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How to Get Yourself Fired From a Summer Associate Job:

One of the most difficult feats in the legal profession is getting fired from a job as a summer associate at a big law firm. Stupidity, incompetence, and misbehavior are simply not enough to persuade most firms to show summer associates the door. However, David Lat at Above the Law recounts a recent example of a summer associate associate who really did get fired. The budding lawyer in question got the axe because he "(a) he allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with female summer associates, variously described as 'repeatedly smack[ing] the asses of female summers' or 'playing grab ass with female summers,' and (b) . . . allegedly made racially insensitive jokes, in front of multiple attorneys."

In other words, our hero was done in by a combination of racist talk and sexual harrassment. The sad tale recounted by David fits in with my own anecdotal experience. I know of only a handful of people who have been fired from summer associate positions. But every one of them was let go because because of allegations of racism, sexual harrassment, or both. Why this pattern (assuming that my experience is representative)? Some might see it as a symptom of political correctness. Perhaps - though, in all of the cases I'm familiar with, I would probably have fired the racist/harrasser in question too.

But there is another explanation for firms' toleration of other kinds of bad behavior by summer associates, combined with intolerance for sexual harrassment and open racism. Most big firms want summer associate jobs to be as much fun and as little pressure for law students as possible; that is what they think will make a good impression on the summer associates and convince them to take full-time jobs at the firm later on. Not firing people for incompetence, stupidity or obnoxiousness is one way to ensure an easygoing, low-pressure atmosphere. And it doesn't do much harm to the partners' bottom line because the firm isn't likely to make much of a profit on summer associates' work anyway.

However, if a summer associate engages in racist or sexist behavior without retribution, that is likely to damage the firm's public image, thereby making it difficult to recruit new lawyers in the future (particularly women and minorities). Moreover, failure to discipline employees who engage in sexual harrassment could open the firm to costly litigation.

In sum, law firms are willing to tolerate most misbehavior by summer associates because it is in their interest to do so. But summer associates, like other workers, will get the axe if their misadventures threaten to hurt the bottom line.

It is fashionable to decry big law firms' and other businesses concern for maximizing profit. In this case, however, it leads them to crack down on racism, sexism, and harrassment far more than they otherwise might. Not a bad outcome.

theobromophile (www):

Moreover, failure to discipline employees who engage in sexual harrassment could open the firm to costly litigation.

Very true - it's cheaper to fire the associate and find a replacement than it is to defend against hostile environment litigation.

It's also a numbers game. If the summer associate in Lat's article harassed, say, a half-dozen women, the firm has a very vested interest in firing the one person who created the problem, rather than having six women not take offers. That's not political correctness run amok; it's just good business sense.
7.24.2007 8:30pm
Ilya Somin:
It's also a numbers game. If the summer associate in Lat's article harassed, say, a half-dozen women, the firm has a very vested interest in firing the one person who created the problem, rather than having six women not take offers. That's not political correctness run amok; it's just good business sense.

Definitely!
7.24.2007 8:35pm
Guest101:
That's a good start at an explanation; I don't really disagree with it but I'm not sure it presents the full picture. A couple of thoughts that aren't inconsistent with your theory but might flesh it out a bit more:

1. The damage to the firm's public image and any consequent difficulty in recruiting lawyers in the future is only a part-- and a less direct part-- of the bottom-line damage that firms would suffer from tolerating open racism and sexual harassment in the summer class. The summer associateship position itself is largely an extended recruiting period, and firms have a vested interest in recruiting the summers in their class to return as full-time associates. Failing to address these kinds of behavioral problems not only harms the firm's reputation in the long term, it makes the summer program less enjoyable for the offender's summer classmates-- and makes those individuals, whom the firm has already invested substantial time and money recruiting, also less likely to accept an offer at the end of the summer.

2. Firms almost never fire a summer associate for mediocre work product, and that's consistent with your bottom-line theory, but what about the fact that they also quite frequently extend full-time offers to mediocre summer associates at the end of the summer? I have heard of summers not receiving offers because their productivity or quality of work were unsatisfactory, but it seems (likewise anecdotally) that a summer associate's work must be very far below expectations for that to occur. If firms are simply being rationally profit-seeking in their treatment of misbehaving summer associates, why wouldn't they cut their losses at the end of the summer by declining to offer a full-time position to a summer associate whose work product suggests that he or she would not be a high performer as a full-time employee? (Possible answer: because the work that junior associates spend the bulk of their time doing-- document review and due diligence-- could be adequately performed by the average high school graduate. Firms might assume that even a semi-competent summer associate will be able to handle the job for the first two or three years before being weeded out as the job responsibilities become more demanding).
7.24.2007 8:43pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
Some might see it as a symptom of political correctness.

