Debevoise

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Mokosc

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:12 am

nixy wrote:
And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious

And what do you realistically expect an associate to do? Curious.


I would think an associate could do something crazy like ehm reporting it. I believe most firms have a system in place allowing poeple to anonymously report discrimination allegations. So sharing your thoughts about an issue you couldve helped address light years ago just makes you look like part of the problem

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Re: Debevoise

Postby nixy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:17 am

Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Belkin0238 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:27 am

Goran wrote:
Mokosc wrote:Not calling you out for exposing the firm, just saying be careful of being identified since you are still just an upstart in this field. They will try to Id you. You are not the first to make this claim about Debevoise. With what I know about the place I honestly wouldnt go there if I was African American. Stellar firm with great reput. but not a place for certain lawyers. They are known for demoralizing African American associates by not giving them substantive work as they become more senior. Youll be doing doc review and diligence as a 6th year while your white colleagues are running trials and deals. Its just how it is. They have no desire to change the model and it has worked well for them. Look out for yourself and dont try to change the culture of a 100 year old firm. I would shoot for 3L OCI or go back there and give it a decent chance but send applications the moment you see openings somewhere else. The exit options and the Debevoise name on your resume is helpful so it can still work out. Goodluck.


I don't think this is accurate across the board. But it shouldn't be hard for Debevoise to determine if it has a general problem of giving out work. Take a snapshot of the work given to your black associates in comparison to the work of white associates from the same year. How does it match up? If it "pales" in comparison then you have a problem there.


Associate dissatisfaction usually revolves around the work (either too much, too little, not good enough, or too plain jane). Workplace discrimination in most of its ugly form also generally has a relationship to the work given. The smoking gun is the work. I would put down $20 that even today the work given to Debevoise black associates is no where as good as that given to white associates. Its the only systematic and logical way to keep them from moving up. You can't say their too dumb, most of these associates are among the best in the country. But you can "subtly" deny them opportunities for growth that will also make them formidable when promotions come around. And most wont get clued of how much time they've lost in the rat race until around 6th or 7th year when its too late.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:29 am

nixy wrote:Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.


No, it usually goes something like this -> Anonymous report -> follow up if nothing gets done -> threat to go public if it isnt addressed.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:32 am

Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:
And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious

And what do you realistically expect an associate to do? Curious.


I would think an associate could do something crazy like ehm reporting it. I believe most firms have a system in place allowing poeple to anonymously report discrimination allegations. So sharing your thoughts about an issue you couldve helped address light years ago just makes you look like part of the problem


Have you ever even been in a law firm? You’re so naive and judgmental at the same time.

What makes you think this was never reported within the firm? How would you even know? Because it hasn’t changed? Think about it.

If OP and others want to make an issue about law firm institutional discrimination, there are other more effective means than posting a self-identifying thread on a tiny law school forum.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:33 am

Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.


No, it usually goes something like this -> Anonymous report -> follow up if nothing gets done -> threat to go public if it isnt addressed.

You’re really good at telling other people what to do and risking their futures. What are you doing about this problem that bothers you so much?

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:51 am

Npret wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:
And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious

And what do you realistically expect an associate to do? Curious.


I would think an associate could do something crazy like ehm reporting it. I believe most firms have a system in place allowing poeple to anonymously report discrimination allegations. So sharing your thoughts about an issue you couldve helped address light years ago just makes you look like part of the problem


Have you ever even been in a law firm? You’re so naive and judgmental at the same time.

What makes you think this was never reported within the firm? How would you even know? Because it hasn’t changed? Think about it.

If OP and others want to make an issue about law firm institutional discrimination, there are other more effective means than posting a self-identifying thread on a tiny law school forum.


