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Jones Day's Bad Dad; Tiffany at Harvard Law; Californication

Vivia Chen

December 10, 2016

                          Santa Baby, please get me into Harvard Law!

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I dread reading the news these days. Do we really want to think about the upcoming Trump presidency? Or how Michael Flynn, Trump's pick for national security adviser, has suggested on Twitter that Hillary is part pedophilia ring? (Folks, I can't make that stuff up.) Or that Sarah Palin might be appointed to a high level post?

For our sanity's sake, let's turn to trivial matters. So here's my latest compilation of shallow, gossipy news:

Jones Day lawyer wins naughty dad award. Just in time for Christmas! A Big Law version of Home Alone!

According to New York Post, Locke McMurray, ​a derivative expert who's counsel at Jones Day, left his minor sons (ages 10 and 16) without proper supervision in his New York apartment while he ran off to Paris with his girlfriend for a quickie four day vacation. The problem is that McMurray's ex-wife learned about it from the girlfriend's Facebook page, and is now suing for sole custody of the boys.

The ex-wife, Jennifer McMurray​, told The Post that "she saw social media pics of her former hubby hanging out at Paris tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Montmartre area—and even the Museum of Eroticism."

Besides skipping town while he had custody of the kids, his ex-wife also accused him of stiffing her with $1,600 in medical bills for their 10-year-old. “He’s been refusing to pay for physical therapy. According to our financial agreement he’s 100 percent responsible,” she told The Post. (This might remind some readers of the case of the Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft partner who reportedly refused to pay for his daughter's hearing aid while springing for a $200,000-plus ring for his ex-Playboy model girlfriend. Again, I can't make this stuff up.)

Anyway, we've asked McMurray for comment, but so far, he hasn't replied. 

Is Tiffany headed to Harvard Law School? Our well-connected friends at Above the Law reports that the other Trump daughter—the one who's not Ivanka—was just spotted in the elite corridors of HLS: "Eagle-eyed observers at Harvard inform us that the future First Daughter toured HLS yesterday with a Secret Service detail in tow."

We're curious what's sparking Tiffany's desire to pursue the law when there's a family business waiting for her. Could it be she's inspired by her aunt federal judge Mary Trump Barry? Or is the father of her current beau Ross Mechanic giving her career advice (Jonathan Mechanic is chair of Fried Frank's real estate practice and a muckety-muck in the field).

In any case, I think we should all support a Trump who's not going into the family biz.

Is California ready for a total ban on sex with clients? Who knew that lawyers having sex with clients is such a burning issue? Well, apparently, it is, and California is in a heated debate about the matter.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the American Bar Association advocates a blanket ban on sex with clients, and that as of May 2015, 17 states had adopted it. (The one exception are sexual relationships that preceded the attorney-client relationship.) California, alas, is not on the forefront of this issue.

As it stands now, California lawyers are forbidden from using coercion to pressure client into sexual relationships or demanding sex in exchange for legal representation. Moreover, the rule bans sex if it causes the lawyer to "perform legal services incompetently." Which, I guess means that if you're doing a good job, no one should have any grounds for complaint.

"Supporters of an all-out ban say the relationship between a lawyer and client is inherently unequal, so any sexual relationship is potentially coercive," reports the LA Times. "But some attorneys say it's an unjustified invasion of privacy."

I don't know if California has more problems in this area than other states, though there doesn't seem to be that many reported complaints. (From September 1992 to January 2010, the state bar investigated 205 complaints about sexual misconduct, and imposed discipline in only one case.)

Somehow, banning sex outright between lawyers and clients in California just seems, well, a bit unCalifornian.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

--So you cannot marry a former client? No matter how long ago the attorney-client relationship ended?
--At least you can give your spouse legal advice.
--It seems that the line, "I would love to be your lawyer, but you have to sleep with me first." is the sort of sleaze that the rule is supposed to prevent.
--Of course, past & present divorce or family law clients are off limits, but this looks like overkill.

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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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