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Drunk Partners, Pat Cipollone and Vanna White

Vivia Chen

December 11, 2019


Christmas is in the air—and so is impeachment—so who wants all that serious stuff I’ve been mired in? Who really cares how many diverse partners Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison anointed (or not) this year? Or why David Boies can’t stay out of trouble? Or how it sucks to be a woman in the workforce?

Enough already.

Instead, pour yourself a glass of bubbly (here’s my holiday tip: Prosecco with pomegranate seeds), kick back and read my quickies on the news:

Do not let this Baker McKenzie partner ruin the fun. Speaking of wine and song, did you notice that ex-Baker McKenzie partner Gary Senior is blaming his bad behavior on alcohol?

As you might know, the former head of Baker’s London office is in trouble for allegedly sexually harassing a junior female associate in 2012. Law.com reported that prosecutors accused Senior of “seeking to initiate intimate activity” with an associate over whom he had “authority and responsibility.”

After the incident, Senior apologized to the associate in writing (leave it to the Brits to do a proper apology) that said, “I’m terribly embarrassed, I was drunk and it was a moment of madness.” He added: “One of the reasons I’m a popular managing partner is because I enjoy drinking with others … If I get drunk I get tactile and affectionate but I don’t get unpleasant.” 


Hmm, isn’t being “tactile and affectionate” potentially unpleasant for those on the receiving end?

Anyway, I wish people would stop blaming their behavior on alcohol. You just know this kind of thing will get firms all uptight about liability issues. Already, I’m hearing about how firms are trying to curb alcohol consumption by holding parties earlier during the day or cutting out hard liquor entirely and only serving wine and beer.

Just because some old goats can’t keep their hooves to themselves, why must everyone else suffer? I mean, have you tried enduring a party full of lawyers without getting smashed?

Was he really a Kirkland & Ellis partner once upon a time? I know I should get over my nostalgia for Don McGahn, but current White House Counsel Pat Cipollone keeps pushing me over the edge. Did you see the letter he sent to Jerry Nadler, chair of the House judiciary Committee?

It was short and sweet, only two paragraphs, starting with, “As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.” It then goes on to say that “House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.” 

The pièce de résistance was ending the letter with a quote from President Donald Trump: “If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”

Yeah, make it fast. Get out of the way. Because I’m now a Trump man. And I don’t need to behave like no lawyer.

Is this the type of response Cipollone wrote to opposing counsel when he was at Kirkland? Did he go to an accredited law school?

What female lawyers can learn from Vanna White. For those of us who grew up watching (or not) “Wheel of Fortune,” this is big news. Vanna White is the faithful letter-turner no more. She’s now getting to host the show!

The New York Times reported that, “White, a durable icon of American entertainment but mostly silent during the games, was asked to take the wheel” after longtime host Pat Sajak, 73, was rushed to emergency surgery.

But before everyone gets excited, keep this in mind: She waited 37 years in the sideline. Plus, her gig as host is only temporary—about three weeks—while Sajak recovers.

White also told the Times that she never expected the top job. “I’ve never even thought of that in 37 years, and to be asked almost on the spot, ‘How do you feel about hosting the show?’ Like, what?!”

And will White’s stint open up opportunities for women to act as the lead rather than pretty helpers in the background? The Times’ reporting isn’t optimistic: “Women aren’t heard much at all as game-show hosts. Over the years, only a few have broken through, and often the shows haven’t lasted long.”

All that might strike a chord with women in the legal profession. Work hard, keep quiet and look nice. But rising to the top? Well, good luck with that, honey.

Contact Vivia Chen at vchen@alm.com. On Twitter: @lawcareerist. 


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About The Careerist

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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