Because nothing says "politically correct" like objecting to having some guy grab your ass at the office.
7.24.2007 11:14pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
In addition to Kieran's very good point, I also note that Ilya appears to consider grabbing asses to be mere sexual harassment, rather than what it obviously is -- assault. Ilya -- do you have a sister? a wife? You have an odd attitude towards women.
7.24.2007 11:24pm
AdamL:
While I don't know anyone who has been fired for misbehavior, I know two associates who feel they were not hired (after their sumemr gig) for their failure to participate in after-hours strip club marathons. Both associates come from a Southern Baptist background and refused to go to strip clubs or drink when out, though they did go out with the other associates. While they got along well with the older partners (and received stellar work reviews from them), the younger permanent associates seemed to avoid them around the office in one case and in the other made snide remarks about his non-attendance at the strip-clubs.

Hanging out with co-workers is important, but refusing to attend strip clubs shouldn't be held against you for a professional gig.
7.24.2007 11:41pm
FredR (mail):
Good thing he wasn't in Oregon. Two 13-year-olds are facing felony charges for butt slapping, plus lifetime designation as sex offenders.

7.24.2007 11:56pm
Porkchop:
Or maybe law students who think slapping women in the ass and telling racist jokes is appropriate workplace behavior are just too stupid to be kept around a law firm -- at least one that has the ability to attract better.
7.25.2007 12:07am
Ilya Somin:
In addition to Kieran's very good point, I also note that Ilya appears to consider grabbing asses to be mere sexual harassment, rather than what it obviously is -- assault.

The two are not mutually exclusive. The same action can be both a criminal offense (assault), and a civil one (sexual harrassment).

Some might see it as a symptom of political correctness.

Because nothing says "politically correct" like objecting to having some guy grab your ass at the office.



If you had read the post, you might have noticed that I AGREED with the firing, and therefore did NOT view it as a case of political correctness run amok.
7.25.2007 12:14am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
On a human angle, attorneys tend to be protective of their secretaries. I don't have one, but when I did would have felt a duty to deal with anyone who played grab-ass with her, and deal with it harshly. I know of one atty here who "fired" a client simply because his secretary, an older lady, was offended by some four-letter words he used during a phone call (not propositioning her, just cussing), and only agreed to continue representing him after he made a personal apology.
7.25.2007 12:27am
Kieran (mail) (www):
If you had read the post, you might have noticed that I AGREED with the firing, and therefore did NOT view it as a case of political correctness run amok.

Yes Ilya, I know. I am well able to read, and my comment wasn't saying anything about you. I was just wondering what sort of person -- those "some might see it..." people -- thinks that having a strong negative reaction to getting smacked on the backside at work is repugnant on PC grounds.
7.25.2007 12:40am
Dan Simon (mail) (www):
However, if a summer associate engages in racist or sexist behavior without retribution, that is likely to damage the firm's public image, thereby making it difficult to recruit new lawyers in the future (particularly women and minorities). Moreover, failure to discipline employees who engage in sexual harrassment could open the firm to costly litigation.

There must be hundreds of different ways for summer associates to be really obnoxious to fellow workers in ways that damage the firm's public image. The vast majority of them have nothing whatsoever to do with racism or sexual harassment. If only the racists and sexual harassers are fired, then either (a) obnoxious law students are the most spectacularly unimaginative people ever to be lumped into a single category, or (b) it's really all about the litigation.

I hold no brief for workplace racial or sexual harassers. But I've never understood why, of all the truly horrible ways co-workers or (especially) bosses can behave towards employees, the ones related to race or sex--and only those--are legally actionable.
7.25.2007 12:44am
theobromophile (www):

Some might see it as a symptom of political correctness.

Because nothing says "politically correct" like objecting to having some guy grab your ass at the office.

Except that the people doing the firing aren't the women who were groped. The partners, who did not engage in this behaviour, still took action.
7.25.2007 12:55am
Kieran (mail) (www):
Except that the people doing the firing aren't the women who were groped. The partners, who did not engage in this behaviour, still took action.

