John Scheich

Cinderella glass slipper Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law blog.jpgMore fine blogging from Lavi Soloway — although his latest material is related only indirectly to Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.
Remember LeGal, the gay and lesbian lawyers’ association that got itself into a bit of controversy after its (now former) president, Jack Scheich, came out swinging in favor of S&C?
Well, last night LeGal held its big annual dinner. At this gala event, big law firms cough up dough for insurance against anti-gay bias lawsuits tables to show their support for the organization. (We wrote previously about the hideous invitation for the dinner over here.)
We weren’t able to attend last night’s festivities, ’cause we were spending quality time with Justice Kennedy. But Lavi Soloway was there. His party write-up, with photos, appears here.
There was a rumor floating around, several weeks ago, that Aaron Charney was going to make an appearance at the LeGal dinner. We were, for obvious reasons, excited about this possibility. It might have given rise to some deliciously awkward moments — since his former employer and current adversary, S&C, bought a table and turned out in force.
Alas, based on Soloway’s coverage, it appears the answer to “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” was “Not Aaron Charney.” If Charney had been there, surely Soloway — who knows what Charney looks like, having seen him at the big hearing earlier this week — would have mentioned it.
So what happened to poor Aaron? Was he stuck at home, scrubbing floors like Cinderella, while his mean S&C stepsisters danced the night away at the Ritz-Carlton?
Looking ahead, will the Aaron Charney saga have a fairy tale ending? Might Charney’s newfound fame bring him to the attention of a sugar daddy Prince Charming — a boyfriend so rich he can afford to drop his lawsuit against S&C? Will S&C break down and settle the case, placing a glass slipper on Charney’s (presumably large) foot,* thereby transforming him from an unemployed ex-Biglaw associate into a millionaire plaintiff princess?
To find out the answers, just stay tuned to ATL. We will continue to cover even the most trivial developments in this litigation with obsessive zeal.
* We speculate that Charney has large feet because we hear that he’s tall and thin — as you can sort of see from this photo, by Lavi Soloway.
NYC Lesbian & Gay Lawyers Hold Annual Dinner [Soloway]
Earlier: Beware the Ides of March

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGYes, it’s true. Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell has claimed its first victim.
So who is it? Has the allegedly uncouth Eric Krautheimer been admitted to “rehab”? Has the divine Alexandra Korry been shipped off to Paris, as some of you speculated? Has plaintiff Aaron Charney (at right), nominally kept on the S&C payroll since filing his lawsuit, finally been discharged?
None of the above. The news is actually far more exciting:

John Scheich has resigned as President of LeGal!!!

If this leaves you scratching your head, here’s a little background. Jack Scheich was recently elected president of a prominent gay bar association, the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of New York (LeGal). Shortly after Charney v. S&C was filed, he was contacted for comment by ABC News. In his interview, he came out swinging in favor of S&C, and sniffed dismissively at Charney’s case — even though he had done no investigation of the allegations.
Scheich’s interview generated bad publicity for LeGal. It looked like the organization was prejudging the merits of a lawsuit claiming anti-gay discrimination, without knowing all the facts, simply because S&C throws money at them has been supportive of LeGal over the years.
LeGal received numerous angry letters from gay law students and lawyers. The organization eventually repudiated Scheich’s remarks, in a statement posted on its website. Despite this distancing, LeGal and Scheich were roundly criticized by gay law student groups from NYU and Columbia, in a strongly worded opinion piece for the New York Blade.
Well, that wasn’t the end of it. A few hours ago, as of 5 PM Eastern time, Jack Scheich resigned as president of LeGal.
You can check out his statement at the organization’s website. Money quote:

[I]t is the time for me to make this apology to the plaintiff and to the entire interested LGBT legal community. I trust that it will be received with the same sincerity as it is made.

It sure will, Jack.

The firestorm surrounding this issue has hurt LeGaL, (an organization of which I have been a member for almost 30 years) and will continue to hurt LeGaL if I remain as President. Accordingly, I hereby tender my resignation, as President, to the Secretary of LeGaL to become effective upon this statement being posted on the LeGaL web site.

This is probably all for the best. Jack, it’s been fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, we’re not big fans of Jack Scheich. But he doesn’t like us either — and he’s made that abundantly clear. As victims of his snark, we’re entitled to snark back.
What do we mean by all this? Learn the details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: The First Casualty”

H Rodgin Cohen The Queen Helen Mirren Above the Law.JPGWe haven’t seen as many films this year as we usually do. But one of our favorites, either our #1 or #2 pick for the year, is The Queen (directed, and brilliantly so, by Stephen Frears).
Here’s a decent plot summary:

In late August 1997, just as Prime Minister Tony Blair was moving into 10 Downing Street, Princess Diana died in a Paris car wreck. England went into traumatized mourning deeper than anyone could have predicted, while the royal family — Diana’s estranged former inlaws — offered no public reaction at all.

As resentment toward the royal cold shoulder built into a monarchical crisis of public opinion, young Mr. Blair [attempts to intervene] with the Queen, [urging] the House of Windsor [to make] a public demonstration of something like humanity.

But Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) resists Blair’s call for a more public show of empathy. She is a deeply traditional woman, and as far as she’s concerned, Diana’s death is a “private matter” — since Diana, divorced from Prince Charles some time ago, was no longer a “royal” or “HRH” at the time of her death.
The Queen’s commitment to tradition makes her tone deaf on the public relations front. She does not know how to navigate the complex and challenging world of the modern mass media. The Queen fails to see the crisis in confidence that is looming — a crisis that threatens the institution of the monarchy, which she loves above all.
What we must now ask is:

Is H. Rodgin Cohen, the chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, the Biglaw version of “The Queen”?

Our reflections on this question, after the jump.

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Aaron Charney 2 headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett CharneyIt looks like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of New York (“LeGal”) has gotten tired of receiving angry emails from random gay law students at Columbia, NYU, and Fordham.
Over at their website, LeGal has posted an interesting statement (gavel bang: Soloway) about Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. LeGal, you may recall, is the gay rights group whose vice-president, John Scheich, spoke out publicly in defense of S&C (as discussed here and here).
The statement, issued by LeGal’s Board of Directors, reads as a whale of a bitchslap stinging rebuke of Jack Scheich. It’s unintentionally amusing, in a smirk-inducing, Schadenfreude-ish sort of way.
We reprint (1) the LeGal Board’s statement, and (2) a personal email that Scheich sent to Charney — yeah, seriously!!! — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: Wherein Jack Gets Bitchslapped By His Own Organization”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGWe wrote a fair amount over the weekend about Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. Scroll down the page to see our coverage, or click here and here.
One of our posts concerned an interesting letter that a gay NYU Law graduate wrote to John Scheich, first vice-president of the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of New York (LeGal). Last week, Scheich made statements to the media supporting S&C in the case. This NYU grad’s letter questioned Scheich about the basis for LeGal’s public support of S&C.
Scheich’s response to the letter, also reprinted in our post, struck us as a bit snippy. Based on your comments, many of you agree with us.
Now Aaron Charney (at right) has decided to give Jack Scheich a piece of his mind. We reprint Charney’s letter after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: Wherein Aaron Bitchslaps Jack”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGBack in this post, we quoted this passage from an ABC News piece:

“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 [LeGal], 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.”

A gay NYU Law grad sent a letter to LeGal, inquiring into the organization’s stance on Charney v. Sullian & Cromwell. He received a response from Jack Scheich that struck us as, well, kinda bitchy.
See if you agree with us. The letter and the LeGal response appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell: That Time of the Month for LeGal?”

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPGThis 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.

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