Saturday, May 12, 2018

Why I created this blog, and how to reach me

       A comment reminds me to explain why this blog exists, and how to reach me. 

       If anyone would like to contact me, my email address is omelvenyethics@outlook.com. We can also speak by phone if you would prefer. That being said, I'm not looking for publicity. Last June I met with a reporter who offered to write an article, but I later declined to stay out of the spotlight. I hesitate to shove these issues in people's faces; I simply wanted to make a site that people could find if they were in a bad spot and needed information. But please feel free to write me with whatever is on your mind. I would be happy to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. 

       On why this blog exists . . . I was that person, some might say a naive fool, who entered law school with idealistic notions. My first job in the law was under the circumstances below, and I felt I had to do something to prevent this sort of thing from happening to others. A lawsuit in private arbitration wouldn't do that. That was done by many prior victims, and it merely enriched defense lawyers who spent a year charging a fortune to read emails, write, take depositions and so on before ending the matter with a private settlement. But a little sunlight might.

       Six months after I wrote the first post, the #MeToo movement used this same approach to achieve results they would have never attained by petitioning an often unsympathetic judiciary or biased arbitrator. More recently, law students used social media to ask schools to ban firms with mandatory confidentiality and arbitration clauses, which was an issue I wrote about in the blog's very first post. [Addendum: As a result of this effort, O'Melveny reportedly stopped forcing employees to sign this document.] Last week, Michael Cohen was exposed for attempting to profit off of his purported connections to government officials, a troubling thing I saw at O'Melveny and wrote about last August (and I'm glad that in Mr. Cohen's case it turned out to be gullible clients as I hoped.) So it's reassuring to see others object to these sorts of things; it feels good to be on the right side of the zeitgeist.

       Still, it's unfortunate that the legal system is so broken that people should rather complain on social media. Take as an example Ms. Ashley Matthau. She had faith in the system and got a lawyer after being sexually assaulted. Then she found herself in a meeting with her lawyer, her assaulter, and the assaulter's lawyer O'Melveny -- where she was reportedly humiliated by O'Melveny's threat to drag her by her hair if she did not comply. The majesty of the law. One can imagine how emboldened Mr. Weinstein became watching this, seeing the woman he assaulted degraded like this. Who knows how many of Mr. Weinstein's later acts this spurred; how many of those assaults would have been prevented if -- instead of relying on the legal system -- Ms. Matthau complained on Twitter. 

       On the future, I don't anticipate further updates to this blog. I had put it to bed last August, until hearing about news that prompted the later posts. But I will update it if I learn of anything relevant.