What difference does that make? Look, let's take those people who "might see it as a symptom of political correctness." This means, I take it, that these people think that (warning, disciplining and ultimately) firing some guy in the office who has been "repeatedly smack[ing] the asses" of female employees is somehow surrendering to a pernicious ideology of sensitivity and victimhood or whatever. This is supposed to be a serious view? If this employee had been repeatedly smacking the faces of his male colleagues, I wonder whether disciplinary action would similarly be construed as caving in to the PC police. After all, do we really want to live in a crazy world where you can't walk up to an intern every few days and slap them on the face without getting fired?
7.25.2007 1:11am
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
You also have to take into account that someone who is dumb enough to sexually harass someone at work is also going to be dumb in other ways.

For example, I know of a firm that fired a certain summer. The last straw was that he had "artistic" pictures of naked women in his office that offended a secretary. But this is only part of the story. He also brought a large knife to work, invented complete B.S. stories (of acts of heroism he claimed to have done on 9/11 and relationship to celebrities, and many others) that all turned out to be laughably false, and he also apparently brought call girls to summer events.
7.25.2007 1:12am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Who would behave like that when sober? I could maybe maybe see smacking asses if everyone is shitfaced, but even then most people have an inherent disinclination to do stuff that normally gets you smacked.
7.25.2007 1:18am
Kieran (mail) (www):
He also brought a large knife to work

Fantastic.
7.25.2007 1:19am
Ilya Somin:
Yes Ilya, I know. I am well able to read, and my comment wasn't saying anything about you. I was just wondering what sort of person -- those "some might see it..." people -- thinks that having a strong negative reaction to getting smacked on the backside at work is repugnant on PC grounds.

I stand corrected, sorry.
7.25.2007 1:23am
dom:

If firms are simply being rationally profit-seeking in their treatment of misbehaving summer associates, why wouldn't they cut their losses at the end of the summer by declining to offer a full-time position to a summer associate whose work product suggests that he or she would not be a high performer as a full-time employee?


I think you have to consider the fact that law students know that basically all summers get offers and would be less likely to take a summer position or even interview at a firm that had a reputation for not extending offers to some portion of its summer class. Firms do not want to diminish their pool of potential labor even if it means extending offers to some relatively incompetent summers when they can be weeded out later without damage to their reputations.
7.25.2007 1:24am
LM (mail):

And it doesn't do much harm the firm's bottom line because the firm isn't likely to make much of a profit on summer associates' work anyway.

Much of a profit? Every day summer associate are on the payroll is a loss leader.
7.25.2007 1:41am
LM (mail):
I hold no brief for workplace racial or sexual harassers. But I've never understood why, of all the truly horrible ways co-workers or (especially) bosses can behave towards employees, the ones related to race or sex--and only those--are legally actionable.
7.25.2007 1:46am
LM (mail):
Damn. Hit the wrong key. Anyway...

I hold no brief for workplace racial or sexual harassers. But I've never understood why, of all the truly horrible ways co-workers or (especially) bosses can behave towards employees, the ones related to race or sex--and only those--are legally actionable.

I’d put it differently. I'd ask why, of all the things that could get someone fired, the ones you most often hear about happening relate to sex and race. Surely you don’t doubt that embezzling or punching someone or stealing a purse would get you fired? These things just don’t happen that often at major law firms.

I doubt it’s a question of political correctness. Sexual and racial harassment are much newer offenses than theft and battery. The charitable view is that the offenders haven't yet learned exactly what’s proscribed; the cynical view is that they haven't accepted it.
7.25.2007 2:12am
Cornellian (mail):
Firms almost never fire a summer associate for mediocre work product, and that's consistent with your bottom-line theory, but what about the fact that they also quite frequently extend full-time offers to mediocre summer associates at the end of the summer?

They do that not because they like the idea of carrying an incompetent associate for a few years, but because they want to attract the future stellar associates and those future stellar associates are less likely to come to the firm if they know the firm doesn't hire 100% of its summer associates. It's extremely difficult to summer at one firm then get hired at another firm after graduation because the other firms will always wonder why your summer firm didn't make you an offer. Law students know this and so a less than 100% offer rate is something they'll notice immediately.
7.25.2007 2:26am
Girls just wanna have fun (mail):
I am well able to read, and my comment wasn't saying anything about you. I was just wondering what sort of person -- those "some might see it..." people -- thinks that having a strong negative reaction to getting smacked on the backside at work is repugnant on PC grounds.

