“I wouldn’t call Harry Edwards a ‘judicial divo,’ per se. He’s just really irritable, that’s all.”
This is a continuation of our earlier post about a luncheon talk by the fantabulous Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Judge Brown sits on the D.C. Circuit, the most prestigious appellate court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court (which she may someday join). She spoke recently before the Federalist Society in Washington, a group that she said she “always enjoys spending time with — despite all the trouble it gets [her] into.”
Discussion and pictures, after the jump.
- D.C. Circuit, Fabulosity, Federal Judges, Federalist Society, Harry Edwards, Janice Rogers Brown, Judicial Divas, SCOTUS, SCOTUS Potential, Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court
Yesterday we invited those of you with firsthand knowledge of Aaron Charney to share what you know with us — whether pro- or anti-Aaron. We received some absolutely intriguing responses.
Neither of these comments is “firsthand firsthand,” so please file them under “rumor” rather than “news.” But they are both extremely interesting.
Both are somewhat negative about Charney. But, interestingly enough, they support different responses to this question:
Who is the real Aaron Charney: a crusader for justice with a sincere belief in his cause, or a money-hungry opportunist seeking to shake down his former (and deep-pocketed) employer?
The first comment we received:
I have a friend who knows Aaron Charney — and could not STAND him. Aaron is one of those people who is very opinionated, to a fault, and unnecessarily combative.
Once Aaron almost got into a fight with someone over — get this — a seat at a CLE presentation. Aaron was firmly convinced that the other guy had stolen “his” chair. The argument almost escalated into fisticuffs. Over a f***ing seat at a CLE seminar.
I’ll spare you the stupid details. But you get the picture. Aaron is easily offended, firmly convinced that he is right in all things, and willing to go to the mat for them.
Although negative, this comment does support a picture of Charney as someone with a genuine (some might say narcissistic) belief in his cause. It suggests that Charney truly thinks that he has been wronged — and that S&C must be brought to justice.
Here’s the second, even more juicy comment:
Here’s the reason Aaron went pro se. Aaron retained a lawyer initially and had bargained with S&C for a settlement, but he wasn’t happy with the amount of money they were offering him. So he fired the lawyer, thinking that a small amount of money would be bigger if didn’t have to split it.
But apparently, after Aaron fired the lawyer, S&C withdrew the offer. That’s when Aaron decided to escalate things by going public.
WOW — this is FASCINATING!!! If you can provide further confirmation, please email us. At this point, it’s just rumor.
But we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s true. It would explain a lot:
(1) the mysterious period in between the initial incident of alleged harassment, in May 2006, and Aaron’s filing a pro se Complaint in New York Supreme Court, in January 2007;
(2) Aaron’s general skittishness about discussing his prior representation (and the circumstances of its termination); and
(3) S&C’s initial statement that it rejected his demand for a “multi-million dollar” settlement (i.e., they were willing to fork over a few hundred grand, but not seven figures).
Let’s say that the “small amount of money” was a few hundred grand — which, after you take a third of it out for fees, doesn’t go very far. This is especially true if it results in you leaving your firm under mysterious circumstances, thereby impairing your ability to land another Biglaw gig. So perhaps Aaron thought that he could go it alone, “cut out the middleman,” and save himself some dough (maybe $100,000 on a $300,000 settlement offer).
Unfortunately for him, Aaron may have miscalculated. After he dropped his counsel, S&C yanked its settlement offer. So it was erroneous for him to assume that he could have gotten an identical settlement offer without being represented by counsel (and coughing up fees to said counsel).
Then, after going
commando pro se, Aaron arguably erred again. He played his cards too quickly, launching a public relations blitzkrieg. He broadcast his allegations against S&C, down to the tiniest detail, to the largest audience possible. Obviously that pissed off the S&C partners, presumably hardening them against settlement.
Now Charney finds himself in a difficult position. Because S&C has filed a countersuit, he’s a defendant as well as a plaintiff. He could end up paying a settlement rather than receiving one.
And once again, Charney has lawyers — a whole team of them, at two different firms. His net recovery, if any, will be reduced substantially to pay their fees. His original goal, eliminating the middleman, has clearly been frustrated (unless they’re handling the case pro bono — and we have no reason to believe they are).
So today Aaron Charney is arguably worse off than before, when he first hired a lawyer. Now he faces an angry and antagonized defendant — one of the nation’s biggest and richest law firms, with nothing to lose at this point.
