Harvard Law School

On Friday, we discussed the discrimination claims made against Ropes & Gray by John H. Ray III. Ray, a 2000 graduate of Harvard Law School and an African-American man, claimed that he was discriminated against and passed over for partner on account of his race.

At the time of our prior post, Ray did not comment beyond what was in his filings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But now Ray has contacted us with his rebuttal to Ropes, explaining that when he previously declined to comment, he “did not know that you intended to rely on a determination letter that had been rescinded and largely discredited in at least its factual description by my reconsideration requests.”

John Ray’s response is lengthy and detailed. Check it out below….

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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?

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I recently met Ray Zolekhian at a wedding. He went to Harvard Law School, worked as an associate at Skadden in Los Angeles, and started his own law firm with a friend, Robin Hanasab.

As soon as I heard Zolekhian’s background, I immediately guessed that he started a personal injury firm. Isn’t that the most natural progression?

Apparently so. Founded in July 2009, Hanasab & Zolekhian, LLP began as a firm specializing in restructuring commercial real estate loans. The firm then transitioned to personal injury litigation, because the founding partners found the work interesting and lucrative. But Zolekhian had no background in personal injury; according to Zolekhian, the pair was “thrown into the fire.” They were not devoid of help, however, and benefited enormously from the resources and mentoring given by other attorneys in the close-knit plaintiffs’ bar.

What does Zolekhian like most about his practice?

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LEWW is still coming off our royal wedding high. We’re not going to lie, people: As much as we love the legal wedding scene, we’ve never gotten out of bed at 5:30 to read about SCOTUS clerks tying the knot. But Will and Kate have flown off to happily ever after in their helicopter, so we’ll have to content ourselves with the princes and princesses of the American legal scene — at least until Prince Harry settles down.

Here are our latest finalist couples:

Katherine Boone and Joshua Geltzer

Marie-Adele Sorel and Jeremy Kress

Mark Maher and Louis Miller

Get all the details on these legal-eagle newlyweds, after the jump.

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Back in November, we told you that Thomson Reuters was looking to unload BAR/BRI, its bar exam preparation business. The news was huge, given BAR/BRI’s status as a de facto finishing school for would-be lawyers.

Today, it appears that BAR/BRI has found a home. According to various reports, BAR/BRI will be acquired by Leeds Equity Partners. Leeds is a private equity firm that specializes in educational products and services.

Above the Law just spoke with Jeffrey T. Leeds, the co-founder and president of Leeds. He called BAR/BRI a “jewel” for the firm. And since the man is a graduate of Harvard Law School (Class of ’83), he knows just how important BAR/BRI is to our system of legal education… .

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Harvard Law School

* Attorney Jason Goldfarb pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy yesterday in a case that originated with the Rajabba investigation. Here’s his firm website photo. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Harvard Law is being investigated for violating Title IX. As someone who did not attend Harvard, I assume IX rhymes with sticks. Which brings me no closer to understanding exactly what was violated here. [Harvard Law Record]

* The Bonds trial ended just in time for us to get super-psyched about the Roger “Frosted Tips” Clemens perjury trial. Let’s start boning up on it! [Reuters]

* Mexico is considering filing a lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers. Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to Remington. [CBS News]

Frank and Jamie McCourt, in happier days.

* Here’s a thorough breakdown of the McCourt mess, including details on the ongoing Bingham divorce debacle. [Am Law Daily]

* So there’s a Canadian lawyer who looks like Kate Middleton? Yeah, well my buddies say I look like Hedo Turkoglu. #humblebrag [Vancouver Sun via ABA Journal]

* Fox News wins the headline contest for Obama’s new gasoline price task force. [Fox News]

* It’s Friday. Let’s consider the better bonobos of our nature, guys. [Times Higher Education]

Joseph Flom

Back in February, Joseph Flom — name partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and one of the nation’s most successful and prominent lawyers — passed away, at the age of 87. During his life, Flom earned well-deserved renown as an attorney, philanthropist, and mentor. He was also a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, many times over.

Joe Flom, R.I.P. — and R.I.C.H. As you might expect from the name partner of one of the world’s largest and most lucrative law firms, Flom left behind a vast fortune.

It might seem tacky to talk about this. But that hasn’t stopped us before given Flom’s commitment to charity, it’s actually heartwarming to see all of the worthy causes that will be receiving much-needed funds from the Flom estate.

So how much are we talking about? And who are beneficiaries of his will?

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The only book in the world I'd actually consider burning in public.

* Harvard Law School exams used to be easier. Think about that the next time you hear about grade inflation. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of things getting harder, this seems like proof that the Bluebook exists to propagate sales of the Bluebook. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* And yet the Bluebook hasn’t been updated to include a special citation form for Wikipedia. Weird. [An Associate's Mind]

* Howrey going to WARN them that there are more of these lawsuits coming? [Am Law Daily]

* A professor at John Marshall Law School (Atlanta), Lucille Jewel, has written a law review article about the ability of scam blogs to impact legal education. I’m just going to sit very still until Leonardo DiCaprio confirms that I’m already dreaming. [Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* “People’s preferences can sometimes override their principles.” No, that’s not the subtitle of my upcoming book, “Bush v. Intellectual Consistency: The Antonin Scalia Story.” [Blackbook Legal]

* Yuck Fale. [CBS New York]

* The Southern District of New York: gay bench, or the gayest bench? Like fellow S.D.N.Y. nominee Paul Oetken, Alison Nathan is an openly gay lawyer who clerked for SCOTUS and served as an associate White House counsel. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly; Main Justice]

* Maybe this is why Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld decided to leave New Haven and head up to Harvard. [Slate]

* Speaking of the Harvard-bound hottie, if you’re waiting for her to fail at anything, don’t hold your breath. [Disgrasian]

* Dolce & Gabbana say “Ciao!” to Italian tax evasion charges. [Fashionista]

Jeannie Suk

* Belated congratulations to Jeannie Suk, one-half of celebrity couple Feldsuk, who’s now the first Asian-American woman to serve as a tenured professor at Harvard Law School. [The Careerist]

* A cute April Fool’s joke from UT Law: check out the offerings in Dean Larry Sager’s Law Bodega. [Etsy]

* Elsewhere in April Fool’s news, “Dear SCOTUS FOIA Officer”…. [Law Librarian Blog]

* This is not a prank: a full ride to NYU Law. [Vault]

* These lawyerly lovebirds met as 1Ls at Georgetown Law and would love the support of ATL readers in Crate & Barrel’s “ultimate wedding” contest. [Ultimate Wedding Contest / Crate & Barrel]

Willie Nelson

* In Louisiana, girls must wear traditional dresses to the prom. Another tradition for girls in Louisiana is to marry your brother. Maybe traditions aren’t that great. [Daily Comet]

* Double bagging it: not just for skanky girls and groceries. A lawyer divulges the details of his love affair with plastic bags. [Wall Street Journal]

* Willie Nelson, it’s time to lip sync… for your life! The famous pot connoisseur will sing between tokes to avoid a jail sentence. [Daily Mail]

* If Eminem had one wish, he’d ask for a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss. Time to pucker up, record labels. [New York Times]

* Facebook Places is finally useful for something. Mark Zuckerberg: Told ya, Ceglia. – at Palo Alto, California with Domicile. [Reuters]

* Sean Penn finds himself wondering if time spent with Lindsay Lohan will count toward his community service requirement. [New York Post]

* Harvard lawyers, you so TTT. You can’t include your dog’s vet bill as an exhibit in a foreclosure case just because you’re covered in ivy. [Blog of Legal Times]

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