And you weren't being judgmental by asking OP to delete the thread? I am just saying that if the former Debevoise associate who saw all these issues there didn't report it then it kind of makes them part of the problem. How is that judgmental? Why dont you let the poster tell us if they actually reported it. :roll: :roll:

And by the way not only have I been at a law firm I've litigated cases opposite Debevoise. Its a great shop but I also wrote at the beginning of this thread that I wouldnt work there if I was a black associate. I remember one case that dragged on for a while where one of the Debevoise leads was a black associate. Clearly smart and a pleasure to deal with. We directed most questions to her because the white partner was clearly too busy to maintain control of the case. What was off about the whole structure was that the partner left her off most emails and it felt like we were the ones actually providing her with updates about her own case. Discrimination? Not on the face of those facts. There could be various reasons, for example, maybe the partner wanted to take on more of the lead role. Except that was clearly not the case since the partner was too busy. And I also personally knew it not to be the case, because the partner did not handle case 2, another case we litigated but different team, in the same way. A white associate led a separate team on case 2 with this same partner. The white associate was on all emails and our principal contact at Debevoise until settlement. White associate was also junior (maybe by a year or two) to black associate. So why the different treatment of the black associate? I dont know. And not my problem. But if someone at Debevoise saw this clear difference in treatment, they shouldve reported it. I'll tell you this much, about a year after case 1 ended, an issue came up and I reached back out to the black associate. I got an email bounce back. She had already left the firm. That kind of associate would've been made partner at my firm. Does it mean she got pushed out? Nope. But looking back at how the partner handled case 1 v case 2, if the black associate was mindful of this, she probably saw it in her best interest to leave Debevoise. But if she didnt report it, she also allowed this to continue.
Last edited by Mokosc on Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:54 am

Npret wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.


No, it usually goes something like this -> Anonymous report -> follow up if nothing gets done -> threat to go public if it isnt addressed.

You’re really good at telling other people what to do and risking their futures. What are you doing about this problem that bothers you so much?


Who said it bothered me? I don't give two$hits how this plays out. I just think the best way is to start by reporting it internally and not risking your career. OP didn't do that and wrote clearly that he didnt want the thread deleted. That means OP assumed the risk so it looked like you and Uncle Rico were doing Debevoise's bidding by still trying to get OP to delete the thread.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby nixy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:05 am

Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.


No, it usually goes something like this -> Anonymous report -> follow up if nothing gets done -> threat to go public if it isnt addressed.

Um, you get why someone might not feel comfortable doing that?

And again, pointing out the risks to tackling this Minsk’s issue as an individual isn’t the same as trying to protect Debevoise. Put on your own oxygen mask first etc.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby ElieNYC » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:54 am

Lukash, I'm a minority and a Debevoise alumn, albeit from a long time ago. I'd be happy to talk to you about my experiences at the firm. Hit me up at elie@abovethelaw.com

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:03 pm

Mokosc wrote:
Npret wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
nixy wrote:Oh honey. Do you think anonymous reports are actually going to change entrenched institutional culture? Do you think they’re really anonymous?

Don’t get me wrong - if someone does report that’s great and more power to them. I’m not going to blame someone for the culture of a place if they don’t though.


No, it usually goes something like this -> Anonymous report -> follow up if nothing gets done -> threat to go public if it isnt addressed.

You’re really good at telling other people what to do and risking their futures. What are you doing about this problem that bothers you so much?


Who said it bothered me? I don't give two$hits how this plays out. I just think the best way is to start by reporting it internally and not risking your career. OP didn't do that and wrote clearly that he didnt want the thread deleted. That means OP assumed the risk so it looked like you and Uncle Rico were doing Debevoise's bidding by still trying to get OP to delete the thread.

You don’t care how it plays out? Right.
You have no history with this forum advising people to delete threads, which happens when people self-identify, so you can’t accurately judge anyone’s intentions. I still think OP has made a mistake but it’s past rectifying.
No one told OP to not post concerns about racism at deboviose, just to try to use better judgment.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby minnbills » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:03 pm


Npret

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:04 pm

minnbills wrote:https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/biglaw-black-list/


OP got attention to the story with every detail about him or her as part of it. Do people now understand about the risks of posting personally identifiable information?

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Re: Debevoise

Postby JusticeJackson » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:54 pm

I just want to say that I’m super impressed by OP. This took serious guts. Even if OP is not 100% right on his/her conclusion, I think the conclusion is totally warranted and the firm should be explaining. Who was this dumb ass person that made the spreadsheet and what had he/she observed at the firm that made him/her think that black people wouldn’t last there? If OP were at my firm I’d be bending over backwards to get someone with this courage on my cases. (And for what it’s worth, I’m a white republican male, so I presume my friends on the other side of the aisle should be at least as impressed).

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:01 am

Npret wrote:
minnbills wrote:https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/biglaw-black-list/


OP got attention to the story with every detail about him or her as part of it. Do people now understand about the risks of posting personally identifiable information?


