When I worked in private practice, I once had a case opposite Ropes & Gray. The Ropes lawyers made a highly positive impression on me. They were very talented advocates (and they continue to be talented advocates; note the firm’s recent, high-profile victory in the defense of an in-house lawyer for a drug company).
Of course, many top firms have excellent lawyers. The Ropes attorneys were also… nice. They were polite, and genteel, and not difficult to deal with (in contrast to some of their co-counsel). They met my expectations of what lawyers from an old white-shoe firm should be like. [FN1]
In light of this overall Ropes & Gray “niceness,” it’s a bit surprising to see discrimination claims lodged against the firm. In March, we wrote about a lawsuit filed against Ropes by Patricia Martone, a former partner and noted IP litigatrix. Martone, represented by the high-powered Anne Vladeck, alleged age discrimination, sex discrimination, and retaliation.
Today we bring you news of another discrimination lawsuit brewing against the firm. The potential plaintiff has an impressive pedigree. But do his claims hold water?
Back in December, we covered a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by JoEllen Lyons Dillon, a comely corporate partner at Reed Smith, against the firm (where she still worked at the time). Dillon’s allegations were salacious. She claimed, for example, that “work was diverted … to female attorneys who were willing to engage in sexual relations with members of management” — and that her refusal to engage in such relations hurt her at Reed Smith.
Dillon’s case was filed by Samuel J. Cordes, a prominent Pittsburgh employment lawyer. Despite his somewhat cheesy law firm motto, Cordes is well-regarded and seen as “only tak[ing] good cases,” according to one ATL tipster. Cordes promised that his client would, over the course of the litigation, produce specific examples of sexual quid pro quos at Reed Smith. Delicious!
Alas, today brings word that JoEllen Dillon has dropped her case. What happened?
“Aww, Matt, why do you have to go around giving us a bad name?”
Ever since Matthew Kluger was charged in a massive insider trading case, involving an alleged conspiracy that spanned 17 years and generated more than $32 million in profit, the foregoing question could be asked by many groups: Cornell grads, NYU law grads, Cravath lawyers, Skadden lawyers, and Wilson Sonsini lawyers.
Tonight we can add more groups to the list: Fried Frank lawyers, and gays — specifically, gay dads.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier tonight, Matt Kluger worked at yet another major law firm: Fried Frank. After he was fired by the firm in 2002, he sued, claiming that partners there discriminated against him because he’s gay — and a father of three, with parenting responsibilities.
Just when you thought this case couldn’t get any weirder, it just did. Matthew Kluger is gay. And a dad. With three kids. Thanks for sending America such a positive image of LGBT parents, Matt!
Let’s take a closer look at Kluger’s suit against Fried Frank — and additional details about Matt Kluger’s complicated personal life, gleaned from ATL tipsters….
In 1995, Betty Dukes took a job at a Wal-Mart near San Francisco, working as a cashier and greeter for $5 an hour. A “greeter” represents the face of the company as consumers walk through the door. Little did Dukes and Wal-Mart know that Dukes would ultimately become a face of Wal-Mart nationally, under much different circumstances.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Dukes is now the lead plantiff in a gender bias suit that may become the largest class action in American history, with attorneys for Dukes seeking to represent a class of possibly 1.6 million women. SCOTUS will be determining if the plaintiff cases against Wal-Mart are sufficiently related for them to be certified as a class.
So what does this have to do with legal technology, which is what I cover for ATL? Everything. And no matter what the court decides, the legal and technological ramifications of this case do not bode well for the retail giant…
On Tuesday, Ropes & Gray was sued in Manhattan federal court by a former partner, Patricia A. Martone. Martone’s lawsuit claims age discrimination, sex discrimination, retaliation, and interference with protected retirement benefits in violation of ERISA (the basis for federal jurisdiction in the S.D.N.Y.).
As you might expect from an ex-Ropes partner, Martone has some high-powered counsel: Anne Vladeck, one of New York’s top labor and employment lawyers, widely regarded as the queen of employment discrimination law. Vladeck famously (and successfully) represented Anucha Browne Sanders in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas and the Knicks.
Patricia Martone is a veteran intellectual-property litigatrix, a specialist in patent litigation, with almost 40 years of practice under her belt. She made partner at Fish & Neave, the well-known patent law firm, in 1983, and then became a Ropes partner in 2005, when Ropes absorbed Fish. She’s now a partner at Morrison & Foerster, which she joined in October 2010.
Why did she leave Ropes? Let’s have a look at Patricia Martone, and her lawsuit….
You don’t see this everyday. Raymond Carey, a 57-year-old white male partner at Foley & Lardner, is suing the firm, alleging that it paid him less than it would have paid a “female, non-Caucasian, younger partner.”
