Friday, March 10, 2017

O'Melveny & Myers and mandatory arbitration and nondisclosure agreements

       I write this post for peace of mind, and to do what little I can to create some good in the world.

       On April 30th, 2015, after three years with this firm during which I received nothing but praise from others -- I told Brian Boyle that I did not want to work with someone who had made an anti-Muslim comment. Brian's first response a few days later was to tell me he would terminate me. He then started winding down my work, making it clear that he was serious. I thought this was illegal under employment law, but I accepted it and prepared to move on. Anti-Muslim comments were not that unusual, and I didn't want to waste my time and energy fighting to stay somewhere I wasn't wanted.

       But this changed when I discovered his past. Brian used to be a Guantanamo Bay torture attorney who made statements so cruel they would make Dick Cheney or John Yoo give pause. He also reportedly lied to a federal court. It was no wonder he responded to me as he did. I felt I had to attempt to stand up to him. So I asked for help from the firm's diversity group, reaching out to Leader of Diversity and Inclusion Mary Ellen Connerty and Diversity and Inclusion Partner Walter Dellinger. I provided a detailed chronology of events, and wrote the memo below. O'Melveny always marketed its diversity efforts, its annual "diversity days" and its diversity committees. They would do something about this.

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Date:   July 13, 2015
To:      O'Melveny & Myers LLP [Director of Human Resources Stacie Straw]
Re:      Chair of the Financial Services practice

       Please note that the purpose of this communication is to express a negative statement. Please accept my apologies in advance for this unpleasant letter.

       According to the articles below, in 2004, as lead attorney charged with defending the Guantanamo Bay detentions, Brian Boyle unequivocally told a federal court that there was nothing "remotely like torture" at Guantanamo Bay (It is now publicly acknowledged that there was torture and detainment of people who had no real connection to the war; in fact, the since-repudiated government memos authorizing such torture were written back in 2002.[1]) Brian also told the court that information gained via torture is admissible evidence. Further, he said that any person, with any inadvertent connection to the war, could be captured anywhere in the world and sent to Guantanamo. For example, an “old lady in Switzerland” could be captured and sent to Guantanamo if she donated money to an orphan charity that, unbeknownst to her, turned out to be connected to the Taliban. A teacher in London could be captured and sent to Guantanamo if one of his students turned out to be part of a family that had a connection to the Taliban.

       Brian's statements are not limited to court proceedings; they are his personal views. For example, he spoke in 2005 on The Diane Rehm Show. In this interview, he criticized the Geneva Convention's protections, stating, "this can't be Marquess of Queensberry [the rules for boxing matches]. The interrogation techniques that are permitted with respect to Geneva POWs are exceedingly limited. And I think there is no reason therefore to apply to protections of Geneva" to Guantanamo detainees. He also criticized his debate opponent’s "habeas litigation" because it was "having undesirable consequences on the performance of the mission at Guantanamo, undesirable consequences for the gathering of additional intelligence from the detainees down there . . .."

       Please allow me to provide an example, to explain why this issue is important. I am currently litigating in the Iranian civil and criminal courts to recover properties that were embezzled from my late murdered father (and please note I have specific permission from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control). In this effort, I have encountered viciousness, threats and attempts to use anti-Americanism against me. But I also encountered idealistic people who believe in the rule of law in Iran, even if it benefits an American. There are different kinds of attorneys and judges in the world – some promote civility and the rule of law; others use their position to create a more corrupt and lawless world.

       As lead attorney with the power to supervise Guantanamo Bay, Brian was put in a historic position. He could have used his authority to protect the rule of law, and the idealism that our country creates. Instead, he argued that the United States should be as lawless, arbitrary and brutal as any despotic regime.

       In my opinion, this history shows that Brian might not use authority in an honest and responsible manner. In addition, Brian seems to dehumanize people, particularly people with a connection to Islam. I suspect that dishonest use of pretext and dehumanization manifested in his interactions with me, as detailed in the e-mail of July 3. But regardless of his interactions with me, for the above reasons, I do not believe he should be given management authority at a firm with the standards of O'Melveny & Myers.

