A U.K. law student won her lawsuit against Abercrombie and Fitch. The clothing behemoth had relegated her to the stockroom because her uni-armed look didn’t fit in with the company’s dress code. The BBC reports:
Riam Dean, 22, who has a prosthetic arm, claimed she was “diminished” for not fitting the “look policy” at the Savile Row store in central London.
A central London tribunal awarded Miss Dean £8,000 for unlawful harassment and ruled that Abercrombie and Fitch failed to comply with employment law.
I can’t fit into anything at Abercrombie and Fitch, but it seems to me that their employment scheme involves gentlemen and women out front whose sole purpose is to fool people into thinking clothes can replace a lifetime of exercise and proper dieting. I don’t see why this function can’t be performed by pretty people with prosthetic parts.
But the trolls in the stockroom have to lift things, right? Unless Riam Dean is some kind of bionic woman, isn’t she much more suited to the store front instead of the stockroom?
More details on Ms. Dean after the jump.
Ed. note: This post has been revised in a number of important respects after it was published. As a result, many reader comments have been superseded, because they refer to parts of the post that have been edited or deleted. Please refresh your browser to read the latest version. Thank you. Sarah Getchell is having a rough 2009. The University of Michigan grad was a first year at Seyfarth Shaw, until being laid off in May (perhaps as part of this bunch).
She found new employment at a small labor law firm, Lichten & Liss-Riordan. But then Seyfarth used her hiring to get the new firm removed from a case — not very nice.
Earlier this week, we showed you a photo of a protest before an undisclosed law firm, then asked you to suggest captions. We now have six finalists and would like you to vote for the best of the bunch. To refresh your recollection, here’s the photo: And here are the finalists:
A. “Laid off associates try a new strategy after their restatement section 90 claims fail.”
B. “Firms run a risk of bad publicity when they lay off both labor lawyers and the print shop staff at the same time.”
C. “So you say they underpay their staff and associates, treat all employees poorly, and offer no medical or retirement benefits whatsoever? . . . Are they hiring?”
D. “What do we want?”
“When do we want ‘em?”
“No earlier than January 2011, economic concerns permitting!”
E. “Shame on Firm X for only laying off 2 employees. Doesn’t it realize we’re in a recession?”
F. “In a classic labor protest rookie mistake, the former associates wasted their budget on a fancy sign and failed to reserve funds for doughnuts, resulting in awkwardly low participation.”
[P]ost your caption entries in the comments. We’ll take our favorites, incorporate them into a poll, and allow you to vote for your favorite.
We present the picture below without comment or back story, so as not to limit your creativity. If you know the back story, please refrain from posting it.
We’ll tell everybody the real story behind the picture when the contest is over.
Please note that we have redacted the name of the firm in question, to prevent this thread from turning into a “Dump on Firm X” thread. So if you know the name of the firm, please don’t disclose it in the comments. When we inform you of the story behind the picture, we will inform you of the firm.
Here’s the photo. It’s a thumbnail, so feel free to click on it for a closer look.
* Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain testified for 2.5 hours yesterday in New York in Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, but wouldn’t say which employees got some of the $3.6 billion bonus pie before the merger with B of A. How are we supposed to know which men to date when we get laid off? Kidding….[Bloomberg]
* More than 100 clients of a man who pretended to be an immigration lawyer got free advice from Lawyers at the New York City Bar Association. [The New York Times]
If you live on the East Coast — or Chicago, or even the Pacific Northwest — the winter weather may have you down. The latest Job of the Week is in a city where it rarely snows: the City of Angels. And it’s in labor and employment, a practice area that’s a haven from the economic storm.
Even though law firms may be cutting their bonuses, Lateral Link still offers attorneys a $10,000 guaranteed signing bonus. In addition, Lateral Link offers progressive referral fees for all attorneys referred by Lateral Link members.
Position: Labor & Employment Associate
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Description: This boutique law firm based in LA is seeking a mid-level labor and employemnt associate. The attorney should have 4-6 years experience and be a member of the California bar. This California firm with less than 100 attorneys is known for their flexible, task-oriented approach to providing high-quality legal services. Practice areas include trial and advocacy, real estate and business law, public law, labor and employment law, environmental law and education law.
For more information about this position or to apply, please see Position 10202 on Lateral Link. Current members can also contact their personal search consultant directly to discuss this position. Membership in Lateral Link is free and you can apply at www.laterallink.com.
Herrera’s complaint — “for discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraud” — reads like a reality TV show pitch about the lives of paralegals. Herrera has been a paralegal in Weil’s Silicon Valley office since 2004. In his complaint, he talks about:
a female paralegal who thinks men are inferior to women;
a male paralegal who thinks women are inferior to men (and referred to a co-worker as “milky creamies” in honor of her breasts);
a paralegal who expressed prejudice against Latinos;
good old inter-office gossip about who liked and hated whom; and
the use of the “pimp hand” and the “mojo hand” to intimidate and cajole.