I know it is hard to believe in the post-1973 world, but some women liked being smacked on the ass at work, and plenty of women and men found it amusing. Believt it or not, some people like irrevent workplaces, given that they spend 2/3rds of their waking hours there.
7.25.2007 2:30am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I know it is hard to believe in the post-1973 world, but some women liked being smacked on the ass at work, and plenty of women and men found it amusing.

I dunno about anyone else, but while it is acceptable (for whatever deeply rooted traditions) for a football coach to give a winning player a smack on the rump, But as an attorney, I should think that rather improper.
7.25.2007 2:56am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I should add, in particular if it came from the judge.
7.25.2007 2:58am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Except for one trial court judge and one on a certain appellate court. Neither of which wll be identified, except that they are quite cute and will not be hunted down on the internet. In either of those cases I would be willing to incur a voluntary lifetime for cause disqualification.
7.25.2007 3:02am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Actually, it is a "bad outcome" when the person in question is not racist or sexist and the firm or certain individuals in the firm are trying to cover themselves with false allegations of racism or sexism.

For example halfway through my first year of law school I was working for a local law firm part time. One of the paralegals and an associate - both female - tried to convince me to "hook-up" with the associate before my girlfriend at the time came to town to stay with me for the summer. I turned the female associate down, and later before the summer was over they claimed they didn't have the hours and let me go early.

So this was a simple case of liability covering. I have no doubt that if I had tried to report them they would have tried to turn it around on me and claim it was the other way around. Or cook up some other sexist, racist, or performance-related false claims.

A lot of the people here are supposed to be skeptical, fact-finding, razor-sharp legal minds. Don't fall for the smokescreens of racism, sexism, anti-semitism, political correctness, etc. Just because an accusation is made does not mean it is true or that the investigation should stop. Someone that makes a false claim of racism or sexism to cover up liability for other wrongdoing is wrong twice over - in addition to being a tortfeasor and possibly a criminal.
7.25.2007 4:06am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Sheesh - if some of the people in this thread are really this gullible I feel for your clients.

Think of that movie "North Country" with Charlize Theron. If a firm incurs liability by mistreating an employee it has a vested interest in portraying that employee in a negative light. Now replace with female character in an abusive situation with a male, who are also human beings with legal rights the last time I checked.

This is Attorney 101. Political correctness has really blinded a lot of people.
7.25.2007 4:31am
Steve:
Actually, it is a "bad outcome" when the person in question is not racist or sexist and the firm or certain individuals in the firm are trying to cover themselves with false allegations of racism or sexism.

I guess I missed the false allegation part of your story. Are you really claiming that this female associate, devastated by your rejection of her, chose to make false accusations of sexual harassment in order to get you fired? Sounds like wild speculation unless there's a big part of the story you're not sharing with us.
7.25.2007 5:44am
theobromophile (www):

A lot of the people here are supposed to be skeptical, fact-finding, razor-sharp legal minds.

I presume we are supposed to take the same skepticism to your story about someone trying to con you into a potentially incriminating situation.
7.25.2007 6:22am
A.C.:
The most brutal cases of workplace harassment I have witnessed have had NO sexism or racism component. Most have been female-on-female, driven by pure animosity or personal rivalry, although a few have been male-on-male. The most toxic of all was the only female-on-male case, which involved a Baby Boomer woman tormenting an older man who was close to retirement. I suppose that could have been agism, but I think it was really an effort to neutralize a professional rival and advance the woman's career.

Only the last of these ever went to a hearing, probably because the target knew he would retire soon and didn't want to look for another job. Everyone else just changed jobs, and most were happy to tell EVERYONE how poisonous the old employer was. The problem is that this branded the former employees as whiners, not the employers as abusers.

Of course it's the threat of litigation. Nobody takes this stuff seriously otherwise, even when it destroys employees' health as well as their careers.
7.25.2007 9:45am
Old White Shoe Lawyer (mail):

They do that not because they like the idea of carrying an incompetent associate for a few years, but because they want to attract the future stellar associates and those future stellar associates are less likely to come to the firm if they know the firm doesn't hire 100% of its summer associates. It's extremely difficult to summer at one firm then get hired at another firm after graduation because the other firms will always wonder why your summer firm didn't make you an offer. Law students know this and so a less than 100% offer rate is something they'll notice immediately.


I agree with most of this. However, if you DO have an offer, and then interview as a 3rd year because you "didn't think the fit was right" it is EASY to get another top job.

