Wanted to drop you a quick line thanking you for your ongoing coverage of my case. As I have stated all along, it is very important for attention to be given to this issue in order to foster change at S&C and more generally, and you have provided (and I hope will continue to provide) a tremendous forum for this cause.
If you want to discuss my matter, feel free to [call me].
We have a lunch to attend, so we’ll be gone for a little while. We’ve arranged for items to be posted in our absence, though, so please visit early and often.
While we’re gone, please feel free to share your thoughts on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, in the comments. We’ve been finding your comments highly informative and entertaining.
We especially welcome comments about Sullivan & Cromwell partner Alexandra Korry (at right). If the allegations about her from the Charney Complaint and ATL reader comments are even halfway true, we have the HUGEST CRUSH…
Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Later! Alexandra D. Korry [Sullivan & Cromwell] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
Lots of great reader comments concerning Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. It’s getting hard to keep track of them.
If we get the chance, we may put together a “Best of” or “Top 10″ list for comments (as one of you suggested). This comment thread, appended to yesterday’s post about Aaron Charney’s interview on Canadian television, is especially interesting.
If you’re having a slow Friday, and if you haven’t already done so, we urge you to read the entire Complaint (PDF). We have no background in this area of law, so we won’t opine on the merits of Charney’s case. But his complaint seems fairly well-written, at least by pro se standards, and it’s full of fun gossip about S&C.
As a legal matter, as well as a matter of professional development — i.e., not burning every last one of your bridges, including those to your mentors and allies — it may have been unwise for Charney to lard his complaint with so much (arguably gratuitous) scuttlebutt. But as connoisseurs of Biglaw gossip, we’re grateful to him for dishing all that dirt about S&C.
For now, we’d like to share with you this amusing message from a reader, about specific allegations from the Charney Complaint:
Not being included in the Mentor Program. That HAD to be the breaking point. See paragraphs 60-61 (“Pagnani’s Mentor List did not include Plaintiff”).
Oh the horror. If there is one bright ray of sunshine in a young associate’s life, it’s the opportunity to take summers out for a $200 lunch once a week. How can any third year get out of bed knowing that they’ll be eating an $6 sandwich from Au Bon Pain, while everyone else is out at a mentor-mentee lunch?
We’ve been running the same still photo of Aaron Charney, the plaintiff in Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, over and over again. You’re probably sick and tired of seeing his mug (appealing though it may be).
But now we have more to offer you. If you’d like to see and hear an animated Aaron Charney, to make your own judgment of his credibility, you’re in luck.
Aaron Charney has given an on-air interview to Report on Business Television, Canada’s leading business news television channel. The segment was titled “Aaron and Goliath.” Check it out here (around the 44th minute of the broadcast).
It’s quite interesting. And, of course, they go into the subject of anti-Canadian animus.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on the video. Please place them in the comments. Thanks.
After we posted the press release recognizing the Sullivan & Cromwell and Kaye Scholer lawyers who worked on the recent Onex / Kodak Health Group transaction, one of you pointed out:
Respectfully, you missed the lede in the Kodak post. Read Exhibit C to the Charney Complaint (PDF) re: Kodak’s complaints regarding fees and overstaffing. Then look at the attorney list for Kodak and compare the slim list for the other side.
S&C put out its major league press, earning how much in fees??? I’ll leave it to you to parse the Exhibit C memo. Have at it!
Point well-taken. The announcement mentions just five Kaye Scholer lawyers, versus almost thirty S&C lawyers, who worked on the deal.
In fairness to Sullivan, the Kaye Scholer part of the announcement names only partners, not associates (presumably omitted from the list). But it is true that a staggering number of S&C lawyers worked on this transaction — some 28 lawyers, about a third of them partners, from six different countries. Basically, everybody and their cousin-in-law worked on this deal.
Not surprisingly, Kodak squealed about the bill. For your reference, here’s Exhibit C to the Charney Complaint:
Partner Stephen Kotran notes that griping about the bill is “par for the course” for Kodak.
But Kodak might be wondering: Is overstaffing “par for the course” for Sullivan & Cromwell?
(Okay, that last line was gratuitously snarky. For all we know, Kodak was just delighted with the quality and cost of S&C’s legal representation. Heck, maybe we’ll drop Kodak a line and see if they have any comment. We’ll keep you posted.) Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
Our eyes glaze over when we see, in The American Lawyer or over at NYLawyer.com, those laundry lists of lawyers who worked on various transactions. Usually we don’t bother reading them.
But several of you drew our attention to this interesting announcement:
We aim to be “fair and balanced” in our coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. We have printedseveralstatements from Aaron Charney in these pages. We have a standing offer out to S&C to print any statements they’d like to make as well (although they have only availed themselves of it once).
