Williams Mullen

Are lawyers and BlackBerry breaking up?

Biglaw used to be the Kingdom of BlackBerry. Every attorney had one. You had to check it every 90 seconds or the world would explode — and you’d get fired.

The last part is still probably true, but many lawyers use other smartphones now. Like iPhones and Droids and technology invented after the Paleolithic era.

The American Lawyer recently published a survey of how far the mighty have fallen. It looks like lawyers have kicked their CrackBerry habit, and moved onto hipper, designer drugs phones….

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We have been tracking — as have other news outlets, such as the New York Times — which leading law firms offer the perk we’ve nicknamed the gay gross-up. If you’re inclined towards formality, you can call it the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits.” For an explanation of what this perk is all about, read this prior post.

Since our last round-up, additional prominent law firms have adopted this policy. Let’s check out the latest list….

UPDATE (9/7/11, 12:30 PM): We’ve added to our list since it went up yesterday.

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor

* Professor Carlton Larson has a great new paper exploring possible constitutional limitations on state laws regulating baby names. Could parental rights to name a child “Dumb Motherf**ker,” “Preserved Fish,” or “Latrina” be protected by the First Amendment? [SSRN via Legal Blog Watch]

* Speaking of the Wise Latrina, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a fan of bipartisan seating at the State of the Union. Her colleagues’ email skills? Not so much. [How Appealing]

* Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein on the Rahm Emanuel ruling: “Illinois law is better interpreted to say that before a Washington pol runs again in the midwest he needs some time reacquaint himself with the real world.” [Truth on the Market]

* Congratulations to DLA Piper, which will become the world’s largest law firm after a merger Down Under. [Bloomberg]

* And congratulations to former DLA partner Ted Segal — he’s moving over to regional firm Stradley Ronon, in part because of client concerns over billing rates. [Washington Business Journal]

* Wow, that was fast. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has already settled his lawsuit over olive-triggered dental damage. [Dave Weigel / Slate]

Sean Combs aka Diddy

* This complaint makes Jonathan Lee Riches v. Jared Lee Loughner sound like the height of sanity. A woman is suing P. Diddy, blaming him for the collapse of the World Trade Center. [Radar Online]

* A state transit agency in Virginia that has paid Williams Mullen more than $6.5 million over the past five years might be shifting legal work away from the firm. [Virginian-Pilot]

* You can call Above the Law “the most worst legal website published in the State of New York,” and we won’t sue you for defamation. (Cue jokes about truth as a defense in 3, 2, 1….) [New York Law Journal via ABA Journal]

Or make that a cucumber of one. Remember this allegation, from the lawsuit filed by former case manager Hanh Nguyen Allgood against the prominent Richmond law firm of Williams Mullen?

When the [office elevator] doors closed, [partner] Robert Eicher pretended to be sad and depressed. He asked Allgood for a hug. When she complied, he pressed his genital area against Allgood’s left thigh. Allgood felt something hard pressing against her thigh and attempted to pull away from him. Eicher held Allgood tighter to prevent her from pulling away, and pressed his genital area against her thigh even harder. Allgood was horrified. She pushed him away and stepped back. In response, Eicher laughed and pulled a cucumber out of his pants pocket.

We’re sorry to disappoint all you lovers of law firm gossip, but sadly, we won’t be hearing testimony in open court about the cucumber incident….

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Last year, prominent Richmond law firm Williams Mullen was hit with a lawsuit from a former employee alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment. It was a juicy one — cucumber juicy.

Vietnam native Hanh Nguyen Allgood, 53, who was a case manager for the firm, claimed that a partner rubbed up against her in an elevator with a surprise in his pants:

When the doors closed, Robert Eicher pretended to be sad and depressed. He asked Allgood for a hug. When she complied, he pressed his genital area against Allgood’s left thigh. Allgood felt something hard pressing against her thigh and attempted to pull away from him. Eicher held Allgood tighter to prevent her from pulling away, and pressed his genital area against her thigh even harder. Allgood was horrified. She pushed him away and stepped back. In response, Eicher laughed and pulled a cucumber out of his pants pocket.

Eicher also allegedly asked inappropriate questions about her vajayjay:

Litigation partner Robert Eicher bears the brunt of Allgood’s sexual harassment allegations. According to her complaint, he asked when he first met her whether “her vagina was vertical or horizontal,” a reference to “a horrible racial slur bandied about by some American soldiers during the Viet Nam War contending that Vietnamese women had vertical vaginas.”

Um, aren’t all hoo-has vertical?

In an article about another Williams Mullen employee suing the firm, Richmond’s Style Weekly provided some updates on the case from Allgood’s attorney. Williams Mullen was not pleased. Reports an ATL reader:

No oral in Cucumber-Gate, per the new gag order.

What was it that Williams Mullen couldn’t swallow?

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Williams Mullen is a prominent Richmond-based law firm that is “100 years strong,” according to its website. For 18 of those years, Vietnam native Hanh Nguyen Allgood, 53, was a case manager for the firm. She left in March 2007.

Apparently, the departure was not “all good” with her. She has filed a $950,000 lawsuit against the firm, alleging discrimination and sexual harassment, according to Style Weekly.

Litigation partner Robert Eicher bears the brunt of Allgood’s sexual harassment allegations. According to her complaint [PDF], he asked when he first met her whether “her vagina was vertical or horizontal,” a reference to “a horrible racial slur bandied about by some American soldiers during the Viet Nam War contending that Vietnamese women had vertical vaginas.”

And then there was the cucumber incident….

UPDATE: A statement from the firm has been added after the jump.

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