June 3, 2017

Don't complain about torture or discrimination to Bank of America's General Counsel David Leitch

       I received a few emails and phone calls in response to the prior post. Some shared similar experiences at O'Melveny -- situations where someone naively believed the marketing and stood up to unfair acts, only to be fired. One told me about how this happened to a friend, and how it was unforgettable because it left his once spry friend a "broken man" (I wasn't surprised as I saw a similar thing myself.) Others offered general sympathy and support.

       But would you believe the General Counsel of Bank of America bothered to write? I applied for a job at his organization, and he emailed to say he wouldn't help because Brian Boyle was his friend. He couldn't just quietly blacklist me. He had to make sure I knew that it was a consequence of criticizing his friend. But shouldn't lawyers be allowed to criticize torture? And Mr. David Leitch holds a diversity role at Bank of America. Shouldn't he listen to the full story before siding with friends? Is that how the bank handles all complaints, by prejudging them? The next day O'Melveny sent that baseless but threatening letter, suggesting Mr. Leitch was involved in that too. Whatever. I ignored it all and had no intention of writing about any of this until a month later -- when Bank of America's Diversity and Inclusion Business Council actually gave O'Melveny & Myers its annual diversity award

       In trying to make sense of this sequence, I discovered that Mr. Leitch was a top lawyer in the Bush Administration during the torture memo period. According to these three websites, another key person on the bank's diversity council is Lani Quarmby -- who also worked in the Bush Administration during the torture memo period. She left that job exactly when Brian Boyle left -- to follow Mr. Boyle to O'Melveny. (And Brian's group has lots of such connections. Another partner in his group, Greg Jacob, who also seems to like Guantanamo, worked in the Office of Legal Counsel when it issued the torture memos. Yet another partner in his group, Danielle Oakley, worked for Jay Bybee, the person who signed the torture memos.) 

       It's disheartening to see social and regulatory pressures create such disingenuous diversity efforts. According to the site above, the third key person on the bank's diversity council is Amy Littman. She started her career advocating for companies accused of mistreating employees. In contrast, there are people who devote their lives to advocating for diversity -- but they will never get such jobs because their sincerity disqualifies them. If discrimination is so ingrained in your business that the EEOC regularly sues you, build a proper diversity group.
David G. Leitch Bank of America, Amy Littman, Lany Quarmby, Bank of America diversity, Bank of America human resources