Biglaw, Email Scandals, Partner Issues, Screw-Ups

MoFo Partner Offers Cautionary Tale in Use of ‘Reply All’

A partner at Morrison & Foerster accidentally “replied all” to an email on which “List/Attorney/All” was cc’d. Emails sent to “List/Attorney/All” go out to all 1,000-plus MoFo lawyers around the world.

What the partner wrote in the email was probably not something that should have been shared with the rest of the firm….

Here’s the full email exchange:

Yes, that’s right: the partner wrote to a colleague, “Why are we both still at this firm?” (To my mind, this has the makings of a meme: “Why are we both still ____?”)

Even if the partner hadn’t “replied all,” one has to wonder: Why was that written using the firm’s email system? Just because you’re a partner doesn’t mean you can’t have a personal Gmail account.

We’ve heard of firms using either automated solutions or IT minions to monitor lawyer email. An email like this one could lead colleagues to think the partner is planning to defect (which could have adverse consequences for the partner).

This is not, of course, the first time that “reply all” has been misused at a large law firm. For some reason, it has happened quite a bit at Skadden Arps over the years. One of the most famous “reply all” mishaps ever was that of Jonas Blank, at the time a SASMF summer associate; you can read a recap here, or check out contemporaneous coverage from the pages of the New Yorker (since it was in the pre-ATL era).

More recently, an antitrust partner at Skadden unintentionally emailed the entire department with everyone’s annual evaluations. These were candid attorney evaluations that were supposed to have been confidential; they discussed such things as which attorneys were still in the running for partnership, and which ones had been asked to find new employment. Whoops.

Do you have a funny “reply all” story to share? Feel free to send it to us by email, to If we get enough entries, perhaps we’ll hold a contest.

Just don’t cc: your entire firm on the submission. And use your personal rather than firm email account for this purpose. Thanks.

(hidden for your protection)

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