Gay

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?”

Richard Scruggs 2 Dick Scruggs Dickie Scruggs Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday the FBI executed a search warrant on the Scruggs Law Firm in Oxford, Mississippi — the shop of high-flying plaintiffs’ lawyer Dickie Scruggs. It wasn’t immediately clear what investigation the search was related to. Here’s some commentary on the situation that we enjoyed, from David Rossmiller (in brackets, following excerpt from news article):

“This is a surprise to everybody connected to the Scruggs Firm,” [lawyer Joey] Langston said, “but I’ve got to tell you people who are very high profile and very successful have to contend with unpleasantries and this is unpleasant, but we’ll contend with it.”

[I like the touch of noblesse oblige here -- as if the FBI descending on one's place of business is the same as, say, getting heckled by drunken lumpenproletariat while showing up in top hat and tails to receive an award for charitable giving.]

suitcase briefcase cash money Above the Law blog.jpgNow we have a better idea of what the office search was probably about. From the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger:

Multimillionaire trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs has been indicted on charges of conspiring to bribe a judge in the case involving $26.5-million in attorney fees involving Katrina claims….

According to the indictment, Lafayette County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey cooperated with the FBI in the investigation after reporting a bribery overture to authorities.

According to the indictment, Scruggs and others tried to influence Lackey by giving him $40,000 in cash to resolve the attorney fees’ dispute in favor of Scruggs’ law firm. Some of the conversations between Balducci and Lackey were captured on tape.

An interesting observation, from the WSJ Law Blog:

Down in Mississippi, there has been speculation of a connection between the FBI search warrant and this week’s surprise resignation of Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), Scruggs’s brother-in-law. Lott’s office told the Sun Herald the two events were but a mere coincidence.

Because, you know, it’s so much better to have people think you stepped down because of a gay sex scandal, as opposed to your brother-in-law’s indictment.
(For the record, the rumors about Sen. Lott and the gay sex scandal appear to be unfounded. See HuffPo and Wonkette — two sites that would, of course, love for the rumors to be true.)
Scruggs arrested on bribery charges [Clarion-Ledger]
More on FBI search of Scruggs’ law offices [Insurance Coverage Law Blog]
Dickie Scruggs Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges [WSJ Law Blog]

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?

Clifford Chance CC Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re looking for confirmation of the Clifford Chance bonus announcement we posted yesterday, check out this short article from Legal Week.
In other CC news, the firm is making overtures to LGBT lawyers, in the wake of its own Brokeback Lawfirm scandal. From TheLawyer.com:

Clifford Chance is setting up a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network just months after settling a sexual orientation discrimination claim from former competition partner Michael Bryceland….

Clifford Chance tax partner Stephen Shea, who has been active in setting up the LGBT group, said the firm established the network to further foster diversity, but also to respond to client demand. As reported by The Lawyer (21 May), JPMorgan now asks prospective panel firms for diversity statistics and companies such as Transport for London are following suit.

This is par for the course — and in the U.S., too. If you want law firms to focus more on diversity, or if you think they focus too much on it already, you need to look to their clients. Much of Biglaw’s current emphasis on diversity is being driven by clients: Fortune 500 companies that want to be able to say they have diverse teams of lawyers handling their legal matters.
Clifford Chance Joins the N.Y. Bonus Wars [Legal Week]
Clifford Chance set to launch gay network [TheLawyer.com]
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Clifford Chance Matches (For the Survivors)

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?”

gay football 2 Abercrombie Ftich Above the Law blog.jpgActually, as it turns out, Judge Jeffrey Levenson DID say he was sorry — immediately after making the ill-considered gay football / “wide receiver” crack that made him our Judge of the Day. And he apologized repeatedly during the course of the hearing, too.
But that hasn’t stopped the hue and cry. From the Daily Business Review:

Bar leaders and the public defender issued new calls Thursday for sensitivity training for Broward judges after Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson made an off-color joke in his courtroom about a teenage boy who allegedly had sex with an adult male defendant.

“If this incident doesn’t scream loudly how desperately we need diversity and sensitivity training in this circuit, then I don’t know what will,” said Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. “In a matter of a year or two years, we had a judge insult Haitian-Americans, another insult African-Americans, had a third judge insulting blacks, Hispanics and Catholics, and a fourth judge insulting gay people.”

Maybe Judge Levenson should skip the sensitivity training and become a television judge. After all, TV judges get PAID to insult the litigants.
Food for thought: Why does Florida produce so many TV judges? It is because of their penchant, noted by PD Howard Finkelstein, for being rude and abusive?
The following are former Floridian jurists who left the state bench for the boob tube: Marilyn Milian, of the People’s Court (previously discussed here); Alex Ferrer, a/k/a “Judge Alex”; David Young, the gay TV judge; and the notorious Anna Nicole Smith judge, Larry Seidlin (not on air yet, but rumored to arrive in fall 2008).
Broward Courts: New chief’s honeymoon over [Daily Business Review]
Earlier: Judge of the Day: Jeffrey Levenson

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: The Sequel?”

Aaron Charney Sullivan Cromwell settlement Above the Law blog.jpgThe celebrated case of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell was fun while it lasted. As we mentioned last night, the fun is over: the parties have reached a settlement.
But the case was good to us — and we intend to give it a proper sendoff, with several post-mortem posts. If you have any info or gossip about the case that you’d be willing to share, please email us.
This post is the obligatory linkwrap. We’ve collected and read various reactions to the settlement news, so you don’t have to.
Links and excerpts, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: A Settlement Linkwrap”

Aaron Charney Sullivan Cromwell settlement Above the Law blog.jpgYes, the Brokeback Lawfirm litigation has come to an end. No, this is not an April Fools’ joke.
Sullivan & Cromwell and Aaron Charney ride off into the sunset, with Charney a little sore in the saddle — from all the money he’s sitting on. No more “bending over” for this cowboy.
The scoop, from Anthony Lin, appears in the New York Law Journal:

Sullivan & Cromwell said Thursday it had reached a settlement with former associate Aaron Charney, who sued the New York law firm earlier this year for sexual orientation discrimination.

“Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell have resolved their differences in connection with all pending disputes between them,” the firm said through a spokesman.

Charney’s lawyer, Daniel Alterman of Alterman & Boop, did not return a call for comment.

The settlement, the terms of which are confidential, brings to a close a dispute that had fascinated the New York legal community over the past several months, both with its allegations concerning partners at one of the city’s most prestigious firms and its bizarre twists and turns in the courtroom.

The rest of the piece recites the facts of the case and its procedural history, which will be familiar to ATL readers. But it’s a clear and cogent summary, and you can read the rest of it here.
We’ll have more to say in the morning. In the meantime, have at it in the comments.
Aaron Charney, wherever you are: Good night, and good luck. And if you need any help spending those settlement proceeds — call us.
P.S. Anthony Lin’s article was linked to by Howard Bashman at 10:58 PM, but we’re not exactly sure when the news broke. (We just got home from the Georgetown Law EJF auction, which was great fun.)
Sullivan Settles With Former Associate Who Sued Firm for Discrimination [New York Law Journal]

Page 51 of 701...474849505152535455...70