Early on the morning of Feb. 13, 28-year-old former Sullivan & Cromwell associate Aaron Charney was not far from the white-shoe conference rooms at the firm’s offices on Broad Street, in the financial district.
But how far he had fallen!
He was consulting with labor lawyers from Alterman & Boop, the scrappy but respected Worth Street firm with the name out of Dickens, where callers get piped Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon while they’re on hold.
The mission was twofold: to keep alive a lawsuit he’d filed against the 128-year-old firm charging he’d been the victim of harassment and retaliation from partners because of his sexual orientation; and to prepare his defense against the countersuit the firm had filed against him. But they amounted to the same task: the salvation of his career. By the end of the day, the firm had filed papers with the court that essentially ensure he’ll never get work in Big Law in this town again.
Mr. Charney had been a star on Jan. 16, when he filed his discrimination suit. A certain Manhattan subculture quickly settled down for a juicy exposé of life inside The Firms. There was plenty of Lifetime Original material in his suit—like his claim that partner Eric Krautheimer once tossed a document at Mr. Charney’s feet and said “bend over and pick it up—I’m sure you like that.” He named names, told stories and basically lit up the increasingly influential legal blogosphere.