I didn't see any part of that article that identified OP. The article appears to be based on Debevoise/Blair's account of what happened here. Even assuming that's accurate, that meand Debevoise knew about this in 2017. What happened to the person that created the list? Are they still employed at the firm? What was the repercussion?

Kudos to ATL for running with the story (didnt think they had it in them) but they might have taken a light hand on Debevoise here. I think there's certainly more to this story. If black associates knew about this list and one of them shared it with OP, why didn't they publicize it? It took a summer associate to break this wide open. Goes to my earlier post of not solving the issues if you keep it to yourselves.

If Biglaw's Racial MeToo is finally here, it looks like it's going to start with Debevoise.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:38 am

Mokosc wrote:
Npret wrote:
minnbills wrote:https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/biglaw-black-list/


OP got attention to the story with every detail about him or her as part of it. Do people now understand about the risks of posting personally identifiable information?


I didn't see any part of that article that identified OP. The article appears to be based on Debevoise/Blair's account of what happened here. Even assuming that's accurate, that meand Debevoise knew about this in 2017. What happened to the person that created the list? Are they still employed at the firm? What was the repercussion?

Kudos to ATL for running with the story (didnt think they had it in them) but they might have taken a light hand on Debevoise here. I think there's certainly more to this story. If black associates knew about this list and one of them shared it with OP, why didn't they publicize it? It took a summer associate to break this wide open. Goes to my earlier post of not solving the issues if you keep it to yourselves.

If Biglaw's Racial MeToo is finally here, it looks like it's going to start with Debevoise.

OP can easily be identified from their post. That’s been my point this entire thread.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Belkin0238 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:31 am

Npret wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
Npret wrote:
minnbills wrote:https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/biglaw-black-list/


OP got attention to the story with every detail about him or her as part of it. Do people now understand about the risks of posting personally identifiable information?


I didn't see any part of that article that identified OP. The article appears to be based on Debevoise/Blair's account of what happened here. Even assuming that's accurate, that meand Debevoise knew about this in 2017. What happened to the person that created the list? Are they still employed at the firm? What was the repercussion?

Kudos to ATL for running with the story (didnt think they had it in them) but they might have taken a light hand on Debevoise here. I think there's certainly more to this story. If black associates knew about this list and one of them shared it with OP, why didn't they publicize it? It took a summer associate to break this wide open. Goes to my earlier post of not solving the issues if you keep it to yourselves.

If Biglaw's Racial MeToo is finally here, it looks like it's going to start with Debevoise.

OP can easily be identified from their post. That’s been my point this entire thread.


Was "OP" identified?

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Belkin0238 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:14 am

Mokosc wrote:
Belkin0238 wrote:
I had to create an account just to say I'm a former Debevoise associate and this post really hit home. Do you have any idea how many promising black litigators were discriminated against during the Mary Jo White era? Great black lawyers were forced out of the firm because of bigot partners, many of whom are still at Debevoise. And no, I am not saying Mary Jo had anything to do with it. But it happened while she was our head. Also not going to name those partners responsible but they know who they are and they should be afraid that this day has finally arrived. White's SEC deputy Andrew Ceresney, who was also at Debevoise when I was there, is now head of Debevoise's lit group. Good luck changing that model under that guy. No issues with Andrew but he's blind to all of this. Just like Michael Blair, the firm's Managing Partner. Blair is actually a good guy. I too asked around and found out about what transpired at Debevoise yesterday. Michael means well but I dont think he fully understood the gravity of him getting before an entire summer associate class to acknowledge what transpired. Many would think, maybe rightfully so, that it was an effort to identify OP. But I think it was just damage-control but it was short sighted. A Managing Partner acknowledging that these allegations are true and promising that it wont happen again is not only damaging but leaves the firm open to liability. But its a catch 22 of sorts because how else will you salvage a summer class thats wondering if they should accept their offers to come back? There are some hardcore racist partners at Debevoise. I can rattle off a few names, at least on the litigation side, but I wont. You cant fix all of this unless you're ready to deal squarely with those partners.

And like the poster above said, Debevoise is not the only firm with these issues. But it might be the first to have to deal with it directly and honestly because the cat is out of the bag. People, clients, potential and current associates now know that this is going on.