Sadly, it appears the only evidence Carey has for his claims is that he wasn’t paid as much as he feels he was promised. That’s disappointing. When women, gays, or minorities make discrimination claims, there are usually juicy tidbits about inappropriate jokes and statements made to the alleged victim. But I just read through a 63-page complaint and there wasn’t a single alleged “cracker” joke. Apparently nobody at Foley told Carey he needed to show “more bulge.”
But hey, if the brother’s not getting paid as much as other people in his office, maybe he has a point. And even if you don’t find the complaint particularly salacious, one of Carey’s attached exhibits is the Foley & Lardner partnership agreement….
I’m not trying to compare the claims of Jaime Laskis, a former associate at the prominent Canadian law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, with those of Charlene Morisseau (a legendary Lawyer of the Day honoree, from 2007). But we’ve got two stories vaguely related to alleged employee harassment and discrimination in the legal profession, and I wanted to click them both off so I have something to change the subject with when Sweet Hot Justice asks me if she’s a cougar when we meet for drinks tonight.
Let’s start with Jaime Laskis’s story, which is a bit more newsy. Laskis was an associate in the New York office of Toronto-based Osler, who claims she suffered various forms of sexual harassment while she worked there. One partner allegedly said that Harvard University was full of “pretty women pretending to get an education.”
I know, I know, that’s sounds like a man who has never been to a Harvard party. But Laskis makes other allegations….
Shout-out to Nathan Koppel at the WSJ Law Blog (or his editor), for coming up with the perfect title for this post: The Frozen One?
Jewish hockey player Jason Bailey is suing the Anaheim Ducks NHL team, alleging that he was subjected to a hostile working environment. Not the run-of-the-mill hostility that comes from playing a sport where people regularly lose their own teeth and then refuse to purchase replacement chompers on the theory that “chicks dig gap teeth and lisps.” No, Bailey claims that the hostility was directed at him because he is Jewish.
I know this comes straight out of “Racial Conspiracy Theories 101,” but I can’t be the only one to notice that this suit was brought against the Anaheim Ducks, a franchise that was once owned by Disney and called the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (because anytime you can buy a hockey team in order to promote a movie staring Emilo Estevez, that’s something you’ve just got to do). And Disney of course has long been suspected of harboring anti-Semitic views. And… you know what, I’ll kick back with a glass of manischewitz and discuss this with my Jewish brothers some other time.
Right now, Bailey is making some much more reasonable allegations against the organization….
I saw this story on Mike & Mike this morning, and it’s just been gathering steam all day. A Green Bay Packers fan showed up to his job on Monday at a Chicago area car dealership wearing a Packers tie. As many of you know, the Packers defeated their hated rivals, the Chicago Bears, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The man’s boss asked the Packers fan to remove the tie. He refused. The Packers fan was then fired.
When I first heard about this, my initial thought was “Good, serves him right.” I’m not a Bears fan. And I often wear my own sports paraphernalia into the ATL office. But if your boss tells you to take off your gear, you do it. It’s not a hard question for me. I’ll stand up to my CEO on any number of professional issues, but over some team bling? Are you kidding me? It’s called “picking your battles,” or “not being a idiot,” if you prefer.
Over the course of the day, however, more and more media types have been coming to the defense John Stone, the Packers fan who was fired. Some are even saying that this will lead to a wrongful termination lawsuit.
You know how I hate telling the MSM that their cute little puppies are going to die, but does rooting for the Packers make you a member of a protected class now?
Pennsylvania legal circles are buzzing over a discriminationlawsuit filed yesterday in federal district court by a partner in the Pittsburgh office of Reed Smith. One source who informed us of the suit referred to “some really interesting allegations” against the firm.
A corporate and energy law partner at Reed Smith, JoEllen Lyons Dillon, alleges that her firm pays and promotes women less than men. Yawn; that’s definitely not “really interesting.” While unfortunate — or even outrage-inducing — if true, one could say the same thing about dozens, if not hundreds, of large law firms.
Far more interesting is Dillon’s claim that “work was diverted … to female attorneys who were willing to engage in sexual relations with members of [Reed Smith] management or with whom members of [Reed Smith] management had sought to engage in such relations.” Dillon alleges that because she “did not engage in such relations,” she was professionally penalized.
Dillon decided instead to have “relations” with her husband, resulting in the birth of twins. After she took time off to take care of the two tots, “her total compensation decreased, by almost half,” according to the complaint. Dillon claims that when she objected to this pay cut, partner David DeNinno, former chair of the Business & Finance Department at RS, asked if she was “done having babies yet.”
That’s just for starters. Dillon claims to have more dirt on her firm….
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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 email@example.com 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:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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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