Charney has spread his dirt about Sullivan & Cromwell far and wide. He no longer can
engage in blackmail derive leverage from potential disclosure of that information; he has shot his proverbial wad. At this point, having been reduced to a Biglaw “Punchline of the Month,” S&C may have decided that it needs to fight back, take this thing to trial, and steamroll Aaron Charney.
To put it another way, in terms of his S&C scuttlebutt, which was his main bargaining chip, Aaron Charney may have “opened the kimono” prematurely. In fact, he arguably went much further:
“Aaron Charney opened the proverbial kimono, then flung it to the ground. He gave the world of Biglaw an enthusiastic, multimedia lapdance. Finally, he ‘bent over,’ and closed his act by dramatically producing a Lionel train set from his ‘special hiding place.’”
Aaron Charney, you got greedy. Then you made S&C mad — very mad. And now they will make you pay.
(Caveat: That preceding sentence — included for stylistic reasons, to give this post the requisite punchy conclusion — assumes the truth of rumor #2. As noted at the outset of this post, however, at this point the story is only an allegation. It’s just hearsay, mere rumor. You can believe or disbelieve it; it’s your choice. We’re just passing it along to you for your consideration, as we have previously passed along a great deal of pro-Aaron information.)
Update (12:28 PM): The WSJ Law Blog has an interesting post up about Aaron Charney’s ability to land another Biglaw gig.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
Not 100% certain, but I think that the last RBG hire is Tom Saunders (Yale 2004 / Leval), and that Breyer hired Michael Bosworth (Yale 2003 / Rakoff (SDNY) & Katzmann).
We did some poking around, and we’ve confirmed this information. So two more Yalies and Second Circuit clerks are bound for One First Street. We apologize for being late with this, especially the news about Tom Saunders (who was hired back in August 2005 for OT 2007).
If you have any more news — for example, whether Justice Samuel Alito has made offers yet based on his recent round of interviews — please email us.
After the jump, an updated tally of Supreme Court clerks for next Term.
We’re a little late in commenting on this; we’ve been overwhelmed by a tremendous amount of news and gossip, on multiple fronts. But if you have an interest in blogging, or blogging about blogging, you should definitely check out this most interesting PrawfsBlawg post (if you haven’t done so already):
An Online Experiment: Take the Legal World, Add Gossip, Shake
Professor Matt Bodie offers some thoughtful (and thought-provoking) reflections upon Above the Law, as well as gossip blogging more generally. Money quote:
[L]aw professor blogs have pretty much shied completely away from law professor gossip. There are a lot of really good reasons for this. Liability concerns may be a factor, but I think they’re a small part. No law prof yet has been willing to go on record as the mouthpiece for gossip.
And why should they? Being a gossip conduit is costly to one’s reputation. It’s trivial. It’s non-scholarly. It’s hurtful to others. And besides — if you already know the gossip, what good does it do you to bring others in on the secret?
We don’t have time to respond in much detail. We have some VERY juicy Aaron Charney dish that we need to write up.
But for those of you who are curious, our thoughts on Bodie’s post appear after the jump.
Update: HA. We seem to misapprehended the point of Professor Bodie’s post. Please see his explanatory comment, available here.
(The irony, of course, is that we misinterpreted his post due to being defensive and oversensitive — even as we take the position that people in general need to be less sensitive when criticized or gossiped about.)
We don’t have memos, but we can confirm associate pay raises at two large law firms:
More details, plus your comments, after the jump.
* Lower wages for women? Always. [MSNBC]
* Trial date set for only charged Abu Ghraib officer. [Jurist]
* Racial controversy: the breakfast of champions. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Gay groups not really satisfied about Super Bowl ad; Snickers pulls it. [AP via Findlaw]
* North Dakota, now slightly less boring, but not really, issues hemp permits. [AP via Yahoo!]
- Aaron Charney, Biglaw, Conspiracy Theories, Free Speech, Gay, Media and Journalism, Peter Lattman, Sullivan & Cromwell
One of the allegations in Sullivan & Cromwell’s countersuit against its former associate, Aaron Charney, is that Charney leaked sensitive internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.
The firm’s Complaint implies that Charney physically removed — i.e., stole — confidential documents from the files of a partner. S&C alleges that Charney then leaked these materials to the Wall Street Journal.
And who, pray tell, was the Journal reporter who received the leaked documents? None other than Peter Lattman, author of the WSJ’s popular Law Blog, as well as a reporter for the print edition of the Journal.
Charney hasn’t admitted anything, so S&C’s allegations haven’t been proven (although the circumstantial evidence is very, very strong). How can the allegations be definitively established and thoroughly explored? Through the testimony of Peter Lattman, of course.