And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious


What did you expect me, alone, to do? As an associate you lack the actual proof to make something of it but you have a good idea behind why certain things happen. Many associates aren't even truthful about being pushed out until it has happened and they are secure in another position somewhere else. Complaints from one current associate will not change things. You will be ostracized, given even less work, and shunned until you finally decide to pick up your things and leave. I saw enough dissatisfied associates who spoke out for various reasons get the cold shoulder, only for the same treatment to continue. Leaving Debevoise on good terms is not the same as leaving on a bad one. If you leave on good terms the firm will support you and you will be able to tap into resources and even more, their powerful alumni network. If you leave on bad terms you're effectively cut off from all of that. Having the Debevoise name on your resume now becomes a burden because you don't want anyone going back to ask Debevoise for a reference or to say "so and so is looking to transition here and we saw they worked for you a few years back". It could torpedo your chances and your career. We have lives, family obligations, and even debt. No one came to Debevoise trying to become the crusader so its really tough to speak up. Much cleaner to just leave them to their ways and you hope one day there is a slip-up that will call attention to it. That day seems to be here.

I said a huge part of the problem are the partners. Let me connect that to what someone else posted. A huge part of the problem are the racist/biased partners, and we're really talking about a handful of people here, many that are still at Debevoise and are incredibly skilled at keeping this whole cycle of hate going just so they can dictate what the partnership looks like. I also agree with the poster who mentioned that. And dont get me wrong, many of these partners do have their minions within the senior associate ranks who effectively sell their souls and terrorize black associates in hopes of one day becoming partner themselves.

Many black associates talk among themselves and news is passed down through class years of who the problem partners are so black associates can avoid them. But you have only so much control over the work and teams you're placed on so it doesn't mean you will actually be able to avoid a problem partner. So some do eventually end up in the cross hairs of these problem partners and what do you think happens? Yes, they are mistreated, demoralized (as the ATL article referenced), and the front door is opened for them to either leave on their own free will with a smile (which lets them tap into the Debevoise network) or be asked to leave and cut off from Debevoise. Associates should not be burdened with choosing between staying quiet in a racist environment and burying their careers if they speak up. Debevoise as an institution needs to address this squarely and honestly.

And let's be clear about something: It is NOT at all hard for Debevoise to find the problem partners. In fact, Debevoise should already know who the problem partners are. If upward reviews and multiple surveys didn't tease this out for you, then how about asking your associates about their treatment. Ask your staff about their treatment. If there is a platform to speak honestly, without recourse, many people will speak up. And even better, look at the track record of the partners. You have partners who are KNOWN for mistreating black lawyers at your firm. Debevoise's leadership has a duty to address this. But Debevoise's profits and their money has been of main concern here all along. A rainmaker problem partner is not going to be told to scale back the racism or even asked to leave the partnership just because they oppress black associates. That much has been clear. Which is what makes OP's post, the ATL article, and all the latest attention so very important. These forums and news sources will carry this affair to Debevoise clients, who can in turn force the needed change. It needs to be done.

For any Debevoise associate seeing this, I am so sorry that you are going through this. There are clearly issues at the firm and we hope they address it honestly and fairly. Those of us who have left the firm stand with you and some of us have had discussions about the impact we can have, even from the outside, on what is going on in order to make sure there is an honest accounting for what has happened.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Belkin0238 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:21 am

JusticeJackson wrote:I just want to say that I’m super impressed by OP. This took serious guts. Even if OP is not 100% right on his/her conclusion, I think the conclusion is totally warranted and the firm should be explaining. Who was this dumb ass person that made the spreadsheet and what had he/she observed at the firm that made him/her think that black people wouldn’t last there? If OP were at my firm I’d be bending over backwards to get someone with this courage on my cases. (And for what it’s worth, I’m a white republican male, so I presume my friends on the other side of the aisle should be at least as impressed).


And as someone already asked, if this list did not carry the firm's imprimatur, what happened to this "one" person that created the list? Is it even believable that one person would have all this information and know where an associate stands in terms of promotion/departure if the partnership didn't relay this information? I found Micheal Blair's explanation raising more questions than answers.