[1] For background, see Jens David Ohlin, The Torture Lawyers, 51 Harv. Int'l L.J. 193 (2010) or Michael P. Scharf, The Torture Lawyers, 20 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 389 (2010).

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       I waited, but human resources never contacted me. Instead, they suddenly shipped me to St. Louis to sit with Brian in a war room. This was not a coincidence; in the past three years I had never worked with Brian, or in this matter's area of law, until this case. I was surprised by this turn of events, but what could I do? It was either go, stay quiet and hope for the best -- or quit.

       Then they sicced Adam Karr on me, a litigator who defends employers accused of discrimination. His first question was whether I wanted to drop the complaint, and he then made it clear via browbeating that I should keep quiet ("I'm not an ombudsman I'm an attorney for the firm." "I don't have to answer that I'm not responding to a subpoena." "I hope I don't hear from you again. You'll be an employee with a pattern of complaining." "It seems like you don't want to work here." [These may not be word-for-word accurate quotes as I'm going from memory, but they're very close.])

       After that I was moved into Brian's subgroup even though it was outside of my area of expertise. Although Brian was the head of the department as a whole, he worked in ERISA, whereas I previously worked on bank regulatory and consumer finance law. In his group, I was treated like a persona non grata and told my career and compensation were at a dead end. 
I repeatedly told Adam Karr that this situation was bizarre and uncomfortable, but I was ignored. 

       I tried to stay positive, but I couldn't make sense of what was happening. Of all the possible ways to respond to my complaint, why would the firm choose this? I repeatedly told Adam Karr that the situation was bizarre and uncomfortable, but was ignored each time. Soon I started to wonder what they would do next. These were not good people. My office was on the floor where they tell employers how to legally get rid of complaining employees, and where they defend schools accused of allowing rape and other sexual misconduct. Almost every day I overheard such machinations against victims. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night with feelings of dread and panic. Curious for another perspective, I spent thousands of dollars on therapy, where I was constantly told that this was not a workable situation and that I needed to look for another job.

       Eventually things came to a head. During my February 27 review I glanced at the document to see there would be no raise or promotion. I wasn't surprised; although I made one-fifteenth of the average partner's 2016 profits, worked a grueling schedule and consistently received good reviews -- Brian hadn't given me a raise or promotion in five years. So I sat there quietly. Brian asked if I saw the tear sheet that lists the raise or promotion. Yes, saw it. 
He then spent about 20 seconds showing how his outstretched arms could reach from one side of my unusually small office to the other, while his junior partner cackled. 

       Next I was ordered to perform a conflicts check using google. I was asked to perform 140 google searches, and skim the results under each search looking for conflicts -- even though this process wouldn't find them all. Google isn't a conflict checking tool.
And this at a firm with a history of conflict of interest issues. I called around and learned that both the library and conflicts group had turned it down before it was assigned to me. I was now being given unethical tasks that the administrators wouldn't do. I couldn't continue this for another year. Brian and his team were going to mess me with me until I left, and it would only get worse. So I gave up, told them I would quit as soon as I found another job and criticized the handling of my 2015 complaint. I expected them to just let me move me quietly. No, even that was asking too much. The next day, after finishing a task, I checked my email to see Brian had terminated me suddenly with no severance or transition assistance.

       This brings me to the reason why I made this website. O'Melveny is able to respond to complaints in the manner above, because they force employees to sign away their rights. To work at O'Melveny, you must sign this document (pp. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). It states that victims of "discrimination or sexual harassment" cannot go to court, and they cannot talk about what happened. They have to use O'Melveny's confidential dispute resolution process -- which gets you the treatment above. O'Melveny clings to this document -- even though it has repeatedly been declared unconscionable by the courts -- because victim silence is key.

       I hope this site helps protect others.

       Thank you for granting me the dignity of reading my post, and God bless. (And if you're wondering, I've felt fine, wonderful even, since leaving.)

       [Addendum: O'Melveny has reportedly stopped forcing employees to sign the document, after a campaign by law students.] 

       [Second addendum: Corporate Counsel reported that Adam Karr did a sham investigation of sexual abuse at Lions Gate.]

