Gay

gay marriage skadden.jpgConnecticut homosexuals now have the same right to get married — and eventually lose half of their stuff — as heterosexuals:

The Supreme Court released its historic ruling at 11:30 a.m. Citing the equal protection clause of the state constitution, the justices ruled that civil unions were discriminatory and that the state’s “understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection.”

Writing for the 4-3 majority, Justice Palmer wrote:

Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice, to decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.

Homosexuals were held to be a quasi-suspect class.

Now we go to the ballots. On election day Connecticut voters will have an opportunity to convene a state constitutional convention that could result in a ban on gay marriage.

Any inappropriate, firm-wide emails sent by partners staking out political positions should be sent here.

Update (Lat, J., concurring): In the comments, some of you have complained about our use of “homosexual” as a noun (instead of a more P.C. formulation like “gay men and lesbians”). Obviously we are not biased against gay people around here. Rather, our use of “homosexual” was intended to be ironic and amusingly archaic. Thanks.

High Court Grants Gay Marriage Rights [Hartford Courant]

Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (PDF)

Earlier: Orrick’s Internal Battle Over Proposition 8

Skadden Partner Walks Into the Lion’s Den Society

pink triangle firefighters.jpgThe case of the hurtful homosexuals v. SDFD ended yesterday in mistrial. The jury could not decide if four firefighters were victims of sexual harassment. The men were “forced” to march in a San Diego gay pride parade and also taunted during the march:

The firefighters claimed they were humiliated by taunts and sexual gestures from parade watchers in San Diego.

Their complaint said parade participants included “a group of radical homosexual men” dressed in nun habits and others who yelled comments such as, “You’re making me hot!” and, “I can’t breathe, give me mouth to mouth!”

“Radical homosexual men?” Obviously these firefighters have never been to Chelsea (or even Hell’s Kitchen).

At the time SDFD policy was to make participation in the parade mandatory under anti-discrimination laws. SDFD has since made participation voluntary.

San Diego’s city attorney was happy with the outcome of the case:

City Attorney Michael Aguirre said the lawsuit “was about greed” and declared the jury’s deadlock a total victory. … Aguirre told jurors that the men were assigned to the parade after another crew backed out due to a death in one member’s family. He said the parade is a city-sanctioned event, just like celebrations of the Fourth of July and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The firefighters’ attorney said that they would seek a new trial.

But let’s flip the gender and orientation for a second. Would it be sexual harassment for a group of guys to shout “you’re making me hot” at women marching in a parade? It seems like the same standard should apply to a sexual harassment charge in both cases, if at all.

Mistrial in case of firefighters forced to join gay pride parade [CNN]

orrick logo.gifLast week, we tangentially touched on the issue of California’s Proposition 8, which is titled: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” The issue touched off a firestorm of comments, with many strong opinions for and against the measure.

Apparently, senior attorneys at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe also hold strong opinions about Prop. 8. Political divisions at the firm came to a head when Dean Criddle, a tax partner in the San Francisco office, made a $5,000 contribution to the Yes On 8 campaign. Upon learning of Criddle’s contribution, his colleague in the tax department and San Francisco office, of counsel Cameron Wolfe, sent out this email:

Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:57 PM

To: SF ALL ATTORNEYS; SV ALL ATTORNEYS; SC ALL ATTORNEYS

Subject: Orrick and the Proposition 8 Campaign

The publicity attendant to the $5,000 contribution to the Yes on 8 Campaign by an Orrick partner damages the reputation of Orrick as a progressive law firm supportive of equal rights for gay and lesbian people. This can adversely impact the firm in many ways, including hurting our ability to attract gay and lesbian recruits; turning off clients, existing and potential, that support equal rights for homosexuals; and making our current gay and lesbian work force feel like second class citizens.

Chief justice George’s eloquent exposition of the reasons why same sex marriage is a right that should be guaranteed to all gay and lesbian people need not be elaborated upon here. Obviously, the partner who made the $5,000 contribution had a right to believe the Chief Justice to be wrong and to make the contribution he did. It can be debated whether he should have foreseen that this action could damage Orrick. What can’t be debated is that we should try to counteract the damage that has occurred.

One thing that we as individuals working at the Orrick firm can do is to make personal contributions to the No on 8 Campaign. If enough of us do so, that may be newsworthy enough to generate positive publicity offsetting the present negative impression in the community on this important issue.

