Sexism

Last week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the American Lawyer all mentioned an unusual debt in the bankruptcy case of Dewey & LeBoeuf. A former D&L associate, Emily Saffitz, was listed as being owed $416,667 — a sum big enough to put her in the top 20 unsecured creditors of the firm. This was apparently due to a “severance arrangement.”

Why did Dewey agree to pay an associate from the class of 2006 more than $400K in severance? According to the Times, Saffitz received this severance agreement after she “complained over how she was treated by a former Dewey partner and told the firm’s management.” According to the Journal, she filed “a complaint regarding sexual discrimination by a Dewey partner who is no longer with the firm.”

Inquiring minds want to know: Who was the partner in question? And what did he allegedly say or do to Emily Saffitz?

Finding out such details is difficult. Settlements in cases of alleged sex discrimination or sexual harassment often contain non-disclosure or non-disparagement provisions that prevent the parties from speaking about what took place.

So we didn’t expect we would ever find out which former Dewey partner triggered complaints from Emily Saffitz. Until, well, he emailed us….

Multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know A Partner Whose Alleged Actions Led to a $400K ‘Severance Arrangement’?”

Not cool, bro.

Californians tend to be quite protective of the state’s reputation as a progressive paradise. Where equality is important for everyone, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. Where organic food is simply better, no matter how much it costs. Where the earthquakes are a fine price to pay for an entire year of temperate weather.

So, when the New York Times ran an extensive article this weekend about an accomplished female attorney who sued the major venture capital firm where she is a partner for sex discrimination, it puts a real fly in the state’s — and specifically the tech industry’s — collective ointment.

The Times’s extensive story concerns Ellen Pao, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former associate at Cravath. She has sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major VC firm.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the suit, as well as what it might mean for attorneys who work within the emerging “brogrammer” culture in Silicon Valley…

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As we reported late on Monday night, Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed for bankruptcy — the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history, in fact. You can access a copy of Dewey’s voluntary petition to enter Chapter 11 over here (via Scribd).

Yesterday afternoon, Dewey’s lawyers appeared in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The firm’s lead lawyer, Albert Togut, introduced himself as follows: “I can finally confirm the worst-kept secret of the year. I am counsel for Dewey & LeBoeuf.” He’s going to be a very busy man over the weeks and months ahead.

Let’s find out what happened at the hearing, and also take a closer look at one of Dewey’s most intriguing unsecured creditors: a (rather attractive) litigatrix, a former Dewey associate now at another firm, who is owed more than $400,000 in “severance” by D&L….

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(And a report on Dewey’s day in bankruptcy court.)”


You may remember that back in the summer of 2010, an attractive and curvaceous woman named Debrahlee Lorenzana sued Citibank for wrongful termination. Apparently Lorenzana was “too hot” — so hot, in fact, that she allegedly distracted other bankers from doing their jobs, resulting in her firing.

Just two years later, another woman claims that she was fired for similar reasons — her employers at a lingerie business allegedly told her she was “too hot” and that her breasts were “too large.” Now, we know what you must be thinking: how can one be “too hot,” or have breasts “too large” to work for a lingerie company?

Everything’s possible in New York, but we know that TTIWWOP — “This Thread Is Worthless Without Pictures.” We’ve got a few, plus a video….

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* This NYU Law professor’s apparent hypocrisy makes me want to chew on gravel. Seems like he has earned the digital tar and feathering he’s getting. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* So, Facebook went public today. The life of Facebook’s GC is about to change in big, big ways. [Corporate Counsel]

* The city of Boston filed a complaint against an attorney representing local firefighters for his allegedly offensive, sexist behavior at the negotiating table. How do ya like them misogynist apples? [Boston Globe]

* An allegedly intoxicated woman arrested for driving 90 miles an hour in a construction zone justified her speeding by saying she was late to her child’s birthday party. I imagine little Timmy was more upset that his mother not only missed the party but also spent his birthday in the slammer. [Legal Juice]

* Speaking of people you never want to see on the road, a Bay Area attorney was arrested today on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and manslaughter. Police say the attorney, who has two recent, unrelated speeding tickets, is suspected of striking and killing a bicyclist with his brand-new Mercedes. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* An argument as to why the United States, on a policy level, should become more “420 (and other illegal drug) friendly.” Most stoners might argue their case by saying, “Dude, just chill. Just chill bro.” But this is slightly more complex. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Deidre Dare aka Deidre Clark

The high-powered international law firm of Allen & Overy is a member of the Magic Circle. So why can’t they make Deidre Dare disappear?