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o'melveny & myers
The following is a public list of O'Melveny & Myers's attorneys and managers provided in the hopes that if they discriminate against you (or are themselves discriminated against) -- this site is found and read before anyone hurts themselves by complaining to the diversity group or human resources. Billy Abbott, Adam Ackerman, Sloane Ackerman, Eli Aizenman, Tad Allan, David Almeling, Peter Alter, Brandon Amash, Eric Amdursky, Nima Amini, Alexander Anderson, Brian Anderson, Chris Anderson, Michael Antalics, antitrust, Nicole Argentieri, Elizabeth Arias, Seth Aronson, Laura Aronsson, Nate Asher, Emily Atwater, Lindsay Hersh Autz, Will Autz, Naomi Babu, Allison Bader, Seth Baglin, Caitlin Bair, Charles Baker, bankruptcy, Andrew Banks, Alan Bao, Jeffrey Barker, Shannon Barrett, Marni Barta, Rob Barthelmess, Jared Bartie, George Bashour, Olta Bejleri, Thomas Baxter, Jenn Beard, David Beddow, Andrew Bednark, Jacob Beiswenger, Brad Berg, Brian Berliner, Kurt Berney, Jan Birtwell, Alicja Biskupska-Haas, Tyler Bittner, Hope Blain, K. Lee Blalack II, Robert Blashek, Andrew Bledsoe, Craig Bloom, Elizabeth Bock, Christopher Todd Boes, T. Hale Boggs, Daniel Bookin, Alexandra Bornstein, Chris Bowman, Jim Bowman, Natasha Boyadzieva, Brian Boyle, Ben Bradshaw, Stephanie Bradshaw, Daniel Braun, Jessica Brent, Drew Breuder, Jonathan Bridges, Denis Brock, Steve Brody, Jessica Brostek, Mary Patrice Brown, Kurt Brown, Brussels, Greyson Bryan, William Buffaloe, Sharon Bunzel, Christopher Burke, Allen Burton, Brad Butwin, managing partner, Courtney Byrd, Joanna Calabrese, Ben Callahan, omm, Natalie Camastra, Daniel Cantor, Jing Cao, capital markets, Jen Cardelús, O'Melveny careers, Jennie Carpel, Timothy Carr, Matt Carter, Margaret Carter, David Cartwright, Melissa Cassel, Rob Catmull, Riccardo Celli, Century City, Aaron Cha, chambers, Winnie Chan, Winston Chang, Hannah Chanoine, Kelsey Chandrasoma, Chloe Chavez, omm, Martin Checov, Alexander Chester, Lillian Cheung, Jae Wan Chi, Eric Chianese, Junaid Chida, John Chong, Apalla Chopra, Joshua Chow, Brophy Christensen, Andrew Churchill, class action, Matthew Close, David Cohen, Valerie Cohen, Mary Ellen Connerty, Brian Cook, Daniel Cooper, corona, coronavirus, covid-19, corporate, Rebecca Cottrell, Brian Covotta, Amber Covucci, Matt Cowan, Kimberly Cullen, Mario Cuttone, Peter D'Agostino, Justine Daniels, Jack Day, David Deaton, Zachary Dekel, Chris Del Rosso, Walter Dellinger, George Demos, Jorge deNeve, John Dermody, Terence Desouza, John Dickson, Maria DiConza, Harout Dimijian, o'melveny dc, Andrew Dolak, Kelly Donahue, Thomas Donilon, Megan Dowty, Michael Dreeben, Melody Drummond Hansen, M. Elizabeth Dubeck, Yaira Dubin, Terrence Dugan, Hannah Dunham, Alex Duran, Mary Pat Dwyer, Courtney Dyer, Mark Easton, David Eberhart, Robert Eccles, Randall Edwards, Houman Ehsan, Brad Elias, Scott Elliott, Elizabeth Evans, Tim