Thus far, Lattman isn’t giving up his source. When contacted by the New York Law Journal, the WSJ, through a spokesman, said that it “does not comment on sourcing.”
Has Peter Lattman said anything about his role in this controversy over at the Law Blog? No. Why not? Because he hasn’t been around.
Earlier today, a Lattman fan sent us this email:
Can you find out if Peter Lattman is away from the Law Blog this week because of his role in the S&C documents being made public? Usually he tells us when he’s going to be away. Who is Marmor?
After redacting our reader’s name and email address, we forwarded this query to the Law Blog. About ten minutes later, this post went up:
We’ve had some inquiries as to Peter Lattman’s whereabouts this week. Sorry we didn’t notify our loyal readership sooner, but Peter’s out of town through Wednesday on assignment. Meanwhile, thanks to colleague Jessica Marmor for stepping up and pitching in!
So P. Latt is away “on assignment.” Is that what they’re calling it these days? [FN1]
Very interesting. We previously speculated that Peter Lattman might make an appearance at Thursday’s hearing in S&C v. Charney. But in light of his delicate position at the eye of the storm, we doubt that he’ll show. In fact, he will probably try to stay as far away from 60 Centre Street as possible.
If “Charneygate” is the Biglaw version of the Valerie Plame saga, then Peter Lattman is our Judith Miller. Judy Miller went to jail to protect her sources. How far will Peter Lattman go? [FN2]
To lawyers who practice in First Amendment and media law: (1) Does New York have a reporter’s privilege and/or shield laws? (2) If so, what are the general standards that must be satisfied to invoke those protections?
[FN1] We have no reason to doubt that Peter Lattman is, in fact, out of town on assignment. But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us.
[FN2] Yes, we know — any exposure Peter Lattman might have if he refuses to testify in a civil case is nothing compared to what Judith Miller faced. He might just have to pay a fine rather than go to jail (assuming he can even be held in contempt at all). But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us.
Update: This comment makes a good point (and our clouded thinking is probably a sign that we need to step away from the computer now). But we love drama and mischief-making, so please indulge us.
Where’s Peter? [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
Today was a little more interesting than yesterday. A few announcements were made — or were finally brought to our attention and confirmed, if they were made previously.
After the jump, more information about DLA Piper, Katten Muchin Rosenman, King & Spalding, and Jones Day (Atlanta).
(And, of course, your comments.)
- Advertising, Anna Nicole Smith, Celebrities, Cyberlaw, Intellectual Property, Non-Sequiturs, Nude Dancing, Sex Scandals, Technology
* The only diet aid that couldn’t be accused of false advertising is heroin, so lay off Anna Nicole. What can I say, I always root for the underdog. [Yahoo! News]
* You’d think he’d be immune to this kind of alleged ridicule, having had his name his entire life. Pecker, embrace it the way I do Stellaq.com; I can’t tell you how easy it is to find dates these days. [Smoking Gun via Gawker]
* Charlize used her celebrity to peddle her mom’s crocheted scarf/poncho things (unfortunately for her mom, mainly by wearing them in Sweet November). So don’t tell me she can’t wear this luxury watch on an exclusive basis for “substantial funds.” [Courier Journal]
* He’ll still have to explain (a) the coke, (b) the 16-year-old girl, and (c) the motel. But at least dinner won’t revolve around why Daddy’s in jail. (Although it’s only a matter of time.) [Philadelphia Will Do; Bucks County Courier Times]
- Aaron Charney, Alexandra Korry, Biglaw, Continuing Legal Education / CLE, Education / Schools, Eric Krautheimer, Gay, Paul Hastings, Sullivan & Cromwell, Theodore Rogers, Zachary Fasman
(Yes, we know. According to Gawker, the formulation “Best. [X]. Ever.” is a blog-media cliché. But we don’t care. And we doubt that this cliché has ever been deployed in the context of Continuing Legal Education — so we get a free pass.)
If you’re (1) short on New York CLE credits, and (2) as transfixed as we are by the Biglaw train wreck called Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, have we got a suggestion for you.
A reader tipped us off to this CLE event, taking place on March 8 at the Princeton Club in New York:
Employment Law for the General Practitioner and Corporate Counselor
Thursday, March 8, 2007
7.5 TOTAL CREDITS: 6.0 credit hours of practice management and/or professional practice; 0.5 credit hour in skills; 1.0 credit hour in ethics
This popular, basic-to-intermediate level program, updated and revamped from previous years, is structured to cover on a practical basis the issues and problems typically arising in today’s workplace on which corporate counsel, or a private practitioner with a general practice, may be called to handle on behalf of the company or the employee.