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Re: Debevoise

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:49 am

Belkin0238 wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
Belkin0238 wrote:
I had to create an account just to say I'm a former Debevoise associate and this post really hit home. Do you have any idea how many promising black litigators were discriminated against during the Mary Jo White era? Great black lawyers were forced out of the firm because of bigot partners, many of whom are still at Debevoise. And no, I am not saying Mary Jo had anything to do with it. But it happened while she was our head. Also not going to name those partners responsible but they know who they are and they should be afraid that this day has finally arrived. White's SEC deputy Andrew Ceresney, who was also at Debevoise when I was there, is now head of Debevoise's lit group. Good luck changing that model under that guy. No issues with Andrew but he's blind to all of this. Just like Michael Blair, the firm's Managing Partner. Blair is actually a good guy. I too asked around and found out about what transpired at Debevoise yesterday. Michael means well but I dont think he fully understood the gravity of him getting before an entire summer associate class to acknowledge what transpired. Many would think, maybe rightfully so, that it was an effort to identify OP. But I think it was just damage-control but it was short sighted. A Managing Partner acknowledging that these allegations are true and promising that it wont happen again is not only damaging but leaves the firm open to liability. But its a catch 22 of sorts because how else will you salvage a summer class thats wondering if they should accept their offers to come back? There are some hardcore racist partners at Debevoise. I can rattle off a few names, at least on the litigation side, but I wont. You cant fix all of this unless you're ready to deal squarely with those partners.

And like the poster above said, Debevoise is not the only firm with these issues. But it might be the first to have to deal with it directly and honestly because the cat is out of the bag. People, clients, potential and current associates now know that this is going on.


And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious


What did you expect me, alone, to do? As an associate you lack the actual proof to make something of it but you have a good idea behind why certain things happen. Many associates aren't even truthful about being pushed out until it has happened and they are secure in another position somewhere else. Complaints from one current associate will not change things. You will be ostracized, given even less work, and shunned until you finally decide to pick up your things and leave. I saw enough dissatisfied associates who spoke out for various reasons get the cold shoulder, only for the same treatment to continue. Leaving Debevoise on good terms is not the same as leaving on a bad one. If you leave on good terms the firm will support you and you will be able to tap into resources and even more, their powerful alumni network. If you leave on bad terms you're effectively cut off from all of that. Having the Debevoise name on your resume now becomes a burden because you don't want anyone going back to ask Debevoise for a reference or to say "so and so is looking to transition here and we saw they worked for you a few years back". It could torpedo your chances and your career. We have lives, family obligations, and even debt. No one came to Debevoise trying to become the crusader so its really tough to speak up. Much cleaner to just leave them to their ways and you hope one day there is a slip-up that will call attention to it. That day seems to be here.

I said a huge part of the problem are the partners. Let me connect that to what someone else posted. A huge part of the problem are the racist/biased partners, and we're really talking about a handful of people here, many that are still at Debevoise and are incredibly skilled at keeping this whole cycle of hate going just so they can dictate what the partnership looks like. I also agree with the poster who mentioned that. And dont get me wrong, many of these partners do have their minions within the senior associate ranks who effectively sell their souls and terrorize black associates in hopes of one day becoming partner themselves.

Many black associates talk among themselves and news is passed down through class years of who the problem partners are so black associates can avoid them. But you have only so much control over the work and teams you're placed on so it doesn't mean you will actually be able to avoid a problem partner. So some do eventually end up in the cross hairs of these problem partners and what do you think happens? Yes, they are mistreated, demoralized (as the ATL article referenced), and the front door is opened for them to either leave on their own free will with a smile (which lets them tap into the Debevoise network) or be asked to leave and cut off from Debevoise. Associates should not be burdened with choosing between staying quiet in a racist environment and burying their careers if they speak up. Debevoise as an institution needs to address this squarely and honestly.

And let's be clear about something: It is NOT at all hard for Debevoise to find the problem partners. In fact, Debevoise should already know who the problem partners are. If upward reviews and multiple surveys didn't tease this out for you, then how about asking your associates about their treatment. Ask your staff about their treatment. If there is a platform to speak honestly, without recourse, many people will speak up. And even better, look at the track record of the partners. You have partners who are KNOWN for mistreating black lawyers at your firm. Debevoise's leadership has a duty to address this. But Debevoise's profits and their money has been of main concern here all along. A rainmaker problem partner is not going to be told to scale back the racism or even asked to leave the partnership just because they oppress black associates. That much has been clear. Which is what makes OP's post, the ATL article, and all the latest attention so very important. These forums and news sources will carry this affair to Debevoise clients, who can in turn force the needed change. It needs to be done.