Evans, Natasha Fedder, Kevin Feder, Marc Feinstein, Vince Ferrito, Ben Finger, omm, Jeffrey Fisher, Robert Fisher, Berit Grace Fitzsimmons, Jessica Fluehr, James Ford, Nessa Forman, Abby Formella, Seth Fortin, David Foster, Jeffrey Fowler, Warren Fox, Andrew Frackman, Daniel Franklin, Peter Friedman, Stephanie Fung, Ross Galin, Meredith Garagiola, Brad Garcia, Chani Gatto-Bradshaw, Ella Ge, Nidhi Geevarghese, Eric Geffner, omm, Andrew Geist, Ke Geng, Amanda Genovese, Bhavreet Singh Gill, Karen Gillen, Janniece Gilliams, Elizabeth Gimzewski, Jared Ginsburg, Jeremy Girton, glassdoor O'Melveny, Scott Gleason, Leah Godesky, Richard Goetz, Samantha Goldstein, omm, Mia Gonzalez, Jillian Goodman, Jeffrey Gordon, Laura Gore, Brittany Gorin, Katie Gosewehr, Robert Graffum, Alexa Graumlich, Zach Greenberg, Eli Grossman, Kyle Grossman, Steven Grossman, Craig Grounds, Vanessa Guerrero, Allan Gustin, Diarra Guthrie, Joe Guzman, Ben Haber, Adam Haberkorn, Jonathan Hacker, Tim Hagen, Scott Hammack, Michael Hamilton, Jason Han, Li Han, Bess Hanish, Kayla Haran, Victoria Hargis, Scott Harman-Heath, James Harrigan, Jefferson Harwell, Megan Havstad, Jaroslaw Hawrylewicz, Mark Hayden, Arthur Hazlitt, Timothy Heafner, healthcare, Carl Erik Heiberg, Howard Heiss, Jay Herron, Shelly Heyduk, Sarah Higgins, Hugh Hilliard, Matthew Hinker, Sarah Hoffner, Jeff Hoffner, Caitlin Hogan, Chris Hollinger, Richard Holm, Alison Holtzman, Qianru Hong, Hong Kong, Susannah Howard, Qianyu Hu, Claire Huang, Kieran Humphrey, Shane Hunt, Mattie Hutton, Noah Ickowitz, David Iden, Kate Ikehara, Samantha Indelicato, Tracie Ingrasin, Kelsey Irish, Philip Irwin, Jessica Iwasaki, Brandon Scott Jacobsen, Wayne Jacobsen, Jordan Jacobson, Lauren Jaeger, Rachel Janger, Vino Jayaraman, Brooke Jenkins, McAllister Jimbo, David Johnson, Evan Jones, Patrick Jones, Daniel Jordan, Aparna Joshi, Nora Kahn, Matthew Kaiser, Mariam Kamran, Wendy Kan, Adam Kaplan, Jason Kaplan, Lauren Kaplan, John Kappos, Adam Karr, Rochelle Karr, Theodore Kassinger, Laura Kaufmann, Marla Kelly, Brian Kenyon, R. Collins Kilgore, Joseph Kim, Stella Kim, Nikole Kingston, David Kirman, Andrew Kirschenbaum, Matt Kline, Tobias Knapp, Joseph Keith Kobylka, Jeremy Koegel, Jeffrey Kohn, Adam KohSweeney, Jeffrey Kopczynski, Noah Kornblith, Kevin Kraft, Matthew Kremer, David Krinsky, Gordon Krischer, Portia Ku, Mollie Kuether, omm, Aditya Kurian, Yukie Kurosawa, Shinji Kusuda, Geoff Kuziemko, Edwin Kwok, Christianna Mantas Kyriacou, o'melveny labor and employment practice, John Laco, Brock Laney, Alexander Larro, Kelsey Larson, David Lash, Jeffrey Lau, Amy Laurendeau, omm, lawyer, Warren Lazarow, Carlos Lazatin, Jonathan Le, o'melveny leadership, Angela Lee, Janet Lee, Jeeho Lee, O'Melveny legal, O'Melveny logo, Philip Legendy, Samuel Lehman, Daniel Leigh, Molly Lens, Andrew Levad, Sarah Levesque, Andrew Levine, Adam Levine, David Leviss, Bo Li, James Yi Li, Amy Liang, Mark Liang, Harry Liberman, Greta