Women’s Issues

Juan Monteverde and Alexandra Marchuk

Alexandra Marchuk’s lawsuit against her former employer, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its top partners, Juan Monteverde, marches on. And this time the Faruqis are playing offense.

We previously noted the firm’s attempt to make Marchuk look like a bunny boiler — a mentally unstable young woman who was obsessed with Monteverde, the man whom she claims harassed her. And it looks like the firm is sticking to this strategy, trying to call into question Marchuk’s mental health.

Let’s take a look at their latest motion….

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Complaining openly and presenting a negative persona is not a good strategy for the office or most places, for that matter. Even if you have every good reason to complain, people do not want to hear it.

Susan Smith Blakely, author of Best Friends At the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (affiliate link), explaining that women lawyers must show “true grit” without “making a victim of [them]selves” because the alternative is the possible loss of friends, support, and jobs.

[W]hat I found most interesting was that their lives were often far more complex than they had predicted. Even the greatest of expectations, it seems, eventually encounter reality.

Florence Martin-Kessler, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, offering commentary on the lives of 21 women who were interviewed by New York Times Magazine 12 years ago. At the time, they were fresh out of law school, incredibly idealistic, and about to begin careers at Debevoise & Plimpton, where they planned to conquer the world. Today, “only a handful” of them are still with the firm.

“Being a partner at an elite law firm isn’t what it once was,” as I recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal book review, but “while the brass ring might be tarnished, it still gleams brightly for many.” And with good reason: even if it’s harder than ever to become (and remain) a partner, for those who do manage to make it, the pay, perks, and prestige are plentiful.

The American Lawyer just released its latest New Partner Survey. The magazine heard from almost 500 lawyers who began working as partners between 2010 and 2013. About 60 percent of the survey respondents are non-equity or income partners — which makes sense, given the proliferation of two-tier partnerships, as well as how junior these partners are — and the rest are equity partners.

What are the most notable findings from the survey? Here are five:

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Women have made great strides in the workplace over the last several decades. But one doesn’t have to look much further than these pages to see that despite all the progress, significant hurdles remain. Maybe those hurdles could be overcome if women would just listen to their firm Women’s Committees.

Or maybe women have it better off than we think. A major newspaper assembled a crack team of men and asked them if women still face discrimination in the workplace.

According to a Biglaw managing partner, women have no problems in the workplace anymore.

Maybe he forgot about those pesky sex discrimination suits his firm got slapped with….

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* A passionate defense of Condoleezza Rice’s appointment to the NCAA selection committee, decrying criticism of her joining the committee as sexism. Unfortunately, he’s wrong (the entry for “Zubaydah”). [The Legal Blitz]

* The cop who pepper-sprayed the UC Davis protestors got $38,000 in workers’ comp for the anxiety he suffered when people criticized him. Poor delicate flower. [Lowering the Bar]

* Wisconsin forced a pregnant woman into a drug treatment program — even though she didn’t use drugs. Her fetus was afforded an attorney, but not the woman being unlawfully detained. [Slate]

* Former NSA chief Michael Hayden got a taste of what it feels like to have his private conversation monitored. Hayden told the reporter that he didn’t want to be on the record, but unfortunately for him, someone seated nearby knew who he was and live-tweeted the whole embarrassing conversation. [Think Progress]

* Yikes. Feds confiscated an investigative reporter’s files. That seems… wrong? [Popehat]

* An attorney was arrested at the bedside of his dying aunt because a local judge refused to reschedule a hearing. Texas judges are awesome! [Tyler Morning Telegraph]

* In tragic news, Judge Anthony Quinn of Utah, the brother of Quinn Emanuel’s John Quinn, was killed in a bicycling accident. Our thoughts are with the Quinn family. [Salt Lake Tribune]

This is a Biglaw fashion don’t.

Day in and day out, the demands associated with Biglaw grind people up and lay waste to the hopes and dreams that many once had about what it would be like to work as a high-powered attorney. And more often than not, it is the men who are in charge of this “all work, no play” carnival of tortured souls.

From origination credit to salary wars to leadership opportunities, it is usually the men who are accused of pushing women two steps back in the Biglaw regime. But today, we’ve got insider information on some alleged woman-on-woman crime. This time, it is the women who are ripping their female colleagues to shreds. And it’s not just any women; no, it’s the members of the firm’s Women’s Committee who are doing the damage, and trust us when we say that these cats have claws.

Brought to you by the same firm that produced the departure memo seen ’round the world, we now present to you what may be one of the most sexist Biglaw memos we’ve ever seen….

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* A look at how one expert witness helped Mark Cuban win in the insider trading case. The government should have hired the Spurs — they figure out how to beat Mark Cuban constantly. [The Expert Institute]

* This guy forgot to book a wedding venue and rather than admit it, called in a bomb threat. How mean would his bride-to-be have to be for him to commit a crime rather than disappoint? So anyway, he’s going to jail now. [Associated Press]

* Man arrested for punching a police horse. I mean, Mr. Ed shouldn’t have mouthed off like that. [Slate]

* The chief of FERC will be joining a top law firm in Portland. Someone send Jon Wellinghoff a complete box set of Portlandia so he knows what he’s getting into. [Breaking Energy]

* After yesterday’s scathing attack on law reviews brought out some defenders, this post brings the snark to the whole affair. [Law Prof Blawg]

* Ms. JD is handing out awards at its annual conference. Send in your nominations by December 15. [Ms. JD]

* The ironic webpage for the Delaware State Bar’s “Access to Justice” program. Image after the jump…

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Liz Murray overcame tremendous odds as she transformed herself from a homeless teen to a Harvard graduate. Her transformation was portrayed in a 2003 Lifetime Television movie, From Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. Murray reduced her very personal story to writing in September 2010, in a moving, loving, beautiful autobiography, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard (affiliate link), which within one week landed on the New York Times bestseller list.

Murray’s accolades are numerous, including The White House Project Role Model Award, a Christopher Award, and Oprah Winfrey’s first-ever Chutzpah Award. Murray is the founder and director of Manifest Living, a company based in New York that aims to empower anyone who has the desire to change their life. She is also a motivational speaker and will be the keynote speaker on November 8, 2013, at the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Ninth Annual General Counsel Institute in New York….

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Things have quieted down a bit on the Weil Gotshal front. About a week has passed since our last report on Biglaw’s biggest source of drama.

Today we have some news to share about WGM — information gleaned from partner departure memos out of Dallas, the site of the biggest defections, and a real estate report from New York, the King’s Landing of Weil Gotshal….

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