We are happy, however, to print pro-S&C emails from unofficial sources too. The email below was forwarded to us by a tipster who received it through a listserv for gay lawyers.
The message struck us as thoughtful and well-written. Here it is (redactions ours, to keep our source anonymous — our default attribution policy):
I saw [another listserv member's] email regarding Sullivan and Cromwell, and as I summered there [recently], I wanted to give you all my perspective. I had a good experience there, and I think it would be a shame if this incident affected the firm’s ability to recruit LGBT lawyers.
For the record, I am not [currently affiliated] with the firm….
I thought S&C was one of the most gay-friendly firms I interviewed with. I had a long talk with a couple gay partners (one of whom headed the litigation department), and I was struck by how the acceptance of gay lawyers was not just superficial. Openly gay lawyers populate all levels of the firm, from the management committee to heads of departments to first-year associates.
I went on a couple gay summer events, including a huge summer dinner that the gay partners throw. I brought [my partner] to summer events. I never felt like I had to be “discreet” about my sexual orientation at the firm.
I never knew Aaron, but I’m not sure how connected with the other S&C gays he is. Let’s be honest though: the fact that some New York M&A attorneys might have engaged in mildly boorish behavior is not exactly newsworthy.
S&C, like all large NY firms, has its faults, but homophobia isn’t one of them. I encourage every member of [the listserv] who wants to do the big NY firm thing to apply there.
We thank the tipster who forwarded this to us, as well as the author of the original message (whom we contacted, and who gave us permission to post his message, with redactions).
Please continue to engage in robust dialogue in the comments. But if you have what might be described as a “special perspective” on the case — e.g., you know Aaron Charney personally, or you’re a gay lawyer at S&C — please feel free to email us. Thanks. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
(Because, you know, they have better things to do with their ten-foot poles.)
The New York Observer’s Anna Schneider-Mayerson has penned an interesting article on Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. Here’s the link. Random aside: When ATL holds its “Legal Journalist Hotties Contest,” expect Anna Schneider-Mayerson — a Harvard-educated blonde beauty — to give Jan Crawford Greenburg a run for her money.
Much of Schneider-Mayerson’s article will be familiar to regular readers of Above the Law (since we’ve been “covering the crap” out of this case, as promised). But the piece does contain some new information. Like this:
Mr. Charney said he called Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a legal advocacy organization that represents gay clients on civil-rights-related issues, to aid in his case.
“I called the hotline, spoke to the representative who answered, and was told I would hear back from them,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Days later they returned my call and informed me that they were not interested in pursuing my matter against S&C.”
(A representative at Lambda contacted by The Observer said it does not comment on these matters.)
The Lambda diss is the juiciest tidbit. But the NYO piece contains a few other highlights, which we reprint after the jump.
This morning brings some fresh news coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. ABC News, for example, has this story.
Most of the piece consists of background info, which ATL readers are already familiar with. But there is some new material concerning S&C and gay attorneys in general:
[T]he firm has a good reputation among gay lawyers. Among the 25 top law firms in New York surveyed in 2003, Sullivan & Cromwell had the highest percentage of gay, lesbian and transgender partners — almost 7 percent, although it ranked much lower — at 17th — for associates, which constitutes 1.48 percent of the total.
“Sullivan Cromwell is far from prejudiced in any way,” says John Scheich, the first vice president of the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of New York, adding that the firm often buys a table at his group’s annual fundraising dinner dance. “I don’t know Aaron Charney or the details of his case, but if I had to line up on one side or the other, I would have to line up with David H. Braff [an openly gay partner at the firm] and Sullivan Cromwell.”
Watch out, Aaron. The gay legal mafiosos are circling their wagons. Tables at those gay fundraisers cost small fortunes — and S&C is calling in its chits.
Sullivan & Cromwell itself will probably be tight-lipped about the case, since it would be unseemly for such a white-shoe law firm to engage in an aggressive public relations effort. But they will surely work behind the scenes to get friendly gay leaders, such as John Scheich, to speak out in their defense. (Cf. Hillary Clinton’s media strategy, in which she doesn’t criticize enemies herself, leaving such dirty work to Howard Wolfson and other minions.)
The ABC article also contains some interesting info about the plight of gay lawyers in the profession more generally. Some excerpts, after the jump.
This email was forwarded to us earlier today, prefaced with a single question: “Could this be related to a certain M&A associate?”
From: [xxxx] To: [xxxx] Subject: M&A Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 16:29:48 -0500
There seems to be an opportunity available for someone with M&A experience, in a temp to permanent capacity, with a New York firm.
Ajilon Legal is staffing this particular position and Kristen Johnson is the responsible recruiter. Perhaps one of our colleagues may find this interesting….? Please feel free to let everyone know about this.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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