Last night, David Lat reported that Quinn Emanuel will be rolling out a new approach to on-campus recruiting later this year. Maybe Quinn should also consider a new approach to getting old partners in touch with young secretaries eager to party? Because the current method of accidentally sending reply-all messages referencing the secretaries’ physical attributes might not be the best strategy.
I don’t mean to be cryptic. A Quinn Emanuel partner not only emailed something inappropriate last night, but he accidentally hit “reply all” while he was doing it.
It’s gonna be easy and most likely appropriate to kill the guy. But on the chance that my wife is not reading today, I’m going to offer a defense of this leering partner. Just hear me out…
We’re going to redact the name of the legal secretary (the “temp” legal secretary) because her only crime is being attractive and working at Quinn. Our “Hottietary” sent around a completely innocuous email to everyone in QE’s New York office:
I am available if anyone needs paralegal/secretarial assistance. I am sitting on floor 24 and can be reached at [redacted].
In response, Quinn partner Kevin Reed replied with this, to the entire NYC office. He claims that he wasn’t talking to the Hottietary, but accidents happen:
I admire your gumption, especially when you’re in a tight dress.
Kevin S. Reed • Partner
Hey, it’s hard to send email with only one hand.
Reed apologized and denied any malicious intent pretty quickly:
Well, this easily makes the top 1 list of most embarrassing things I’ve ever done. That email was misdirected and not intended as a reply to [Hottietary], to whom I very sincerely apologize.
Kevin S. Reed • Partner
Umm… whose gumption were you intending to admire? I think it’s pretty clear that Reed intended to reply about the Hottietary, even if not “to” the Hottietary.
Which… I don’t know, is kind of okay. Reed’s statement was clearly inappropriate, and this temp secretary should not have to work in an office where she feels partners are leering at her. Reed owes the woman a lot more than this hastily written email apology.
But we’ve seen pictures of the woman and, just saying, she would look great in a tight dress. That’s just a fact. I’m not saying women who look good in tight dresses should be subjected to this kind of talk. I’m not saying she’s pretty so she should get used to it. I’m not saying she should take Reed’s email as a compliment.
What I am saying is that guys email their friends about attractive women they work with ALL THE TIME. That’s just what happens. Do you know how many emails I’ve gotten about my female co-workers from friends asking about their attractiveness? And if they’re good friends, f**k it, I’ll answer their questions. I don’t care. I wouldn’t, you know, necessarily want to share my responses to these friends with my colleagues. It’s hard to put “Seriously dude, you should see her when she comes in with her hair still wet from the gym” in the appropriate, professional context. But I’ve said it. Most men have said it. And everybody’s thought it.
That doesn’t mean you get to run around telling your female colleagues everything that pops into your dirty, still-in-the-gutter mind. Propriety matters, and Reed’s sin here is not showing basic propriety on firm email. It’s demeaning to the secretary to publicly reduce her contributions to her wardrobe, and Reed should probably feel more than “embarrassed” by the incident.
But it was an accident. That’s all. He didn’t reveal himself to be a closeted sexist. He revealed himself to be a dude. An aging dude who notices the young, attractive women around him. Trust me, that fantasy only starts with him admiring her “gumption” — let’s be happy Reed stopped before we got to the final disposition of the tight dress.
UPDATE (2:10 PM): We have some additional information from Quinn sources. First, they tell us that Reed is “a good guy” and the last person who would engage in anything that could be construed as sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct. Second, we hear that he wasn’t even in the New York office at the time of these events; he was in Chicago. Shortly after his original email went out, a woman colleague “replied all”:
I’m with Kevin — we happen to be booked on the same flight and he just came up to the gate. He is distressed and mortified at the misdirected mail.
Third, a QE source suggests that this email was neither intended for nor even about the secretary in question. According to this tipster, Reed admires someone else’s “gumption,” and the email was meant for that individual; he apparently replied to the wrong email in his haste.
UPDATE (2:50 PM): From another Quinn source: “For any doubters, the secretary in question last night was wearing jeans, not a ‘tight dress.’ I sit on 24.”