Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Year Lawyer claiming "superior legal mind" fired from New York firm

It isn't Ontario law, but I felt the need to share this anyways: Gregory Berry, who was a first-year associate with Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman in New York, was fired from his position and is now suing for $77 million.

The framework for dismissal is very different in the U.S. than it is here. As I understand it, they don't have statutory regimes providing for minimum notice periods, nor do they consider there to be an implied contractual term that the employment relationship cannot be terminated without reasonable notice, as we do here. So it's pretty employer-friendly, and dismissed employees usually have to look elsewhere other than the fact of termination itself to find some basis of employer liability, unless they have entitlements arising from a written employment contract.

From the news story, it sounds like he did receive a severance package in any event, but his suit appears to be based on allegations that the firm misrepresented the firm's work culture, and that partners interfered with his work, inflicted emotional distress, and tried to thwart his career prospects. He was fired despite supposedly doing "superlative work" as he called it, after sending an email to partners asking for more responsibility (I wonder if I can fairly infer "less oversight" into that term), because it had become clear to him that he had "as much experience and ability as an associate many years my senior, as much skill writing and a superior legal mind to most I have met".


This blog is not intended to, and does not, provide legal advice to any person in respect of any particular legal issue, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship with any readers, but rather provides general legal information. If you have a legal issue or possible legal issue, contact a lawyer.

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