When I was dealing with summer associates at a top New York firm, I knew of several examples of mediocre to poor summer associates (whether as a result of stupidity or laziness) who were given offers, but strongly encouraged to consider if some other firm might not be a better fit. It was made clear to these students that the offer was 'pro forma' and made for the purpose of making sure they did not come back. I recall one who couldn't get another job and did come back - he lasted less than 6 months before being asked to leave. (And this was in the old days where associates weren't ever actually "fired" and shown the door, but simply asked to find another job and given no work, no bonus and no raises.

The most egregious summer associate story I know comes from Simpson Thacher, where Bobby Kennedy, Jr. summered and was not even given a pro forma offer. The stories about his behavior from the other summer associates, which got back to the partnership, were damning, though never publicly acknowledged due to his prominence. It was openly acknowledged that his excessive spending led to the end of the then fabled "Five Nights on the Town" program where the firm paid for a summer associate and date/spouse plus a regular associate and date/spouse to go to a top quality dinner (initially no limits) and then a show/concert/play etc., and post-even drinks and/or dancing.
7.25.2007 9:58am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Chico's Bail Bonds

You also have to take into account that someone who is dumb enough to sexually harass someone at work is also going to be dumb in other ways.

For example, I know of a firm that fired a certain summer. The last straw was that he had "artistic" pictures of naked women in his office that offended a secretary. But this is only part of the story. He also brought a large knife to work, invented complete B.S. stories (of acts of heroism he claimed to have done on 9/11 and relationship to celebrities, and many others) that all turned out to be laughably false, and he also apparently brought call girls to summer events.


I wonder if this guy was an affirmative action admitee to law school??

Says the "Dog"
7.25.2007 10:21am
Xrayspec:
Most recruiting is designed to answer the question of whether a candidate can do the job; but recruiting can rarely answer the question of whether a candidate will do the job.

Just a hypothesis, but summer associates may not get fired for putative underperformance because there's little to no correlation between how they perform as summer associates and how they ultimately perform as associate attorneys.

Given the amount of money spent on recruiting, it's not implausible to think that big firm HR depts have compared summer performance with long-term performance and set policies accordingly.

Something like racism / sexual harassment is a "death penalty" offense that, as pointed out above, it would be irrational to tolerate.
7.25.2007 10:26am
edhesq (mail):
Boss: I'm going to get right to the point. It has come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?

George: Who said that?

Boss: She did.

George: Was that wrong? Should I have not done that? I tell you I gotta plead ingnorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frouned upon, you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices and I tell you peope do that all the time.

Boss: You're fired.
7.25.2007 10:31am
LAS:
The Dog says: I wonder if this guy was an affirmative action admitee to law school??

Most likely a legacy. More arrogant and more likely to say/do anything and a whole lot less likely to believe they'll get fired.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist!
7.25.2007 10:58am
A.C.:
Regarding legacies etc....

The worst behavior I've seen comes from two groups:

1) Those who are convinced the world is rigged in their favor -- a certain kind of rich kids, brothers in law of the boss, people who think they are smarter than everyone else, and people who think God is on their side (very common in the non-profit and government sectors).

2) Those who think the world is rigged against them so fundamentally that nothing they do makes a difference.

Everybody else behaves as if their behavior matters, which it mostly does.
7.25.2007 11:09am
Houston Lawyer:
You expect some of your summer associates to be idiots in one way or another. That is part of the reason for the program. If they are only going to be there for six weeks or so, you really don't often need to fire someone.

We sometimes see summer associates who clearly have no long-term interest in the firm. They do things like ordering to entrées at dinner or bringing different dates to functions held on the same day. Really stupid behavior may actually provide entertainment to the summer associates and attorneys alike. I still like to recount the exploits of some of my fellow summer associates. One spent two hours hugging the toilet in the firm men's room following too much to drink at lunch. Another actually passed out in the hallway that same day. Both of these guys received offers. So only firing those who put you at litigation risk is more than rational.
7.25.2007 11:09am
JohnO (mail):
Dom has hit the nail on the head. When a SA doesn't get an offer at the end of the summer, it has an incredibly negative impact on their job search. If an SA spent the summer at a firm and that firm decided it didn't want the SA back, why would another firm coem to a different conclusion based on four hours of interviews? Why take the risk? Thus, while there are jobs to be had for 3Ls who didn't get an offer after their SA gig, they have a really uphill climb.

