Wrong button? Say you’re a corporate associate at the Washington, D.C., office of a big New York firm. It’s Friday afternoon. Suddenly, a partner e-mails you a copy of a memo saying that you haven’t been turning in time sheets, that your work habits are bad and that you “should be fired as quickly and nicely as possible.” And, as others rush in to offer their support, you see that it went to everybody in the department, including the secretaries.

It all happened on April 7 at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. The offending partner, Richard A. Steinwurtzel, immediately sent the associate an apology of sorts, said managing partner Alan S. Kaden, and top partners went into damage control.

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