Aaron Charney

avatar Marin ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by MARIN, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Marin's avatar (at right).]
From ergonomic wrist supports to dual computer monitors, law firms wring every ounce of productivity from the attorneys they haven’t axed (yet). But while firms close branch offices and fire scores of lawyers, we submit that the answer to the current economic slump isn’t merging firms – it’s merging people. Everybody knows that two lawyers are better than one. It’s time for firms to get both and pay half; time for attorney mating.
No more legions of staff attorneys or filibuster roll-calls. Say goodbye to team meetings that resemble the Last Supper. Through attorney mating, firms can combine, say, the skills of master litigators with those of corporate powerhouses in order to produce uberlawyers with the efficiency of ten Aeron chairs. Using genetic samples from parent attorneys and the latest in Photoshop technology, we’ll give you a sneak peak at the offspring of some of the most sought-after combinations.
Read more, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What if They Mated: Legal All-Stars Edition”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.JPGBack in February 2007, shortly after young gay lawyer Aaron Charney sued his former firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, alleging anti-gay discrimination and retaliation, the WSJ Law Blog asked: “Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over?”
Based on the experts it spoke to, the WSJ concluded that “it’ll be tough for Charney, though not impossible, to find work at another big firm.” In the comments to the WSJ post, readers were less optimistic. One described Charney as “toast” — a sentiment apparently shared by many ATL readers we heard from, who found laughable the notion that Aaron Charney might someday return to Biglaw.
If you were one of those who doubted that Aaron Charney could return to a large law firm, it’s time for you to eat one of these. Next month, Charney will be joining Clifford Chance, in the Magic Circle firm’s New York office.
We reached out to both Aaron Charney and Clifford Chance for confirmation and comment. Charney did not get back to us, but the firm did. From firm spokesperson Mike Kachel:

I can confirm that Aaron Charney, a talented lawyer, will join our New York office in early September from Sullivan & Cromwell as a fifth-year associate. Aaron’s presence will further strengthen our M&A practice and we’re delighted he’s joining us.

The firm is clearly pleased to have Charney on the team. But does everyone at Clifford Chance feel the same way? The CC source who tipped us off to the news alluded to some grumbling among the rank-and-file about Charney’s hiring (but didn’t specify why people wouldn’t want to have Charney as a colleague). As for why the firm wanted to hire Charney, this tipster suggested that Clifford Chance may want to improve its standing in the gay community, after settling a sexual orientation lawsuit brought by a gay partner in London last year.
Regardless of the naysayers’ views, this does seem like a felicitous pairing. Aaron Charney gets to return to the world of corporate law and deal work, which he clearly loves. Clifford Chance gets to beef up its New York M&A practice — and enhance its diversity record, too. Congratulations to both Charney and Clifford Chance!
P.S. Clifford Chance wasn’t the only firm that flirted with Charney. As we mentioned back in May, he also interviewed with Kramer Levin.
P.P.S. Whatever happened to Charney pal Gera Grinberg? Might Clifford Chance have room for him too?
Are Aaron Charney’s Big Law-Firm Days Over? [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: A Brokeback Lawfirm for the Other Side of the Pond

West End Avenue 890 West End Avenue Above the Law blog.jpgSo how much did Aaron Charney get in his settlement from Sullivan & Cromwell? There has been lots of speculation, but little evidence.
Here’s one fact suggesting that he did pretty well: Aaron Charney just bought a $1.5 million Manhattan condo. As reported by Max Abelson in the New York Observer:

A deed filed in city records suggests that the Sullivan settlement wasn’t minor: Mr. Charney and a partner just paid $1.495 million for a penthouse at the newly converted condo at 93rd Street and Broadway.

According to the floor plan, they’ll have two bedrooms, a 17-foot-long living/dining room and an L-shaped terrace that stretches 50 feet on each wing….

The 987-square-foot terrace, nearly as big as the interior space, is edged by high walls, which means there’s privacy instead of views. “I would consider it extremely private, with an opportunity to take your inside living outdoors,” the broker said.