Why is this important? Because 2Ls know this and it's not at all uncommon for a 2L to ask in an interview how many of last year's SAs got offers. A firm recruiting for next summer really wants to be able to answer that question by saying "all of them." If you fire someone mid-summer, that is the quintessential SA who "didn't get an offer," so firms don't want to do that unless the conduct is so bad that it causes a risk of litigation or reputational harm (such as sexual harassment lawsuits), or makes for such an amazingly unpleasant work environment that you have to get risd of the SA in mid-summer to avoid a revolt.
7.25.2007 11:19am
Seamus (mail):
K1avg:

You know why I think that story you linked to is bullshit? Because Tucker Max claims that a Fenwick &West partner told him, a lowly summer associate, "Yeah, what kills me is that we had a deal with Wilson and Cooley. We all agreed to pay $2,100. We talked about it, and figured as long as all of us did it, we could get away with it. But as soon as we announced, that message board blew up, and Wilson bailed on us and paid $2,400. That thing is something else."

Anyone stupid enough to give a statement that would constitute admissible evidence of price-fixing, to someone with no proven record of loyalty to the price-fixing enterprise, is probably the sort of person who'd have done enough stupid things early in his career (like play grabass with female colleagues and tell racist jokes) that he'd have been fired long before he had a chance to be hiring partner at Fenwick.
7.25.2007 12:32pm
Waldensian (mail):

I wonder if this guy was an affirmative action admitee to law school??

I'm not sure I follow you. Do you ask this question because you think that "affirmative action admittees" are more likely than other persons to act badly, peruse pornography, bring knives to work, bring call girls to parties, etc.? If so, what makes you think that? If not, why did you ask the question?

I can think of one reason that somebody would express this view and/or ask the question you asked, and I'm hoping there's another one.

Woof woof "Human"
7.25.2007 12:53pm
Orielbean (mail):
Walden, the Dog is a known troll round these parts. Pay no mind.
7.25.2007 1:34pm
Waldensian (mail):

Walden, the Dog is a known troll round these parts. Pay no mind.

He sometimes says interesting things. But this one struck me as unabashedly racist.

And I must protest the nickname. No Thoreau/pond connection here, just good old heresy. :)

Says the "French-speaking Northern Italian Proto-Protestant"
7.25.2007 2:55pm
Amy (www):
Most women do not "make up" sexual harassment. From someone who experienced it for years from a single individual; you get a lot of flak and unwanted attention for calling someone out for sexually harassing you. You were either his jilted lover who just wanted payback or you want attention, is the public opinion. It take guts to report it; especially when you're afraid that if he finds out it was you who did the reporting, he'll increase his harassment or try to get revenge.

There is nothing politically correct about firing someone for sexual harassment. That's just good company policy. Or good moral policy. Who would you rather have at a law firm, a woman who's worked without any complaints against her, or some guy who's grabbing at her arse? If I was in the position of the female employee, I'd quit if the guy wasn't make to knock it off.

It IS incredibly hard and sometimes, downright frightening when some creep is sexually harassing you. Especially if the higher-ups won't do anything about it.
7.25.2007 6:22pm
gwlaw99 (mail):
When I was a summer associate, I heard a story about a past year in which someone was on a firm sponsored boat trip. A child sprayed him with a water gun at the dock and he threw the kid into the water. He was fired.

A fellow summer associate of mine sold Cutco knives from his office once he has felt he has done enough work for the day. He used the office next door to store his dirty dry cleaning (a visiting partner who needed the office was not pleased), and he used the firm paging system to page partners to take him to lunch. He was not fired, but he was not given an offer.
7.25.2007 6:44pm
ElizabethN (mail):
I think the guy who got drunk and peed off the back of the Duck Tours boat a few years back in Boston was fired, but I'm not sure.
7.25.2007 7:54pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Steve-

I guess I missed the false allegation part of your story. Are you really claiming that this female associate, devastated by your rejection of her, chose to make false accusations of sexual harassment in order to get you fired? Sounds like wild speculation unless there's a big part of the story you're not sharing with us.

As I said in the post, I have no doubt that if I would have reported them they would have tried to turn it around on me and claim that I was the one being inappropriate. In fact, they might have done this pre-emptively, since the partner I worked for babbled something about "using the firm as a single's bar" - which I didn't do but his coworkers did - later in the summer.

