8 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – LawFuel.com’s lead story from the NY Lawyer concerns Holland & Knight’s recent announcement that a partner accused by nine female lawyers of sexual harassment was stepping down from a top position. This holds lessons for other law firms, experts on workplace issues say.
In March, New York-based managing partner Howell Melton announced that Douglas A. Wright, 44, a tax lawyer, had been promoted to chief operating partner of the 1,250-lawyer Tampa, Fla.-based firm. The position included supervisory responsibility for the firm’s business operations, including the human resources department.
But sources within the firm quickly leaked documents about a confidential internal investigation, which led to a series of articles in the St. Petersburg Times and other newspapers. The firm initially blasted the leak, saying it “recklessly and unfairly impugns the reputation of one of the firm’s finest partners,” but it announced shortly afterward that Wright had elected to return to his old job.
It turned out that nine female lawyers at Holland & Knight’s Tampa office last year accused Wright, a former nose guard for the University of Florida football team, of sexually harassing them.