kluger aka Big Gay Matt

“Aww, Matt, why do you have to go around giving us a bad name?”

Ever since Matthew Kluger was charged in a massive insider trading case, involving an alleged conspiracy that spanned 17 years and generated more than $32 million in profit, the foregoing question could be asked by many groups: Cornell grads, NYU law grads, Cravath lawyers, Skadden lawyers, and Wilson Sonsini lawyers.

Tonight we can add more groups to the list: Fried Frank lawyers, and gays — specifically, gay dads.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier tonight, Matt Kluger worked at yet another major law firm: Fried Frank. After he was fired by the firm in 2002, he sued, claiming that partners there discriminated against him because he’s gay — and a father of three, with parenting responsibilities.

Just when you thought this case couldn’t get any weirder, it just did. Matthew Kluger is gay. And a dad. With three kids. Thanks for sending America such a positive image of LGBT parents, Matt!

Let’s take a closer look at Kluger’s suit against Fried Frank — and additional details about Matt Kluger’s complicated personal life, gleaned from ATL tipsters….

Before we look at the Fried Frank lawsuit, let us pause and review what we know about Kluger’s rather bizarre unusual employment history:

1. Matt Kluger, who was a senior associate at Wilson Sonsini until last month, puts the “senior” in “senior associate.” He is 50 years old — i.e., eligible for AARP membership.

2. Why was he still an associate at such an advanced age? Well, his path into Biglaw was, er, non-traditional. He studied hotel administration at Cornell (which, to be fair, is one of the nation’s top programs). Then, as recounted in his Wilson Sonsini bio, “Matt had a seven-year career in the automobile retail industry, culminating as general manager of a large-volume Toyota dealership in California.”

3. After he got tired of moving Camrys, Matt Kluger went to NYU Law School, where he presumably did well. He began his legal career as an associate at Cravath. How many Cravath lawyers were once Toyota salesmen?

4. Then, reinforcing hoary stereotypes about gay men, he became… whore-y. Matt Kluger definitely “got around.” After he left Cravath and before he arrived at Wilson Sonsini, Matthew Kluger moved through a dizzying array of Biglaw firms, including Skadden, Fried Frank, and what the WSJ Law Blog refers to as “an unidentified law firm in New Jersey.” (Don’t laugh — I’m from Jersey — and so is Tony Soprano.)

5. We know from Reuters Legal that the NJ firm in question was Sills Cummis & Gross, one of the Garden State’s largest and most prestigious firms. (An ATL reader confirmed this for us: “Matt worked at Sills Cummis in NJ from 2002 to 2004 prior to working at Asbury. Probably does not show up anywhere since Sills really does not do M&A.”)

6. According to Kluger’s LinkedIn profile, after leaving Skadden in September 2001 and before joining Wilson Sonsini in December 2005, Kluger served as associate general counsel at an outfit called “Asbury Automotive Group.” But it appears that during this period he was actually (or simultaneously?) working at Fried Frank and Sills Cummis.

7. Kluger worked at Fried Frank for about a year, from April 2001 to May 2002. Then he worked at Sills Cummis for about a year and a half, from August 2002 until February 2004.

(Have a headache yet? Talk about a checkered employment history. You do have to wonder about someone who jumps from firm to firm with such frequency — and, as discussed below, Matt Kluger has jumped around in other ways too.)

Okay, now we reach the Fried Frank lawsuit, which Kluger filed against the firm in December 2002 (about six months after his May 2002 firing). You can read Kluger’s full complaint here — it’s short and easy to skim — or check out Nathan Koppel’s nice summary, at the WSJ Law Blog:

Kluger alleges he was told that some of his supervising partners at the firm, who were heterosexual, were “no longer comfortable” working with Kluger once they learned he was gay.

Kluger claims his work as a corporate lawyer “merited praise by his clients” but that he nonetheless was treated “markedly worse than his heterosexual peers in the corporate department.”

Given his sketchy past and the serious criminal charges he now faces, Kluger might not be the most trustworthy plaintiff. But it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Fried Frank has been accused of anti-gay bias. As you may recall, the lesbian litigatrix Julie Kamps sued the firm too, claiming that she was discriminated against and sexually harassed for being gay. (You can check out her salacious claims here; her complaint is much longer and more detailed than Kluger’s.)

Back to Matthew Kluger v. Fried Frank:

He also claimed that partners chastised him for taking paternity leave in late 2001 and early 2002. Kluger at that time was in a long term relationship with a partner, and the couple had three children, who had been birthed by the same surrogate mother, according to the complaint.