If you practice I hope you don't have any male clients. I can see the settlement negotiations now:

Opposing Counsel: Apparently your client is the problem, he is a raging sexist and racist and even came to work in a World War II German half-track and demanded that he be called Herr Field Marshall von Briefer.

Steve: Well although there is absolutely no proof of that and I haven't spoken to my client I guess you're right. Do you want us to give you the whole farm now or give it to you in installments?
7.26.2007 12:55am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
theobromophile-

I presume we are supposed to take the same skepticism to your story about someone trying to con you into a potentially incriminating situation.

Actually, it was a story about co-workers engaging in inappropriate behavior that they likely would have turned around and made a false accusation about if I had reported them or they had been exposed. I'm sure any labor attorney with some experience will tell you that kind of crap happens all the time. Once an employer and/or group of employees incur liability they are very motivated to come up with counterclaims and complaints of their own, they often try to build up a file with these.

This isn't limited to the workplace. There are women that claim consensual sex was something else when their family, friends, partner, etc. find out about it all the time.
7.26.2007 1:05am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Amy-

Most women do not "make up" sexual harassment.

Note that you did not say "all", because some women do make it up.

There is nothing politically correct about firing someone for sexual harassment. That's just good company policy. Or good moral policy.

Except when the claims are false. Then its immorally screwing over an innocent person due to fears of liability. Or to avoid firm liability by making false claims or counterclaims.
7.26.2007 1:26am
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
Nope. Not an affirmative action admit. He was as white as they get and the son of a C-list-celebrity evangelical TV preacher. (C-list for TV preachers, not for honest to God celebrities).
7.26.2007 2:58am
Mr. Impressive (mail):
American Psikhushka writes,


As I said in the post, I have no doubt that if I would have reported them they would have tried to turn it around on me and claim that I was the one being inappropriate.


What is interesting is that you are skeptical in some contexts (i.e. to claims of sexual harassment) but are not skeptical about your own ability to predict exactly what someone would do in a hypothetical situation. Indeed, you have "no doubt" about what they would do.

Your selective skepticism is nothing less than proof of your sexism. A rational and principled skeptic would recognize uncertainty when claims of sexual harassment are made and uncertainty concerning how someone will react in a hypothetical situation that never came about. You are being inconsistent, and the best explanation for that inconsistency is sexism.
7.26.2007 12:05pm
theobromophile (www):

they likely would have turned around and made a false accusation about if I had reported them or they had been exposed.

(Emphasis mine).

Babe... I want your Magic 8 ball. Do you have any idea how much that thing would go for during bar exam time?
7.26.2007 5:26pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Mr. Impressive-

What is interesting is that you are skeptical in some contexts (i.e. to claims of sexual harassment) but are not skeptical about your own ability to predict exactly what someone would do in a hypothetical situation. Indeed, you have "no doubt" about what they would do.

Actually, if you read my subsequent posts it is very likely that they did "turn it around" and make false claims about me because the partner I worked for was babbling something about using the firm "as a single's bar" later in the summer, which I didn't do.

But I should have been more precise with my language, I should have said something like "in many cases I have no doubt they would turn this around on the actual victim and make false claims about them".

Your selective skepticism is nothing less than proof of your sexism. A rational and principled skeptic would recognize uncertainty when claims of sexual harassment are made and uncertainty concerning how someone will react in a hypothetical situation that never came about. You are being inconsistent, and the best explanation for that inconsistency is sexism.

Talk about selective skepticism. First, if you read my comments you will note that there is a good chance that what I mentioned did come about. Second, my comments show that I was advocating skepticism all around - that some individuals on this board were automatically assuming that males accused of sexism or racism were guilty, when firms and groups within firms sometimes have very strong interests in making false sexism, racism, and other claims, especially when they have incurred liability for something they have done.

I am very committed to the principle of gender equity. (Note that is gender equity, not the gender supremacy or gender centrism that many current "feminists", including some male "feminists", promote.) Because of this I find your accusation of "sexism" obnoxious, insulting, ignorant, and cowardly.
7.27.2007 9:04am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
theobromophile-

Babe... I want your Magic 8 ball. Do you have any idea how much that thing would go for during bar exam time?

Thanks sweetie.(I hope you're female - I'm only using the familiar term in response to your sarcastic usage.) If you read my subsequent posts you'd realize that there was a good chance that is what did happen. As I understand it, there are many things that effect bar outcomes besides Magic 8 balls, a lot like other legal proceedings.
7.27.2007 9:12am