One of the most compelling characters to populate our pages lately is Gregory S. Berry. As you surely recall, Gregory Berry is the Penn Law grad and ex-associate at Kasowitz Benson who is now suing his former firm for a whopping $77 million.
Thus far, reader sentiment doesn’t seem favorable towards Berry. According to Above the Law sources, Greg Berry wasn’t popular at Penn Law, where he was known for sending strange emails about his traffic court misadventures to his classmates. A tipster who knew Berry during his first career, as a software engineer who “conquer[ed]” Silicon Valley, expressed the view that Berry was “very inflexible,” lacking in a sense of perspective, and “not a good fit with the dot.com 1.0 work-style.”
In fairness to Berry, however, we have heard more positive opinions as well. For example, one Penn classmate described Berry to us as “a nice, smart dude, and a go-getter.”
And now a second source has contacted us, also to defend Greg Berry — and to criticize Berry’s former employer, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman….
“I am 100 percent sympathetic,” this former Kasowitz Benson associate told us. “I worked at, and ended a career at, Kasowitz, in a scarily similar style.”
“No, I did not sue! But I also got completely duped by the ‘we’re different than all the other big firms’ shpiel. They’re not.”
According to this source, Greg Berry’s allegations might have some merit:
Any other firm and I’d say this guy is freeloading, but I KNOW KBTF and they are so backhanded and they completely screwed me, so my message to Gregory is GO GET THEM FOR EVERY PENNY YOU CAN. They are horribly inefficient at doc review on purpose, and I think it’s awful that they preached to me too their “informal structure” then Berry goes around that structure and is out on his ass. I hate that firm.
I too, got fired for almost the same thing — too ambitious, overstepping my bounds. One day they loved me. Next day I was out.
Welcome to Biglaw. Kasowitz Benson might be younger, leaner and meaner than many other large law firms. But at the end of the day, it’s still a large law firm, and it still has a hierarchy.
If there’s a CEO deposition to be taken or a summary judgment motion to be argued, it’s going to be handled by Marc Kasowitz or one of his partners — not by Greg Berry or some other junior associate. Getting “early responsibility” in Biglaw might involve, say, taking a deposition before you’re a fifth-year associate, or arguing some non-dispositive motion before you’re a partner. It’s not going to involve skipping out on doc review as a first-year, which is what Greg Berry apparently hoped to do.
Our anti-Kasowitz tipster has no regrets, though: “I’m much happier [at my new employer], so Aaron Marks and Marc Kasowitz did me a favor.” Perhaps Greg Berry will someday say the same thing, if his new law firm starts to flourish.
Also in defense of Greg Berry: he’s quite good-looking. My esteemed colleague Staci just asked me, “Am I weird for thinking this guy is hot?” I assured her that she wasn’t weird at all; Berry is definitely handsome, especially for an older gent.
While we’re on the subject of Gregory Berry, here are two more amusing stories about him. The first comes from a classmate at U Penn Law, who worked with Berry on a secondary journal:
Greg lasted about a month on the journal. He for some reason thought that the journal’s comment/note requirements didn’t apply to him. He completely blew off the first deadline for his comment/note. He got into some unpleasant exchanges with [various editors] over it.
Throughout the whole ordeal he barely communicated with us, and when he did it was via emails that were eerily reminiscent of the emails in his complaint. It was like he seemed to genuinely not understand why we were upset about him not turning in the first assignment. Long story short, things ended with Greg resigning from the journal about a month into the first semester.
This makes Greg Berry sound less than fun — but that would be a misleading impression. Apparently he was a riot while working as a summer associate at Kasowitz:
During their summer program, the firm took the summer associates out for karaoke, and that Greg picked — and sang — a very explicit/graphic song, to the great delight of his future (now past) colleagues.
Needless to say, when I saw “Kasowitz” and “first year associate suing for X number of dollars,” I immediately thought of Mr. Berry.
Yes, we know the song in question. A second source corroborated the original tip and provided the 411:
At his summer karaoke event, where, at the time, apparently everyone already thought he was a creepy and weird older man, he chose to sing “Pussy Control” [by Prince], which only made him seem even more creepy and socially awkward, and everyone was like “WTF, Greg?!?!?!”
Not long after, the recruiter lady clicked to the next song to save everyone in the room the date-rapist visuals that would no doubt be haunting their dreams. Seems like Kasowitz should have known based on at least that encounter (and you’d think there had to be other indicators) not to hire him after his summer.
Guess they really wanted that 100% offer rate on the books!
If you’re not familiar with “Pussy Control,” you can listen to it here, or read the lyrics here. “PC” has a good beat, but it’s rather… profane. It’s probably not the best thing to sing with a bunch of law firm colleagues.
Here’s what one commenter on a Prince message board had to say about the song:
Pussy Control – One of the most embarrassing Prince songs known to man!!!!
Hello org, I’m very new to this site, although I’ve browsed the forums for years. Anyway to cut to the chase, I was online researching various Prince songs, and I happened to come across one of his older cuts, Pussy Control. Needless to say, I was both disappointed and embarrassed that such a profilic artist would stoop to such a low level. While I consider myself a diehard Prince fan (I was born the year Purple Rain came out), I’ve heard about the song, but never had a chance to listen it thoroughly until today.
So my question is, when did this song come out (i.e. year, album period), and was Prince going for shock value when he recorded this? I realize the latter question may be difficult to answer, but all feedback is welcome.
Lastly, was it just me or was I the only laughing Prince’s use of profanity throughout the song?
Some of the responses are funny. Here’s a good one:
[Some of the] stuff that he wrote [during the “Pussy Control” period] was vulgar and beneath a man of his talents. Yes, some call him ribald and bold, aka rock n roll in the day. And now he is ahem… respectable… aka ‘zzzz’ to some.
But would you go around singing Pussy Control in public?
Most people wouldn’t. But Gregory Berry is not “most people,” and that is why we love him.
P.S. We’re guessing you’ve had your fill of Greg Berry stories for now. We will (probably) not write about this story again until Kasowitz files its response to the lawsuit, or some other notable event takes place. We thank everyone who took the time to write us with stories and tidbits about Berry.