Here’s an excerpt from the complaint (“Mr. Schmoller” refers to senior paralegal Chris Schmoller):
(For those who don’t know, Matt Powers is one of the most feared, respected and successful patent litigators in the country.)
(Also for those of you don’t know, the ever-useful urban dictionary defines “pimp hand” as “the hand used to smack your ho’s around,” but has no definition for “mojo hand”)…
Reached Friday at Weil Gotshal where he still works, Herrera told Legal Pad he sued because he was out of options for resolving the problems. He has yet to serve the firm, and said he was contemplating Friday just how to do it.
Wikipedia says the mojo hand is a kind of magic charm. We still don’t know what a mojo hand is, but we want one!
As a former paralegal, Kash was most amused by Herrera’s complaint that he was given “repetitive, unchallenging and un-enriching tasks.” Welcome to being a paralegal!
Sorry we’re late to the party on this HuffPo post, bearing the provocative title “Law Firm Segregation Reminiscent of Jim Crow.” It’s by Yolanda Young, a former staff attorney at Covington & Burling. Her claim, in a nutshell, is that Covington fills the ranks of its “staff attorney ghetto” with African-Americans, while the ranks of its partnership and partnership-track associate pool are overwhelmingly white.
Young’s post has already been discussed at Legal Blog Watch and the WSJ Law Blog. But considering how we love to fan flames of racial tension follow the issue of diversity in the legal profession so closely here at ATL, of course we’re going to cover it.
We bring you two interesting updates on our friends at Kirkland & Ellis — one important, and one silly.
Let’s start with the trivial, and work our way up. First, from a tipster:
The balkanization of Kirkland & Ellis continues. Why should an “informal, visible network for attorneys to exchange ideas, provide support, and develop relationships” be based on race and/or sexual orientation? What’s next, separate cafeterias and drinking fountains?
A recent email from The Kirkland & Ellis LLP Diversity Committee reads:
On behalf of the Diversity Committee, I am proud to announce a new addition to our diversity programming, Diversity Networking Forums. The main purpose of the Diversity Networking Forums is to provide an informal, visible network for attorneys to exchange ideas, provide support, and develop relationships. There will be four Diversity Networking Forums:
Asian Diversity Networking Forum Black Diversity Networking Forum Hispanic/Latino Diversity Networking Forum GLBT Diversity Networking Forum
The Diversity Networking Forums are open to all Chicago Kirkland attorneys. If you are interested in becoming a part of any of these forums, please email Attorney Training and Development at [xxxx] by February 8 and indicate which forums you would like to join.
Note that the forums are “open to all.” We wonder if that language was added to avoid a psuedo-controversy like the one over K&E’s big gay party. We also wonder why you’d join one of these networking forums if you weren’t a member of the group in question. But see “fag hags” signing up for the LGBT group.
Okay, on to the second update. Perhaps in an effort to avoid an Aaron Charney debacle — or, on a smaller scale, a Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy or a Morisseau v. DLA Piper — K&E has enacted a mandatory employment arbitration policy, applicable to all associates. From a tipster:
Kirkland just sent a memo to all of its associates, which they had to sign, reminding them that they were at will employees, and telling them they had to agree to arbitrate any employment dispute. Apparently a response to Charney-gate.
If you’re interested — perhaps you’re a labor and employment lawyer, or a Biglaw partner looking to foist such a policy on the associates at your own firm — check out the memo, after the jump.
The Magic Circle law firm of Allen & Overy, defendant in Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy, has just filed its Answer (PDF). They’re hoping to make Norman Schoenfeld’s claims disappear. Schoenfeld, an observant Jewish lawyer who once worked at the firm, alleges that A&O discriminated and retaliated against him as a result of his observing the Sabbath.
We contacted the firm for comment. Here is their statement:
Allen & Overy denies all allegations of discrimination. This person’s employment was terminated based solely on performance within his orientation period, a trial period of time mandated for all employees. He also failed to disclose to Allen & Overy the fact of his previous employment at another law firm.
Our firm has a strict written policy prohibiting any form of discrimination, and we provide all new employees and partners training in both diversity awareness and harassment prevention. Over the past several years, we have also instituted live diversity training for all of our existing attorneys and managers. We will vigorously defend our proud reputation of diversity and inclusion and are confident of a positive outcome for Allen & Overy with respect to these allegations.
More discussion, including interesting information from tipsters, after the jump. Update (5/9/08): The case is settling. See here.
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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