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Hugh Hefner (We Mean, the Dean) Is Taking a Leave

Vivia Chen

November 7, 2013

Tired of all the serious stuff? Me too. So here's what we've all been waiting for: Gossip and quirky news items.

Playboy_Bunnies_20111. Hey, it's hard running a law school and the Playboy Mansion at the same time. Another chapter in the sensationalistic lawsuit against Lawrence Michell, the dean of Case Western Reserve Law School. In case you missed it: Raymond Ku, a professor at the school, recently filed suit against Mitchell, claiming that the dean retaliated against him after Ku complained about the dean's sexual shenanigans. Ku's complaint was full of juicy tidbits about Mitchell's private life, including allegations about Mitchell's fondness for threesomes (click here and here for details).

The National Law Journal reports on the latest:

In an email to the faculty and students, Mitchell wrote that the litigation had become a “distraction” to the entire law campus. “In order to allow us to continue the work we have begun without further disruption, I have asked the university to permit me to take a temporary leave of absence,” he wrote.

Let's see how temporary the leave will be.

Update, November 8, 2013, 12:20 p.m.: Mitchell has filed an emergency motion "to remove numerous allegations in the complaint because they go far beyond the scope of the claim of wrongful employment retaliation." (Plain Dealer)

2. Maybe the dean should have followed the Billy Graham Rule. According to the Daily Report, the famous preacher-man always "avoided being alone with any woman other than his wife."

That might sound awfully prudish, but that rule still influences how some male bosses deal with female employees, write the article's authors J. Randolph Evans and Shari Klevens, partners at McKenna Long & Aldridge: 

The application of the Billy Graham Rule has not been limited to Billy Graham. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, some leaders in business across America accepted it as their own standard for interacting with members of the opposite gender in the workplace.

The article doesn't advocate the Billy Graham rule—quite the opposite. The authors says it's basically illegal, as it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules. Still, for those with sticky paws, Graham's rule could be a guidepost.

3. What law firms can learn from Goldman Sachs. You might have happier, more productive lawyers if you adopt Goldman Sachs' pricing scheme in your cafeteria. Reports CNBC:

The cafeteria has a set of timed discounts. If you show up in the cafeteria before 11:30 or after 1:30, you get a 25 percent discount on your food. Goldman incentivizes employees to avoid the rush hour.

And the scheme seems to be appeal to Goldman employees' love for market value and efficiency. "There are some Goldman employees who take pride that they've never eaten lunch inside the 'cost penalty window,' as one trader referred to the two hours when the discount isn't in effect."

4. Only stupid people need to be humble. Research from State University of New York at Buffalo, according to Harvard Business Review blog:

Among students with low mental ability, those who were rated by others as highly humble scored about 9 percent higher on performance measures over a 10-week team task than those who were seen as not humble. Humility’s performance-boosting effect was much less pronounced for highly intelligent people.

The way I read it is that if you're not too sharp, you had better be more agreeable. But if you're smart, you can afford to be a jerk. Guess that finding will give a lot of lawyers, I-bankers and others who tend to score well on standardized tests a rationale to be arrogant. Not that they needed it. 

5. Go ahead—tell the world how much you hate your job! Chances are, you can't get fired for bitching about your boss, co-workers, or whatever irks you about your job on social media. Nor can you be fired for mouthing off your political beliefs. But before you exercise this wonderful right, be sure to check your state law first. (Corporate Counsel)

Photo: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com


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I know two large firm male lawyers who will not be alone with a woman, of any professional stripe, behind an opaque door Conference rooms with glass doors are OK. Out to lunch in public is OK, Their offices with the door open are OK. It may be a bit much, but these lawyers feel protected against possible accusations.

Hhhmmm. This harkens a bit like the "JD Supra" posts about trustworthy (fill in the blank) area of law....thank you, as usual, for a needed "reality check"!

Happy Friday!

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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