Kluger was eventually fired by the firm in 2002, causing him to allegedly suffer from emotional distress, insomnia and depression. The suit sought $10 million in damages. It was settled in 2004.

Kluger “at that time was in a long-term relationship with a partner.” As this wording suggests, Kluger is no longer in said relationship. Kluger might have been a mere associate, but he knows how to act like a partner: he left an age-appropriate partner behind, to take up with a much younger, cuter beau.

Kluger’s youthful boyfriend “looks like he probably played squash at Franklin & Marshall,” according to an ATL tipster. We will hereinafter refer to said boyfriend as “F.J.” It’s not clear if Kluger is still with this fellow — getting charged criminally in a massive insider-trading scheme isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac — but as of at least a few weeks ago, Kluger and F.J. were going strong.

After I wondered whether the prospect of snagging a hot young boyfriend could be an argument for engaging in income supplementation through insider trading, my source responded:

Why is that an argument for insider trading? Because if you are 5’4″, 210, bald, 50 years old and look like Kluger, you can’t exactly pull the 20-something slam pieces on an associate’s salary?

I dunno. I always thought he supported the models and bottles lifestyle with the income from his cheesesteak shop.

Yes, that’s right, this case just got weirder. Matthew Kluger, who lives in the D.C. suburb of Oakton, Virginia, is an investor in a cheesesteak shop in Connecticut, according to our tipster.

The source then provided me with a photo. The pictures shows Kluger with a taller, younger, handsome man, standing on the deck of a cruise ship with the Miami skyline in the background.

“I am not sending you any private photos, because most of them are of his three sweet little kids, to whom he has always been a great dad,” the tipster added.

“Three sweet little kids?” I asked incredulously. (Note that this communication took place before the WSJ reported on the Fried Frank lawsuit, so I didn’t even know Kluger’s sexual orientation at the time.) “Matt Kluger is gay? And has three kids? And owns a cheesesteak shop in Connecticut? Really?”

The source responded:

Matt Kluger is just another gay guy whose family life looks like any other random divorced hetero loser. He is like the Sopranos if they were Jewish. He has three sons with his ex, a guy not much younger than him, whom he left a couple of years ago for a young athletic college grad named [F.J.], who is the boy in the picture on the cruise ship.

At one time Kluger owned a pizza parlor in Ithaca, and now he owns a cheesesteak shop in Wallingford, which only gets 3.5 stars on Yelp.

All I meant was, when I looked in [photos of him], I was hoping they would be full of pics in him with his belly hanging out over his Speedo while he cruised the Mardi Gras in Sydney or something, but instead they are all adorable pictures of him and his cute kids, and I didn’t really think that was cool to send you any of that.

I then asked: “Wait. So Kluger was never married to a woman? The three kids were with his male ex?”

(Remember, I thought at the time — this exchange took place before news of the Fried Frank lawsuit — that perhaps Kluger divorced a woman, with whom he had three kids, to take up with a young man. That just seemed more probable to me.)

The kids are with his ex, who is a man. [The ex] was a stay at home dad for years, but now works. They share custody of the kids.

Kluger was never married to a woman, and he said he only had sex with a woman once, in high school.

(Well, that’s one more time than I’ve had.)

It’s sad to think about Matthew Kluger’s three kids. Remember, of course, that the charges against Kluger are just allegations, and that he’s innocent until proven guilty. But no matter how the charges are resolved, it’s very likely that stressful and trying times lie ahead for Matthew Kluger — and, by extension, his three children.

If you have any additional information about Matthew Kluger that you can share, or any corrections or updates to what appears above, please email us, subject line “Matthew Kluger,” or text us, at 646-820-TIPS (646-820-8477). We will continue to follow this fascinating and bizarre story quite closely. Thanks.

UPDATE (12/21/11): There have been subsequent developments in the story of Matt Kluger. Our coverage is collected here (latest stories at the top).

Kluger Sued Fried Frank for Discrimination [WSJ Law Blog]
Fried, Frank Officially Part of the Kluger Klub [WSJ Law Blog]
U.S. Probes Leaks From Fourth Law Firm [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]
Accused inside trader once sued for anti-gay bias [Westlaw News & Insight / Reuters Legal]

Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Ex-Associate at Three Top Firms Charged in a $32 Million Insider Trading Case
Julie Kamps Files $50 Million Lawsuit Against Fried Frank for Making Her Life Hell (But Never Making Her Partner)

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