Sounds fabulous — although quite different from his former home. Charney’s new abode is in a prewar building (pictured), as opposed to the ultra-modern Orion, where he used to live. And it’s in a more staid neighborhood: the Upper West Side, as opposed to the hip and gentrifying Hell’s Kitchen.
But at $1.5 million, Charney’s new home is 50 percent more expensive than his old one, which he sold last year for a little under a million ($150K more than what he paid). So Charney is definitely movin’ on up.
More discussion, including speculation about Aaron Charney’s finances and romances, after the jump.
Update: Since this post was originally published, we’ve appended multiple updates, which appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: New Million-Dollar Digs for Aaron Charney
(And a new boyfriend, too?)”


The time has come, and the crowning of ATL’s Lawyer of the Year and Second Favorite Blog After ATL, both of which are sponsored by ATL and Lateral Link, is at last upon us.
In all, a whopping 4,186 votes were cast, with 2,683 of you voting for Lawyer of the Year and 1,503 weighing in on which blog you like second-most after this one. Find out how it all turned out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Survey Results: And The Winners Are . . .”

In last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you to submit your nominations for Lawyer of the Year. Today, you get to vote!
The nominees, and select comments explaining why, are below:
Aaron Charney

For both the attention focused, success of action, and for the visibility [he] brought to the secondary issue of partner/associate relations (but not those kinds of relations).

Alberto Gonzales

Exemplifies why lawyers are so mistrusted in this country.

Barack Obama

The man had the credentials to do Biglaw. He chose public service instead. Although he is obviously politically ambitious, he at least appears to be in it for the people. He’s almost as hot as Judicial Hottie Jeffrey Sutton. I mean, did you see the Obama Girl videos? We’ve all got a crush on Obama. And he just might be president next year.

Hillary Clinton

She’s fabulous.

Loyola 2L

He’s generated the most thoughtful discussion of law school. That, and perhaps the publicity will help him get a job.

Ray Beckerman

For his tireless defense and continuous commentary in countless RIAA cases.

Whoever helps Chipmunk lady.

Because.

We know that last one should really be a 2008 Lawyer of the Year, not a 2007 Lawyer of the Year, but we just don’t care. You demanded the nomination right now.
So who should win? Cast your vote below.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

New York Observer logo small Above the Law blog.jpgIn our column for this week’s New York Observer, we help you plan an imaginary dinner party. A dinner party, of course, is only as good as the guest list. So we review which colorful characters of the legal world, who made headlines in 2007, should be invited to your festivities.
Think of it as a “year in review” piece, aimed primarily at people who don’t read ATL (since most of the names mentioned in the article will be familiar to regular visitors to this site). The potential guests under consideration: Charlene Morisseau, the sassy ex-associate who sued DLA Piper; Aaron Charney, who made S&C “bend over”; and internet celebrity Loyola 2L.
ATL bonus content: Due to space considerations, our write-up of Elana Glatt (née Elana Elbogen) wound up on the cutting room floor. But if you’d like to read it, we’ve reprinted it after the jump.
Culture of Complaint Spreads Through Law Firms [New York Observer]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?”

Eric Krautheimer 2 Eric M Krautheimer Aaron Charney Sullivan & Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgBefore Thanksgiving, we put up an open thread devoted to discussion of the California bar exam. We’re surprised that nobody mentioned this interesting tidbit of news (which we learned about from a tipster via email):

High-powered Sullivan & Cromwell partner Eric Krautheimer, the alleged tormentor of gay associate Aaron Charney, took and passed the July 2007 California bar exam.

Congratulations, Mr. Krautheimer!
Back in April, at the height of the Aaron Charney controversy, it was rumored that Krautheimer was going to be transferred to S&C’s Los Angeles office. Some speculated that it was to remove him from the New York office, where Brokeback Lawfirm all went down. But if Krautheimer’s move to the West Coast is still going forward, despite the settlement of the Charney lawsuit, we’re guessing Krautheimer has his own personal reasons for wanting to move to L.A.
On our earlier post about the move rumors, a commenter called S&C LA wrote: “No truth to this at all. Sorry, this rumor is just that and nothing more.” Presumably this commenter thinks that Eric Krautheimer — a leading M&A lawyer, and a partner making millions of dollars a year, at one of the nation’s top corporate law firms — took California’s three-day bar exam just for fun.
It must have been strange for a veteran lawyer, almost 15 years out of law school, to be taking the bar next to newly minted law school graduates — including 18-year-old Kathleen Holtz. But then again, former Stanford Law School dean Kathleen Sullivan did it — twice.
On the S&C website, Eric Krautheimer is still listed as based in New York. But expect to see him in L.A. sometime soon, now that he’s a member of the California bar.
P.S. On the S&C website, the link to Eric Krautheimer’s bio was moved from here to here. Was the firm trying to render all of ATL’s links to his bio obsolete? If so, nice try — but nothing that a site-wide “Find and Replace” can’t fix.
July 2007 California Bar Examination Pass List [State Bar of California]
Earlier: Brokeback Lawfirm: Is Eric Krautheimer Headed for Hollywood?

