For those of you who have missed Deidre Dare, the expat lawyer who was terminated from the Moscow office of Allen & Overy after writing a smutty steamy online novel, give thanks. She’s baaaaaack.
Deidre “To Russia With Donkey and Dwarf Love” Dare is struggling with the cash flow these days. The Columbia Law grad’s London lawsuit against Magic Circle firm A&O for unfair termination in its Russia office was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, so she filed a new complaint in New York. As you might expect from an amateur sex novelist, the complaint is rather juicy. Dare (a.k.a. Deidre Clark), who was a senior attorney in A&O’s London, Singapore and Moscow offices from 2007 to 2009, claims that she was terminated after giving into — and later spurning — her supervising partner’s sexual advances. (Excerpt: “[Tony] Humphrey made sexual advances on Clark, who was intoxicated at the time. This conduct included intimate sexual contact. Humphrey kept saying “I love sex.”)
Dare is upping the ante on the lawsuit. In London, she sued for £3.5m, but in her Big Apple lawsuit, she’s hoping to take a bigger bite out of A&O: namely, $35 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
“I think NY will take jurisdiction,” Dare, a member of the New York Bar, told us by email. “And thank god for that.”
In the meantime, Dare is working on another project that is, er, rather racy….
I’m sure that somewhere there is a gang of civil rights activists and defense attorneys saying, “So, we’re only going to talk about this if it happens to a rich European?” But hey, let’s not dwell on why the perp walk is suddenly generating some controversy, and instead embrace the fact that people are willing to talk about it at all.
As you may have heard, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in Manhattan over the weekend on sex crime charges. As is customary in this country, Strauss-Kahn was paraded before the news media in handcuffs (see picture; feel free to point, stare, laugh, as is traditional).
This common American practice is illegal in France. Under French law, the media is not allowed to show pictures of people in handcuffs unless they’ve been convicted of a crime. Apparently, the French believe that such pictures are highly prejudicial to the defendant.
Associates at big law firms don’t normally burn out right away. They arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, raring to go. This is their moment! Grasp the golden ring!
If you look closely, though, you’ll notice a few poor souls who burn out immediately – sometimes within a few weeks. These folks look awful almost from Day One, dread coming to work, don’t talk to the others, can’t sleep and wonder how to get out – like, immediately.
That’s because they’ve been sexually harassed.
I know. Sexual harassment is a drag of a topic, the stuff of tedious lectures by gender theorists and “Human Resource professionals.” Nothing new to say, just standard material: wince-inducing scenarios, tired platitudes about respect and crossing the line and what’s appropriate in a workplace blah blah blah…boring, scary, boring.
I hear about sexual harassment all the time from my clients, so it’s a little less boring for me, and a lot more real. There is stuff worth talking about. But I’ll keep it quick.
If you’re like me, two of your last three Sunday night sports orgies have been ruined by the intrusion of real world events. First, Osama bin Laden lost the ultimate game of Call of Duty. Then last night Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and would-be president of France, was pulled off of a plane at JFK and arrested for a sex crime. And in the middle of those two world events, Mother’s Day happened.
(Note to NFL owners: this is the kind of crap that’ll be happening in the fall if you guys refuse to let people play football.)
As world events go, this is pretty big. Think about it: we’ve got the head of one of the five most powerful NGOs in the world, the leader of the Socialist party, a sex scandal, a super-fancy hotel, a maid, and an alleged escape attempt thwarted at JFK — and this has nothing to do with Bill Clinton! I mean come on, if you found out that the Lannisters were involved, would you be surprised?
And on the legal front, we’re talking about an important and respected international figure who just got denied bail.
Excuse me, I need to get my popcorn out of the microwave….
Toronto partner David Cowling, exonerated booty dancer
Back in January 2009, a moot court after-party hosted by Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke got wild enough to spark allegations of sexual harassment. Canadians do know how to party, eh? The “night of debauchery” has haunted David Cowling ever since; he was one of the partners accused of getting overly friendly with female associates and law students, while gettin’ jiggy.
He says that an internal law firm investigation cleared him of charges of inappropriate dance floor behavior, but that the firm refused to make that public, leading to rumors continuing to swirl in his work and social communities in Toronto. Oh, and have we mentioned that David Cowling specializes in labor and employment law? “If I were a personal injury lawyer, sexual harassment rumors would not be such a bad mark on my professional reputation,” says Cowling.
So he filed a libel suit against Adrian Jakibchuk and Sarah Diebel, the two associates who accused him of doing the really funky chicken on the dance floor. Apparently, they don’t study the Barbara Streisand effect in Canadian law schools. That got the allegations splashed across Canadian newspapers and here at ATL.
But now he’s got his name cleared, with a public statement from his prior firm, along with a seven-figurish settlement. He started a new firm and dropped his lawsuit against his accusers, and has a few things to say about his side of the story.
So say you’re the law student who supposedly got felt up by a partner on the dance floor, and his lawyer calls you up in the middle of exam week to talk about it. Yeah, that’s awkward. And Cowling sent along the transcript…
Would new Match.com regulations stop Ben Roethlisberger from connecting with a receiver?
By now, many of you have see the story about the woman who is suing Match.com. It’s been in the L.A. Times, the WSJ Law Blog (replete with a very creepy picture), and the ABA Journal. It’s a sad story. A woman alleges she was sexually assaulted while on a date with a man she met through Match.com.
If the allegations are true, you can only hope her attacker is punished to the full extent of the law.
This story is making national news because, in addition to pursuing charges against her alleged attacker, the woman has also filed a lawsuit against Match.com. She wants them to conduct a screening of the users on their site.
In the heat of a disturbing story about an assault, I’m sure that checking a member’s name against a registry of sex offenders seems like a minimal requirement that can be easily done by a large company like Match.com. At least that’s what her lawyer would like us to think.
But I think any dispassionate and reasonable analysis of the situation would reveal that such a requirement is at worst dangerous, and a best entirely ineffective. I don’t care how many proprietary algorithms these dating sites throw at you — at the end of the day, there is no substitute for human intuition, common sense, and luck….
[Partner David] Cowling and the very intoxicated summer student began to dance in a sexually explicit manner. The student’s arms were around Cowling’s neck and his hands were on her waist and buttocks. While dancing, Cowling placed his hand on the student’s breast. Shortly thereafter, the summer student fell to the floor. She was assisted to her feet by Cowling and others. The summer student then went to the washroom where she vomited over her hair, body and clothes
(Cowling sued Diebel and another former associate, Adrian Jakibchuk, for defamation, alleging that their statements about a wild party in January 2009 defamed him. We covered Cowling’s defamation lawsuit here. Earlier this week, Jakibchuk sued Mathews Dinsdale for wrongful termination, bringing the firm’s “night of debauchery” back into the news.)
It’s been a while since we last checked in on Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas, the Canadian jurist featured in pornographic photos that found their way to the internet. Today we have an update.
The update relates to Justice Douglas’s husband, Jack King — the Canada lawyer responsible for posting the pictures of his wife engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and administering fellatio, among other activities….
* Lloyd Blankfein testified in the Rajabba case and (you will not believe this) shook… Rajabba’s …hand. OMG. [Reuters]
* Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, prosecutor Ismael R. Ozanne is going to put the whole system on trial. [Bloomberg]
* The Supreme Court grappled with the question of whether poor people are entitled to legal representation in cases where they face jail time for failure to pay child support. On a related note, here is video of Shawn Kemp dunking on Alton Lister’s head. [New York Times]
* Dov Charney, world-renowned maker of leggings and sweatbands, once again stands accused of being a creep. [Los Angeles Times]
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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