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N.Y. law firm learns lesson about legal blogging

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

It’s probably career suicide for lawyers to sue their own firms, but that’s what Aaron Charney did. And now all of cyberspace knows about it.

An associate at Manhattan’s Sullivan & Cromwell, Charney recently filed a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit alleging that co-workers harassed him for over a year because he’s gay. After a legal advocacy group declined to represent him, he had to walk his complaint to the courthouse himself.

Charney was still scanning the papers, having just released the complaint to the press, when the firm’s labor coordinator called to tell him he was on leave. Then his Blackberry went dead.

That’s when Charney went blogging. He posted a comment on a Web site for disgruntled lawyers, setting off an online frenzy of complaints about life at the firm. By the end of the day, the link to Charney’s complaint on the blog site disappeared. In its place appeared this statement from Sullivan & Cromwell: “The post that began this thread has been deleted, consistent with our policy against naming specific firm employees in a manner that may be harmful … .”

But by then, the damage was done.

Tip: Like them or not, blogs are here to stay. Rather than hide from them, perhaps it’s better to embrace them, as Bob Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman, has decided to do. Lutz participates regularly on the company’s FastLane Blog. If you don’t have a blogging policy, meet the challenge head-on by drafting one now.  

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