Aaron Charney solo firm headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law ATL.JPGSo just how large was the settlement in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell? Professor Scott Moss argued it was probably modest, while Professor Art Leonard believed it to be more substantial.
Here’s some evidence in favor of a larger settlement:

On Saturday at around 5 p.m., I spotted Aaron Charney in a cafe, in the bucolic town of Cold Spring, New York. I would have gone up and talked to him, but I realized who he was too late.

He was dressed in preppy fall wear, very J. Crew, with a wool hat. He was with two friends, and he was joking with them. He looked happy.

Well, how happy? Was it a $500,000 kind of happy, or a $2 million kind of happy?
Earlier: Just How Far Did S&C ‘Bend Over’ for Aaron Charney?

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney.JPGThe settlement of the litigation between Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell is not even two weeks old, but we miss the case already. So that’s why we decided to write about the case for our column in this week’s New York Observer:

So exactly how much did it cost Sullivan & Cromwell to make Aaron Charney go away? That’s the parlor game New York lawyers have been playing since late last month, when a settlement was reached between the white-shoe law firm and its former associate, who had sued S&C for sexual-orientation discrimination. Most memorably, Charney said that a partner dropped a document on the floor and told him to “bend over and pick it up—I’m sure you like that.”

Although it was a P.R. nightmare for S&C—where’s Michael Clayton when you need him?—Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell offered countless hours of entertainment and schadenfreude for the Big Law chattering class. The lawsuit was first filed in January, so it took nine months to deliver this baby.

From S&C’s perspective, Rosemary’s. You can read the rest of the column over here. (For the irony-impaired among you, please note that our “calculations,” with their mock precision, are not to be taken seriously.)
One more observation about the case, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Just How Far Did S&C ‘Bend Over’ for Aaron Charney?”

Earlier this month, it was reported that Heath Ledger is in talks to appear in a sequel to Brokeback Mountain. From Defamer:

Heath Ledger Ennis Del Mar Brokeback Mountain Above the Law blog.jpgWho could ever forget the final scene of Ang Lee’s tragic Brokeback Mountain, in which Heath Ledger’s Ennis Del Mar clutches a shirt belonging to the gay-sheepboy love of his life, as if touching him for the very last time? As shattering as that moment was, however, something called for a coda — perhaps just a brief shot of a smiling Ennis, finally at peace, serving daiquiris to vacationing tourists at the Key West bed n’ breakfast he opened after Jack Twist’s death.

We may not have to rely on our imaginations for that kind of closure, however, as OK! Magazine reports that a Brokeback sequel is on the way.

Is life imitating art? Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell have just settled the litigation between them. But a sequel to Brokeback Lawfirm may be in the works.
Gera Grinberg H Rodgin Cohen Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgRemember Gera Grinberg — the former S&C associate who worked closely with Aaron Charney, was rumored (incorrectly) to be Charney’s gay lover, and left the firm under mysterious circumstances? A reliable source — we use the source “reliable” intentionally, since all ATL sources should be presumed unreliable, unless otherwise indicated — tells us a lawsuit by Grinberg against S&C is a distinct possibility.
This source informs us that Gera Grinberg has filed “numerous complaints with S&C,” which have not yet been resolved. The former M&A associate hasn’t heard back from them regarding the results of any investigation that they may — or may not — have undertaken. In terms of pursuing further action against the firm, Grinberg has ruled nothing out.
Very interesting. Stay tuned.
Finally, in happier news for S&C, the firm just announced the election of its new partners. The timing, in the same week as settlement of the Charney litigation, is fitting. The firm is turning a new page in its history.
Check out the memo, and see if you know any of these future (or maybe current) millionaires, after the jump.

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