What’s so interesting about this? The presenters. Two of the lecturers are A-list celebrities of L’Affaire Charney: Zachary Fasman of Paul Hastings (at right), who represents the embattled megafirm; and Theodore Rogers of Sullivan & Cromwell, who is working on the case in-house.
We have advice for Mr. Fasman on how to structure his CLE presentation. Check it out, after the jump.
According to the recent lawsuit filed by Aaron Charney, Sullivan & Cromwell thinks that Canadians are “irrelevant.”
We have a different view of our neighbors to the north. We think Canucks are horny. And pretty damn funny.
This music video, Promiscuous Firm, is from the 2007 University of Alberta Law Show. And it’s far more entertaining — and well-produced — than any video we’ve seen from a U.S. law school’s annual show or roast.
(Yes, even the Tim Wu video.)
Here’s the clip. It’s great from about 1:30 onwards (or 3:00 if you’re watching “backwards”):
Best double entendre, from the attractive female hiring partner (around the 2:20 mark):
I’m a big firm, I can handle myself
But if I have an opening, I may need your help.
Promiscuous Firm [YouTube]
- Aaron Charney, Anna Schneider-Mayerson, Fashion, H. Rodgin Cohen, Media and Journalism, Nathan Koppel, New York Times, Paul Hastings, Peter Lattman, Robert Kolker, Sullivan & Cromwell, Zachary Fasman
Rumor has it that Sullivan & Cromwell’s chairman, banking law god H. Rodgin Cohen, was “pretty angry” when he learned that the New York Times would be covering Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell, the anti-discrimination lawsuit filed against S&C by a gay former associate, Aaron Charney.
(The NYT story was pretty even-handed. But it was surprisingly long and detailed, which Cohen probably didn’t like. We discussed it back in this post.)
If Rodge Cohen doesn’t like MSM coverage of lurid litigation involving his firm, then he’s probably less than pleased by all the news coverage of Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney, S&C’s countersuit against its former M&A associate.
Today’s New York Law Journal has an article about the case. Most of it is familiar to ATL readers. What’s new is info about Charney’s legal team, which now includes the scrumptiously credentialed Laura Schnell: Dartmouth, Chicago Law, Jack Weinstein clerkship, Best Lawyers in America listing.
In addition, the New York Times’s widely read DealBook blog has a write-up of the suit. The DealBook post contains a shout-out to ATL. Thanks, NYT!
As some commenters have noted, one purpose of S&C’s countersuit was surely to get Aaron Charney to shut up. It appears to have succeeded, since Charney has been tight-lipped since last Thursday, when the suit was filed.
But the countersuit does mean that (1) S&C is “stooping to Charney’s level,” i.e., crossing swords with someone of lesser stature (no “Rose Garden” / “we will ignore you as if you were a gnat” strategy); and (2) opening itself up to more media coverage, to wit, coverage of its affirmative lawsuit.
We are coming up to New York on Thursday to watch the preliminary injunction hearing before Justice Bernard Fried of New York Supreme Court. And we don’t think we’ll be the only media (or quasi-media) types in attendance.
Bob Kolker, of New York Magazine, is writing a feature-length article about Charney; so we’d expect to see him there. Other top legal reporters we’ll be watching out for — we have no idea of whether they’re coming, though — include Peter Lattman and Nathan Koppel, of the Wall Street Journal; Anna Schneider-Mayerson, of the New York Observer; and Anthony Lin, of the New York Law Journal.
Update (4:35 PM): Prolific ATL commenter Lavi Soloway will be there.
If you’re at the hearing, feel free to come over and say hello. We look like this.
We also look forward to meeting the parties and their lawyers. We’ve emailed Aaron Charney to tell him that we’ll be there (although he hasn’t responded). And we’ve emailed Zach Fasman of Paul Hastings, who represents S&C, to put him on fashion-and-style notice:
I’m planning to attend the hearing on Thursday, so perhaps I’ll meet you then. Be sure to dress for success! I’ll definitely be writing about the sartorial choices of counsel at this red-carpet event.
Hope all is well!
Time to break out the Brioni, Zach. We better see visible hand-stitching on the lapels, bitch.
This is going to be great fun!!!
Update (4:20 PM): As noted by Lawzer, New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer also has a brief item on the S&C countersuit.
Law Firm Facing Gay-Bias Suit Fires Back [DealBook / New York Times]
Sullivan & Cromwell Sues Fired Associate [New York Law Journal]
Paper Trail Disturbed at Sullivan & Cromwell [Intelligencer / New York Magazine]
Taking Center Stage [Soloway]