The Supreme Court is quite busy radically revising established constitutional doctrine. But the most devastating decision Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, has yet to be issued. However, given the leaked draft decision, we know the horror that is likely to await.
Now there are many ways a company can deal with the upcoming decision, and quite frankly, Goodwin Procter’s leadership picked an absolute stinker.
Chairman Robert S. Insolia and Managing Partner Mark T. Bettencourt decided to send a message to the firm in light of the anticipated ruling Dobbs. And wooboy, it’s a sucker. One tipster called it “unacceptable and an outrage!” while another asked above the law to “roast” the company. Under the Sus subject line “Common Ground” they first note the Dobbs Decision is expected shortly. But then things go haywire:
This decision – whether to confirm, change or cancel Roe v. calf and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey – will be divisive, deeply disappointing some members of the community and welcoming others.
The actual fuck? That energizes the great Charlottesville “very good people on both sides.”
No matter how strong we may feel at the moment, we should remember that we strive to build a company where everyone feels included, regardless of political, religious, and other beliefs and practices.
Tell me your rights are not those that are being overridden without telling me your rights are not those that are being overridden.
Seriously, Rob and Mark, this is not an academic exercise where sane minds can agree to disagree. It is the denial of a fundamental right and the destruction of access to (and possibly criminalization of) a life-saving medical procedure. But sure folks, let’s think a lot more about keeping the conversation at the water cooler warm. PRIORITIES.
In the epic battle between civility and the defense of constitutional rights, Goodwin prevailed with civility. This does not look good.
This helps ensure that despite our differences, we have common beliefs and principles that unite us and that we can bond around.
If the firm isn’t standing up for the rights of 43% of its attorneys, what the heck are the “common principles” that people at the firm are supposed to “collect” around? The desire to make a lot of money?
It should not be difficult to find more concern for those whose rights are being attacked than for those who wish to rejoice. We’re one step closer to theocratic rule, but here we are. This attempt at measured appropriateness reads as absolute bullshit cloaked in a veneer of respectability. This is the worst kind of gaslighting that patronizes people who are angry to have their rights taken away from them in front of their eyes to PLEASE KEEP YOUR VOICE LOWER.
Honestly, the more I read this email, the angrier I get. And judging by the bucketful of comments Above the Law has received from people in the firm, I’m far from alone. It doesn’t matter how many awards the firm receives (seriously, they just got honored as the top law firm for women, but um, this email tells a VERY VERY different story) if they care more about the emptiness, to be “nice” in the face of a real attack on the protection of the constitution.
In the face of the expected loss of reproductive freedom, there was an influx of support from Biglaw. 23 major law firms have come together to form The Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights to provide free civil and criminal defense. And that’s far from the only time Biglaw has stepped in to defend abortion rights and put her money where her mouth is.
And these are wonderful answers that really demonstrate a company’s priorities. But hell, doing literally nothing would have been better than the babble Goodwin was spouting.
Do it better.
You can read the full email from the law firm on the next page.
Kathryn Rubino is Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments, and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).