For any Debevoise associate seeing this, I am so sorry that you are going through this. There are clearly issues at the firm and we hope they address it honestly and fairly. Those of us who have left the firm stand with you and some of us have had discussions about the impact we can have, even from the outside, on what is going on in order to make sure there is an honest accounting for what has happened.


Im not confident it would work, but maybe consider an anonymous email to HR and head partners naming names of these bad partners. Since you’re gone and the email would be anonymous and the firm at least appears to be trying to change, maybe that would have a positive result at this point. Obviously your call.

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Mokosc

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Mokosc » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:00 am

JusticeJackson wrote:
Belkin0238 wrote:
Mokosc wrote:
Belkin0238 wrote:
I had to create an account just to say I'm a former Debevoise associate and this post really hit home. Do you have any idea how many promising black litigators were discriminated against during the Mary Jo White era? Great black lawyers were forced out of the firm because of bigot partners, many of whom are still at Debevoise. And no, I am not saying Mary Jo had anything to do with it. But it happened while she was our head. Also not going to name those partners responsible but they know who they are and they should be afraid that this day has finally arrived. White's SEC deputy Andrew Ceresney, who was also at Debevoise when I was there, is now head of Debevoise's lit group. Good luck changing that model under that guy. No issues with Andrew but he's blind to all of this. Just like Michael Blair, the firm's Managing Partner. Blair is actually a good guy. I too asked around and found out about what transpired at Debevoise yesterday. Michael means well but I dont think he fully understood the gravity of him getting before an entire summer associate class to acknowledge what transpired. Many would think, maybe rightfully so, that it was an effort to identify OP. But I think it was just damage-control but it was short sighted. A Managing Partner acknowledging that these allegations are true and promising that it wont happen again is not only damaging but leaves the firm open to liability. But its a catch 22 of sorts because how else will you salvage a summer class thats wondering if they should accept their offers to come back? There are some hardcore racist partners at Debevoise. I can rattle off a few names, at least on the litigation side, but I wont. You cant fix all of this unless you're ready to deal squarely with those partners.

And like the poster above said, Debevoise is not the only firm with these issues. But it might be the first to have to deal with it directly and honestly because the cat is out of the bag. People, clients, potential and current associates now know that this is going on.


And what did you do to address the problem while you were there? Curious


What did you expect me, alone, to do? As an associate you lack the actual proof to make something of it but you have a good idea behind why certain things happen. Many associates aren't even truthful about being pushed out until it has happened and they are secure in another position somewhere else. Complaints from one current associate will not change things. You will be ostracized, given even less work, and shunned until you finally decide to pick up your things and leave. I saw enough dissatisfied associates who spoke out for various reasons get the cold shoulder, only for the same treatment to continue. Leaving Debevoise on good terms is not the same as leaving on a bad one. If you leave on good terms the firm will support you and you will be able to tap into resources and even more, their powerful alumni network. If you leave on bad terms you're effectively cut off from all of that. Having the Debevoise name on your resume now becomes a burden because you don't want anyone going back to ask Debevoise for a reference or to say "so and so is looking to transition here and we saw they worked for you a few years back". It could torpedo your chances and your career. We have lives, family obligations, and even debt. No one came to Debevoise trying to become the crusader so its really tough to speak up. Much cleaner to just leave them to their ways and you hope one day there is a slip-up that will call attention to it. That day seems to be here.

I said a huge part of the problem are the partners. Let me connect that to what someone else posted. A huge part of the problem are the racist/biased partners, and we're really talking about a handful of people here, many that are still at Debevoise and are incredibly skilled at keeping this whole cycle of hate going just so they can dictate what the partnership looks like. I also agree with the poster who mentioned that. And dont get me wrong, many of these partners do have their minions within the senior associate ranks who effectively sell their souls and terrorize black associates in hopes of one day becoming partner themselves.

Many black associates talk among themselves and news is passed down through class years of who the problem partners are so black associates can avoid them. But you have only so much control over the work and teams you're placed on so it doesn't mean you will actually be able to avoid a problem partner. So some do eventually end up in the cross hairs of these problem partners and what do you think happens? Yes, they are mistreated, demoralized (as the ATL article referenced), and the front door is opened for them to either leave on their own free will with a smile (which lets them tap into the Debevoise network) or be asked to leave and cut off from Debevoise. Associates should not be burdened with choosing between staying quiet in a racist environment and burying their careers if they speak up. Debevoise as an institution needs to address this squarely and honestly.