I urge each of you to make a contribution to No on 8, which can be sent as follows:

No on 8

Equality California

2370 Market St.

San Francisco, CA 94114

And be sure to indicate your affiliation with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.

Thanks for your help.

Cameron Wolfe, Jr.

We can argue about whether gay marriage should be protected by the Constitution, but isn’t it a little bit odd to be advocating one right while trying to step on a separate Constitutional protection?

Another Orrick lawyer weighs in, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Orrick’s Internal Battle Over Proposition 8″

1a Charlie Herschel David Lat.JPG
Lawyer turned Survivor contestant Charlie Herschel, right, with your above-signed writer (in the yellow Survivor do-rag).

As previously reported in these pages, Charlie Herschel — a 29-year-old, openly gay associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York — is a contestant on Survivor: Gabon, which had its two-hour season premiere last night. We’re pleased to report that Charlie is still in the running for the one million dollars. To read more about our handsome hero, including details of his friendship with fellow gay Clay Aiken, check out this interesting interview with Herschel in The Advocate.

Last night, we headed over to Professor Thom’s in the East Village, to attend a “Survivor” premiere party in Charlie’s honor. It was hosted by his employer, Weil Gotshal — which is doing well in the downturn, thanks in large part to its top-flight bankruptcy practice.

Correction: The party was not officially hosted by Weil, although many WGM attorneys were in attendance.

More discussion, plus a slideshow of party pics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Party Crash: The Survivor Premiere Party”

champagne glasses small.jpgEven as the national economy teeters on the brink of collapse, Wall Street’s elite continue to flock to the altar. Click here, here, and here, and imagine what this month has been like for these people. Getting married is stressful enough; we can’t imagine doing it while at the center of a financial meltdown.

In other random New York observations, both of the city’s baseball stadiums will close their doors this fall. Last Sunday’s final game in Yankee Stadium was celebrated with a Sports Illustrated cover and wall-to-wall coverage on ESPN. This Sunday’s game could be the last in Shea Stadium, and the New York Times marks the occasion with a gripping piece on how pilots landing at La Guardia won’t be able to use the place as a landmark anymore.

Here are this week’s couples:

1. Jean Park and Albert Cho

2. Trinity Jackman and Joshua Harlan

3. Edward Pierce and Robert Saltzman

More about our finalists, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.21: I’ll Meltdown With You”

gay marriage skadden.jpgProminent litigator Raoul Kennedy, a partner in the San Francisco office of Skadden, stuck his head in the lion’s mouth — and lived to talk about it. Legal Pad reports that Kennedy went to a Federalist Society meeting in San Francisco to defend gay marriage, where he didn’t pull any punches:

“How are any of us adversely impacted,” Kennedy asked, “when same-sex couples get married?”

The issue of gay marriage, he added, “is to the 21st century what slavery was to the 19th century.” Years from now, Kennedy insisted, the average person will look back and say, “How could people be so backward-oriented?”

He told the crowd there are so many problems in the world that gay marriage — in which two people only want to commit to a life together — shouldn’t be a problem. “You’ve got to have something better to do with your lives,” he said.

It’s easy to praise Kennedy for defending gay rights in front of a hostile audience, but how about the Federalist Society even existing in San Francisco? That’s like starting a Bill Maher fan club at Sunday school.

Kennedy presumably had the support of some of the Society’s more libertarian members. His debate opponent, Glen Lavy of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, was the flag bearer for the social conservatives:

Lavy also said that only those “who oppose democracy” would try to challenge Proposition 8, the Nov. 4 ballot measure that would limit marriage to heterosexual couples, if it passes. He also argued that a defeat of Prop 8 would lead to legal attacks — on the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages and on pastors who preach that same-sex relationships are immoral based on biblical teachings.

It would be interesting to hear what Kennedy’s fellow partners thought about their colleague pissing off the Federalist Society.

Californians: Care to predict the fate of Prop 8?

