Posts at Law and Letters, Concurring Opinions and at Workplace Prof Blog all discuss different aspects of a purported departure memo written by an associate at the San Francisco office of Paul, Hastings. The memo was initially posted at Above the Law where David Lat apparently “accidentally” failed to redact the name of the complaining attorney in all of the places it occurred, thereby making her name public when he left her name visible. Given his penchant for humiliating women, see also, see also (and publicizing it when others do) this is not surprising, but it is unfortunate for the lawyer, though her name is probably in wide circulation already, placed there by vengeful members of firm management. How grateful they must be to Lat for doing their job for them. The only reason I am linking to the ATL post now is that it appears her name has finally been removed.
In the departure memo, the lawyer asserts she was fired after a miscarriage, before she could get preganant again. At Workplace Prof Blog, Paul Secunda writes:
… And though these are just allegations, I come from the same environment and only can say that I know of very similar circumstances, and worse, happening around me when I wore the associate manacles.
But the fact that law firms might be morally bankrupt should be really no surprise. What is a surprise is that an experienced labor and employment firm was so (allegedly) callous in handling one of its own.
Like Paul, I am aware of legions of situations like this at many large law firms. Unlike Paul, I am not suprised that an experienced labor and employment firm might have been so callous. Why not? The partners at a firm like that well know that they can get away with it. It’s simple enough to give a confusing assignment to an associate, and then to castigate her with a bad review for not doing the job “correctly.” Many lawyers will absorb this kind of treatment so they can feasibly get a decent reference, and a good job somewhere else.
NB: Edited for spelling errors, content and clarity. And I may have some additions soon. Carol Elefant’s take on the situation is here.
UPDATE: I received the following e-mail from David Lat, which I post here in its entirety, with his explicit permission to do so:
The associate’s name appeared in several places in the memo. I redacted it in all places except for one — below the notary line, where it was easily missed (and accidentally missed, by me, which I regret).
It is not accurate, therefore, to say that I “failed to redact the name of the complaining attorney in all of the places it occurred.” I redacted it EVERYWHERE IT APPEARED except for one place, where I missed it (accidentally — in the notary signature block — look at page 4).
After it was pointed out to me, I fixed that one missed redaction, within about five minutes of the post going up.
I am trying to do the right thing here with these redactions. I don’t appreciate it when I don’t get credit for these efforts.
Perhaps I should just go back to my former practice of just putting these documents up in unredacted form (since it’s extra work to redact, and since I get accused of not redacting them anyway).