And let's be clear about something: It is NOT at all hard for Debevoise to find the problem partners. In fact, Debevoise should already know who the problem partners are. If upward reviews and multiple surveys didn't tease this out for you, then how about asking your associates about their treatment. Ask your staff about their treatment. If there is a platform to speak honestly, without recourse, many people will speak up. And even better, look at the track record of the partners. You have partners who are KNOWN for mistreating black lawyers at your firm. Debevoise's leadership has a duty to address this. But Debevoise's profits and their money has been of main concern here all along. A rainmaker problem partner is not going to be told to scale back the racism or even asked to leave the partnership just because they oppress black associates. That much has been clear. Which is what makes OP's post, the ATL article, and all the latest attention so very important. These forums and news sources will carry this affair to Debevoise clients, who can in turn force the needed change. It needs to be done.

For any Debevoise associate seeing this, I am so sorry that you are going through this. There are clearly issues at the firm and we hope they address it honestly and fairly. Those of us who have left the firm stand with you and some of us have had discussions about the impact we can have, even from the outside, on what is going on in order to make sure there is an honest accounting for what has happened.


Im not confident it would work, but maybe consider an anonymous email to HR and head partners naming names of these bad partners. Since you’re gone and the email would be anonymous and the firm at least appears to be trying to change, maybe that would have a positive result at this point. Obviously your call.


Good advice, Judge. I would drop a dime on all those partners. It shouldnt be hard to prove since substantiation would require looking not only at their general reputation but also the work they've given black lawyers, reviews they've given, and maybe even the personal accounts of those lawyers and staff members. Classic MeToo investigation type stuff.

This whole $hit affects Debevoise's bottom line. I can't see them shielding "problem partners" if the blow back of not addressing could tank the whole place.

thisisvridic

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Re: Debevoise

Postby thisisvridic » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:23 am

I made an account because I was absolutely appalled at people's reactions to OP on this forum as well as the ATL article and their near dismissal of the problem. Many claim that racism doesn't exist today, but the very responses here display that it does and with full force. OP, a young black person noted a systemic problem at a big law firm. Multiple others chimed in saying they saw those problems at their time at Debevoise. The responses should have praised, comforted, and thanked OP. Now minorities have more information to make informed decision on what culture is best for them. Where will value them as a person, give them work, and not let their skin color impact their success from the start. Instead responses are along the lines of "OP you are crazy for outing yourself. Delete immediately." This gives the impression that calling out racism is not something we should be doing. That OP should be ashamed for pointing out this problem. That they're crazy. Not that addressing the environment can be good for everyone and actually bring about change. And while I think the black list is terrible, examples of black associates getting "worse" work than their white counterparts are just as harrowing. It's not just the list. It's the culture. We all should be aware of this. I respect you OP. I think you are very smart, and I thank you for posting this.

Now the ATL post was good in that it at least acknowledged the issue, but the outright dismissal of OP's claims and the cult-like adherence to Debevoise leadership's justifications are insane. This is terrible journalism. Anecdotal justifications like "that just doesn’t pass the smell test of something a major law firm would do in 2018" dismisses the problem. We live in the Trump era. The era where the KKK is on the rise. These things do exist. This thinking is popular. It does pass the smell test. Moreover, painting Debevoise to be the victim saying they have been "[demoralized]" because "there’s a perception in the legal community that Debevoise is doing a good job" paints a firm that is clearly and admittedly in the wrong the victim. The victims to ATL aren't the black persons affected by Debevoise's perhaps racism, but the firm itself.

I am honestly shocked. I thought we were better than this.

nixy

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Re: Debevoise

Postby nixy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:49 am

I think the only reason people are suggesting that calling out racism isn’t something we should be doing is out of self-preservation. No one’s suggesting that the behavior/practices should get a pass, but just that people should consider their long-term future in the profession. Because there isn’t a lot of confidence that this kind of information is going to hurt Debevoise more than revealing it can hurt a given associate.

Now, reasonable minds can obviously differ on this issue, and I absolutely support anyone who does want to speak up. But I don’t think the comments to delete had anything to do with shaming the OP - they were intended only as protection. These boards are public and if someone posted here in an effort to inform without going public, it’s worth letting them know that posting here can be risky if you want to stay anonymous.

Again, totally get if you disagree with that, but I don’t get the idea that warning the OP they could be identified by what they wrote here and suggesting that would hurt their career is shaming them. It’s an indictment of what the legal profession is like, that enough people believe it would still tank an associate’s career to be known to have posted this.

(I completely agree about the ATL article.)

Dahl

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Dahl » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:59 am

thisisvridic wrote:Now the ATL post was good in that it at least acknowledged the issue, but the outright dismissal of OP's claims and the cult-like adherence to Debevoise leadership's justifications are insane. This is terrible journalism. Anecdotal justifications like "that just doesn’t pass the smell test of something a major law firm would do in 2018" dismisses the problem. We live in the Trump era. The era where the KKK is on the rise. These things do exist. This thinking is popular. It does pass the smell test. Moreover, painting Debevoise to be the victim saying they have been "[demoralized]" because "there’s a perception in the legal community that Debevoise is doing a good job" paints a firm that is clearly and admittedly in the wrong the victim. The victims to ATL aren't the black persons affected by Debevoise's perhaps racism, but the firm itself.

I am honestly shocked. I thought we were better than this.


Absolutely agree with this. Honestly, Elie isn't a journalist, which is part of the problem. If he was, he would have had someone else write that article, someone without the obvious bias. Admitting to a bias and then writing an article that is completely biased shows a lack of journalistic integrity.

And he disbelieves the claim because it's too overt and no one would be that dumb? He must not have spent much time in big law. People in power, who don't fear losing that power, do whatever they want. I feel very bad for OP who risked a lot to take this stand, only to have his claims disvalued because Elie blindly accepts Debevoise's denial.

Npret

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Re: Debevoise

Postby Npret » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:44 am

thisisvridic wrote:I made an account because I was absolutely appalled at people's reactions to OP on this forum as well as the ATL article and their near dismissal of the problem. Many claim that racism doesn't exist today, but the very responses here display that it does and with full force. OP, a young black person noted a systemic problem at a big law firm. Multiple others chimed in saying they saw those problems at their time at Debevoise. The responses should have praised, comforted, and thanked OP. Now minorities have more information to make informed decision on what culture is best for them. Where will value them as a person, give them work, and not let their skin color impact their success from the start. Instead responses are along the lines of "OP you are crazy for outing yourself. Delete immediately." This gives the impression that calling out racism is not something we should be doing. That OP should be ashamed for pointing out this problem. That they're crazy. Not that addressing the environment can be good for everyone and actually bring about change. And while I think the black list is terrible, examples of black associates getting "worse" work than their white counterparts are just as harrowing. It's not just the list. It's the culture. We all should be aware of this. I respect you OP. I think you are very smart, and I thank you for posting this.

Now the ATL post was good in that it at least acknowledged the issue, but the outright dismissal of OP's claims and the cult-like adherence to Debevoise leadership's justifications are insane. This is terrible journalism. Anecdotal justifications like "that just doesn’t pass the smell test of something a major law firm would do in 2018" dismisses the problem. We live in the Trump era. The era where the KKK is on the rise. These things do exist. This thinking is popular. It does pass the smell test. Moreover, painting Debevoise to be the victim saying they have been "[demoralized]" because "there’s a perception in the legal community that Debevoise is doing a good job" paints a firm that is clearly and admittedly in the wrong the victim. The victims to ATL aren't the black persons affected by Debevoise's perhaps racism, but the firm itself.

I am honestly shocked. I thought we were better than this.

Be appalled all you want. I’ve said repeatedly that people are warned not to post identifying information in just about every context on this forum. There is good reason for those warnings if only for privacy.

Off the top of my head I recall a person outed at Chicago and hounded off the forums regarding clerkship stuff, a wife identifying the firm that fired her husband, a laid off associate posting here and facing repercussions because they signed an agreement not to say anything, people asking for scholarship and application advice being identified in one google search, and, many posters being identified by admins, when they have posted their intentions of scholarship negotiations, intent to enroll etc. oh, also no offered people have been identified.


Most people take the advice and remove the info and ask the question in a different way.

Now OP is part of an ATL article discussing and judging their actions and completely undermining OPs points. There are other, better ways OP could have handled the issue, but it’s water under the bridge now.



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