Legal Law

Oh, to be a fly on the wall on Jones Day whereas the corporate disagreement grows

Jones Day (Photo by David Lat)

The Jones Day PR machine really has to be in full swing.

Between the New York Times article, the attack ads (plus the promise of more and those following the company’s customer base), the picket lines, and the planned boycotts, they’ve got a lot to do. But so far – at least publicly – the company was determined to defend its representation.

But it should be obvious that not everyone in the company is happy about it. Today Kevyn Orr, partner in charge of Jones Day’s DC office, hosted a staff call to discuss the latest controversy. But apparently the call ended after giving his game without staff registering their opinions. Which upset some people.

Parker Rider-Longmaid, an Issues & Appeals practice associate and former court clerk Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was apparently deeply disappointed with Orr’s decision not to answer questions and to email the entire DC office expressing their displeasure was registered:

Kevyn, I understand that at today’s meeting we would have the opportunity to ask questions or say something. Robin and I had prepared to say something. Now I’m going to share it with all of you this way.

We disagree.

I don’t think the question here is whether the Pennsylvania electoral certificate petition is legal or, instead, frivolous.

I think the question is whether this company should give its prestige and credibility to the project of a government that wants to undermine our democracy and our rule of law.

Don’t make a mistake. This petition was designed to suppress the vote from the start to ensure that fewer voices from our fellow Americans are heard in the midst of a global pandemic like we have never seen in our lives.

And now it is being armed to threaten our generation-long tradition in this country of peaceful and democratic change of power.

I believe our society should strive to become a more just and comprehensive representative democracy. And this petition and the project to which it gives our collective prestige stand firmly in the way of that ideal.

We as lawyers choose our clients and our concerns. We choose what we stand for. And this project shouldn’t be one of those things.

As an American, I am deeply disappointed in this company today. I do not accept what is deeply undemocratic as simply unpopular. We’re better than that. And yesterday shouldn’t be an excuse for tomorrow.

We disagree.

I suspect he’s just ruining taking the company’s generous SCOTUS bonus …

According to the company’s tipsters, Orr reopened the meeting after sending this salvo and had a detailed conversation with employees.

It’s pretty clear that the damage this account does to Jones Day goes deeper than that from the outside. Let’s not forget that Pile On Jones Day started because internal sources on Jones Day spoke to the New York Times about the firm’s involvement in election disputes. So we * know * that there are people in the huge biglaw company who get upset about … everything the company is doing right now. But this is one of the first quasi-public statements (send something to an entire office and it has to go out) anyone at Jones Day made on the subject, and it was made by an employee.

So far, the company’s partners have been noticeably calm, although I suspect they are not so confident behind closed doors. Because if I had an extensive book of business and wearable clients and the firm’s pursuit of right-wing legal theory threatened to trigger this PR nightmare on them, I would think long and hard about how to best serve my own clients.

The company has a lot to explain in expecting all employees to be happy during this chaos.

Kathryn Rubino is Senior Editor at Above the Law and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best so please connect with her. Feel free to email her tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@ Kathryn1).

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