Lichtenbaum, Andrew Lichtenstein, Charles Lifland, Dawn Lim, Vincent Lin, linkedin, Meg Lippincott, David Litt, Zhao Liu, Mei Liu, Yiming Liu, Wei Liu, Luisa Lizoain, Ben Logan, o'melveny login, london, Adam Longenbach, Laurel Loomis Rimon, Maxwell Loos, Los Angeles, Laura Lorenz, Loyola 2L blog, Su Lian Lu, Nick Loukides, Lindsey Love, Amy Lucas, Caroline Lynch, Kristin MacDonnell, Yoji Maeda, Biola Macaulay, Kelsey Maher, Charles Mahoney, David Makarechian, Jeremy Maltby, Moshe Mandel, Anne Marchitello, Clay Marquez, David Marroso, Kristin Marshall, Christina Martin, Racquel Martin, William Martin, Ashton Massey, Martin Mayo, Craig McAllister, Edward McAniff, Kelly McDonnell, Ephraim McDowell, Russell McGlothlin, Michael McGuinness, Stephen McIntyre, Elizabeth Liz McKeen, Patrick McKegney, Patrick McNally, Kelly McTigue, Heather Meeker, Maybelline Mena-Hadyka, Ashley Menzies, mergers and acquisitions, Brian Metcalf, Tina Metis, Anton Metlitsky, Margarita Nikki Michael, Callahan Miller, Pamela Miller, Samantha Emily Miller, Boris Mindzak, Paige Minteer, Nancy Mitchell, Tania Moayedi, Anna Mohan, Lisa Monaco, Philip Monaghan, Sean Monroe, Bo Moon, Tristan Morales, Emiko Morisato (Ogino), omm, Luc Moritz, Edward Moss, John-Paul Motley, Ryan Murguía, Matthew Murphy, Aisling Murray, Kevin Murray, Shawmir Naeem, Patrick Nack-Lehman, Catherine Nagle, Cindy Navarro, O'Melveny NALP, Vivaan Nehra, Newport Beach, Andrew Nizamian, New York, Bob Nicksin, Hiroko Nihei, Philippe Nogues, Zoheb Noorani, Jeff Norton, o'melveny interview tips, plymetrics, pymetrics, Margaret O'Boyle, Daniel O'Boyle, Joe O'Connor, O'Melveny podcast, Danielle Oakley, Hana Oh, Gabriel Olivera, Steve Olson, omelveny, o'melveny offices, omm, O'Melveny and Myers llp, M. Randall Randy Oppenheimer, Eric Ormsby, Jason Orr, Tom Oslovar, Jordyn Elise Ostroff, Chris Owens, Sara Pahlavan, Charles Paillard, Sung Pak, Janine Panchok-Berry, William Pao, Eashaa Parekh, Trisha Parikh, Sherin Parikh, Amy Park, Alexander Parker, Maiah Parks, Ashley Pavel, Christian Peeters, Marc Pensabene, Lisa Pensabene, Julio Pereyra, Diana Perez, Moshe Peters, Mark Peterson, Sarah Jane Petersen, Daniel Petrocelli, Alexandra K. Piarino, Michael Pierce, Scott Pink, Robert Plesnarski, Anna Pletcher, Madhu Pocha, podcast, William David Pollak, Adrian Pollner, Edward Poon, Dimitri Portnoi, Colleen Powers, Matt Powers, Jaime Prince, Ty Probst, O'Melveny profits per partner, Brian Quinn, Jamie Quinn, Mark Racanelli, Irwin Raij, Ramon Ramirez, John J. Rapisardi, Denise Raytis, O'Melveny recruiting contacts, recruiting coordinator, Alexander Reed, restructuring practice, Christopher Rieck, omm, John Renneisen, David Ribner, Deanna Rice, Eric Richards, Brett Richter, Marina Richter, Laura Riley, Asher Rivner, Alexander Roberts, Dave Roberts, Ashley Robertson, Mark Robertson, Katrina Robson, Esteban Rodriguez, Brittany Rogers, omm, Jonathan Rosenberg, Mike Rosenblatt, Joseph Roth, Eric