October 23, 2021

O'Melveny embarrasses their client with a reportedly "absurd" letter

       Last month, Apple terminated a senior engineer after she complained of harassment and other improprieties. I'm guessing O'Melveny played a role in that because a few days later, they sent Ms. Gjøvik the letter stating the basis for her termination. O'Melveny's letter was reportedly so "absurd" and "weak" that it caught the attention of reporters, and this matter turned into a front-page article (links one and two.) The tech website Gizmodo summarized the letter along with its faults

       I imagine Apple regrets this needless exacerbation and embarrassment. According to Menlo Staffing Partners, the technology sector has a 13.2% annual rate of employee attrition, and the average Apple employee works there for only two years before leaving. With 147,000 employees, Apple deals with a lot of departures, and you never hear of the vast majority of them because they were handled properly.  

       But before you conclude that O'Melveny is upset about any of this, remember that its partners dream of lengthy litigation. Firms like O'Melveny compete with each other for a relatively small pool of what is called "premium work" (work for clients like Apple, the ones willing to pay biglaw's high billing rates.) They sit around hoping for a such clients to get sued because without such lawsuits, O'Melveny can't get to $2.5 million in annual profits per partner. 

       This is where the interests of Apple and O'Melveny diverge. What follows is complete speculation, for which I have no basis . . . but I would not be surprised if O'Melveny's labor and employment group intentionally mishandled the engineer's situation so as to exacerbate the matter and create or lengthen litigation. Again, that is pure speculation on my part, and I have no evidence that O'Melveny actually did this. But still, if someone has a financial incentive to do something, it's fair to wonder if they ever act on that incentive. 

       It's something to remember about private-sector lawyers -- they're not necessarily there to help you;  they're trying to make money off of you. Lawyers don't necessarily profit by making your life better. An ever-worsening trainwreck in your life will seem like a tragedy to you, but to the lawyers working on your case, it might seem like a gift from the rainmaking gods. 

       It occurs to me that a week ago I wrote about the unpleasantness of the topics on this blog, and here I am experiencing that feeling again, so I'll cut this short. Any way, hopefully Ms. Gjøvik somehow recovers from all of this, and attains some sense of justice.
O'Melveny, OMM, labor and employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment