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Several weeks after he filed the sexual orientation discrimination suit that set the legal world buzzing, former Sullivan & Cromwell associate Aaron Charney sat in his apartment in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, far from the marble halls of the firm where he once hoped to be a partner. Charney, 28, was baffled that the firm had deactivated his BlackBerry and put him on leave. “I asked [S&C labor partner] Ted Rogers when I could go back to work, and he wouldn’t say,” says Charney. “I’ve never lagged in my responsibility. … My dream was to be there.”

“He, more than anyone in the class, was drinking the Kool-Aid,” says one associate of Charney. “He wanted to be partner more than anything else.”

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