Rothenberg, James Rothstein, John Rousakis, Clarence Rowland, Marissa Roy, Abby Rudzin, Ryan Rutledge, Sydney Ryan, Kimya Saied, o'melveny salary, Nora Salem, Mark Samuels, Kathryn Sanders, Alix Sandman, o'melveny San Francisco, o'melveny sf, Amanda Santella, Stuart Sarnoff, Victoria Saunders, Gerard Savaresse, Hassen Sayeed, Ethan Scapellati, Scott Schaeffer, Tancred Schiavoni, Alec Schierenbeck, Evan Schlom, Katie Schmidt, Anna Schneider, Jonathan Schneller, Nancy Schroeder, Sophie Schult, Eberle Schultz, David Schultz, Ben Seelig, Seoul, Dawn Sestito, Cassandra Seto, Daniel Shamah, Lining Shan, Shanghai, Nolan Shaw, Jonathan Shelley, Arjun Shenoy, Jerri Shick, Youngwook Shin, Rebecca Shore, Eric Sibbitt, Paul Sieben, Amy Siegel, Robert Siegel, Silicon Valley, Daniel Silverman, Michael Simeone, Ian Simmons, Luann Simmons, Alvin Sin, Ben Singer, Singapore, David Smith, Megan Smith, Valerie Smith, Matthew Smock, Scott Snyder, Darin Snyder, Jessica Snyder, Jennifer Sokoker, Kara Sommers, Joseph Spina, Maya Spitzer, John Sprangers, Grace Spurgeon, Ashleigh Stanley, Sevda Staykova, Anne Steinberg, Stephen Stern, Dian Stevens, Braddock Stevenson, Maria Stewart, Sarah Stoeckel, Teo Stoica, Stacie Straw, Sabrina Strong, omm, Eric Su, Jhe-Yu Su, Ashish Sudhakaran, Scott Sugino, Greg Suhr, Stephen Sullivan, Ye Sun, Bill Sushon, Daniel Suvor, Gary Svirsky, Lauren Sweet, Maha Syed, Zach Tafoya, Katie Takakjian, AJ Talt, Sophie Tarazi, Jennifer Taylor, Damali Taylor, Andor Terner, Buzz Thompson, Phillip Thomas, Gregory Thorpe, Henry Thumann, Logan Tiari, Bruce Tobey, Tokyo, Desirae Tongco, Luis Torres-Cervantes, Stefanos Touzos, Dylan Towns, Alex Trabolsi, Bill Trac, D. Sean Trainor, transactional, Yuki Tsang, Valerie Tsui, Michael Tubach, Dan Tully, Kathryn Turner, Kendall Turner, twitter, James Ukropina, Sabrina van der Linden Gonzales, Silvia Vannini, Shara Venezia-Walerstein, Catalina Vergara, Meaghan VerGow, Adrian Vidaurri, Scott Voelz, Maria von Schack, Maude Vonderau, Lauren Wagner, Jeff Walbridge, Carolyn Wall, Walker Wallace, Katherine Wang, Tony Wang, Yiying Wang, Alison Ward, Steve Warren, Washington D.C., o'melveny water practice, Jonathan Waxman, Loren Weber, O'Melveny website, Andrew Weiler, Jillian Weinstein, Vincent Weisband, Andrew Weisberg, Heather Welles, Cliff Wen, Cameron Westin, Nicholas Whilt, omm, white collar, Evie Whiting, Scott Widen, Brett Williamson, Emilie Winckel, Robert Winson, Vision Winter, Henry Wong, Kelly Wood, Mark Wood, Paul Wooten, working for O'Melveny & Myers, Melissa Wright, Candice Wu, Trevor Wysocki, Aaron Xin, Meng Xu, Grace Xu, Stacy Yae, Ryan Yagura, Jason Yan, Jonathan Yang, Randolph Yiap, Michael Yoder, Geoff Yost, Wenting Yu, Angela Yung, Javed Yunus, Eric Zabinski, Nia Zaferis, Yuko Zaha, Sorin Zaharia, Krystel Zambrano, Elena Zarabozo, Jason Zarrow, Sergei Zaslavsky, Maya Zagayer, Yuan Grace Zhong, Vincent Zhou, Kai Zhu, Ke Zhu, Annie Ziesing, Joseph Zujkowski, o'melveny dc