Attorney Defends Gay Marriage to Tough Crowd [LegalPad]

Charlie Herschel Charles Herschel Weil Gotshal Manges Survivor.jpgThings are looking good these days for Weil, Gotshal & Manges. For the sixth year in a row, it made the top 10 of the Vault 100. It took fourth place in the American Lawyer’s A-List rankings, and turned in a strong showing in the magazine’s midlevel associate survey (#11 out of 80+ New York firms).
And Weil attorneys are an interesting crew, too. Some plunge into rapping careers. And some compete on reality shows!
Meet first-year associate Charlie Herschel. He’s a contestant on the latest season of Survivor, premiering on September 25. From his bio:

Charlie Herschel has been a fan of SURVIVOR since the first season and has been training for it ever since. A lawyer for one of the top 10 most prestigious law firms in the world, Herschel is ready to try his persuasion skills on a different type of jury.

This 29-year-old, marathon-running attorney and University of Pennsylvania graduate says he is above nothing when he gets to the island. Charlie’s strategy is to be authentic but with a twist. “With high risks, come high rewards, but the risks must be calculated.” The middle son of three boys and a native New Yorker, the Ivy Leaguer is not afraid to claw his way to the top.

Charles Herschel WGM headshot.jpgIf Herschel can survive in the Biglaw jungle, Gabon should be a piece of cake. And there’s precedent for lawyers faring well on Survivor. E.g., Yul Kwon (winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, and a year behind us at YLS).
Now, large law firms can be a bit stodgy. Some don’t react well to their associates’ forays into reality television. See, e.g., David Otunga (from I Love New York 2, and no longer at Sidley); Jeremy Anderson (from The Bachelorette, and no longer at Hunton & Williams). But see Denise Gitsham (welcomed back by K&L Gates, after appearing on The Bachelor); Stacy Rotner (still at Sidley, after appearing on The Apprentice; guess it’s more respectable than I Love New York 2).
What was Weil’s response to Charlie Herschel going on Survivor? Find out — and ogle photos of a shirtless Herschel — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Law Firm ‘Survivor’: Meet Charlie Herschel”

Russian nesting dolls Matryoshka doll.jpg* Why does Wall Street get all the juicy scandals? We’re jealous of our DealBreaker colleagues. [Dealbreaker]
* Larry Ribstein’s take: “it’s hard not to think that it’s really all about dispute a few weeks ago between [the NYT's Andrew Ross] Sorkin and Dealbreaker’s John Carney.” [Ideoblog]
* Are you in the top one percent of U.S. taxpayers ranked by adjusted gross income? And which states are home to the richest of rich taxpayers? [TaxProf Blog]
* “Would you trust a law professor to be President?” [Althouse]
* Speaking of law profs, they may boycott the annual AALS meeting, due to the hotel owner’s opposition to same-sex marriage. [National Law Journal via TaxProf Blog]
* An interesting interview of Fried Frank partner Jonathan Mechanic, a superstar of the real estate bar. [New York Observer]
* Russian judge: “If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children.” [Telegraph (U.K.)]

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

Wild Things lesbian kiss Neve Campbell.jpgLet’s close out the week with one more post about everyone’s favorite summer associate scandal: the girl-on-girl kiss that got two summer associates fired from the Minneapolis law firm of Lindquist & Vennum.

Earlier today, we alluded to rumors of “additional lasciviousness” at Lindquist, and now it’s time to deliver. We wouldn’t want to be accused of being teases.

Now some of you may be getting lesbian kiss fatigue (although some of you may say, “no such thing!!!”). But having received this tip, we can’t sit on it, or we’d be accused of giving you only part of the story.

From a tipster (who provided additional identifying information to explain how he’s in a position to know this, which we’ve omitted to preserve his anonymity):

“[The Kiss] happened at a bar with a bunch of summer people after dinner at a partner’s house. [One of the summers] was probably just fired as a scapegoat, because that same night [another summer] made out with a married partner. I bet they didn’t fire that girl because they were afraid of employment discrimination suits.”

Well! All this scandalous talk — faux-lesbian kisses, orgiastic firm retreats — is making us blush.

We retract any and all prior remarks suggesting the folks at Lindquist are prudes and squares. To the contrary, it sounds like the place is so buck wild that lesbian lip-action is on the mild side of the spectrum. We are — involuntarily, mind you — imagining Nancy Vollertsen dancing on a table.

Okay, this scandal may have run its course; all good things come to an end. But we remain open to corrections, in case we’ve gotten anything wrong. Feel free to send any info our way, by email (subject line: “Lindquist and Vennum Summer Associate Scandal”). Thanks.

Earlier: Prior coverage of The Kiss (scroll down)

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