As longtime readers will recall, Deidre Dare (real name: Deidre Clark) was a Columbia Law School graduate who worked in the Moscow office of Allen & Overy. Everything was going swimmingly, until Clark decided to write some erotic fiction on the side — erotic fiction that may have been based in part on Clark’s experiences working as an expat in Russia. One thing led to another, and Clark’s employment at A&O was terminated.

Clark sued the firm in London, alleging her firing was improper; that suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. She then sued in New York, making claims for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation, among other claims.

When we interviewed her last year, Clark (a member of the New York bar) sounded confident about her chances of success in the Big Apple: “I think NY will take jurisdiction. And thank God for that.”

So, was Clark correct? Will her suit be moving forward in New York?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Latest Plot Twist in Deidre Dare v. Allen & Overy”

Last night, David Lat reported that Quinn Emanuel will be rolling out a new approach to on-campus recruiting later this year. Maybe Quinn should also consider a new approach to getting old partners in touch with young secretaries eager to party? Because the current method of accidentally sending reply-all messages referencing the secretaries’ physical attributes might not be the best strategy.

I don’t mean to be cryptic. A Quinn Emanuel partner not only emailed something inappropriate last night, but he accidentally hit “reply all” while he was doing it.

It’s gonna be easy and most likely appropriate to kill the guy. But on the chance that my wife is not reading today, I’m going to offer a defense of this leering partner. Just hear me out…

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New course offering at Miami area law schools.

Many of you will be outraged by this story, and many more of you will pretend to be outraged by this story if it comes up in front of your wife or girlfriend. And the story is outrageous. It’s sexist and clearly unethical.

But… doesn’t hiring strippers to pose as paralegals and then sending them into jail to “service” your defendants / clients sound like the most natural business strategy in the world? Supply, meet some serious demand.

Hey, rich corporate clients get this treatment all the time. I don’t just mean that figuratively. I’m sure that there have been lawyers who literally brought their clients to a strip club after they closed the deal on their representation. We all know that firms put the prettiest secretaries on the floors clients see, while the floors with associates who share offices are staffed by hagravens. T&A has been used to secure clients probably since we moved out of the state of nature.

Lawyers in the great city of Miami are just taking this natural service and extending to to criminal defendants. What’s so wrong with that?

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What do Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray have in common (besides the seven shared letters in their firm names)?

  • They are both leading law firms.
  • They both have major presences, their two biggest offices, in New York and Boston.

  • They both have blue and gray in their logos.
  • And they are both involved in litigation with former employees claiming employment discrimination.

Let’s take a look at the latest news — a fresh lawsuit filed against Proskauer, and updates in a lawsuit against Ropes that we’ve previously covered….

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Damn, check out the girls from corporate. Schwing!

It’s almost the middle of summer, and it’s hot as hell outside. Partners are starting to relax a little bit, and collars are getting unbuttoned. You think you might have seen someone sporting a pair of flip-flops at the office, but that one was probably a mirage. All of this can mean only one thing: the moment that you’ve been dreading has finally arrived. The invitation to the firm summer party is coming for you — and it might involve a pool or beach.

But do you really want to wear a bathing suit in front of these people? Maybe while you were busy shredding documents this spring, you got distracted and ditched your ab-shredding routine. Maybe while you were trimming the fat from your briefs, you neglected your cottage cheese thighs. And maybe, just maybe, you were lucky enough to graduate from “law school hot” to “law firm hot,” and you’re worried about your colleagues ogling your grand tetons.

Is there such a thing as bathing suit etiquette for a Biglaw summer bash? Apparently there is, so prepare to be de-sexified (as if you’re not undersexed enough as it is)….

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