DLA Piper has come out swinging against allegations of sexual misconduct from a partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.
Last month, Vanina Guerrero publicly accused a more senior male partner of pursuing a sexual relationship with her and undermining her professionally when she rejected advances that included unwanted physical contact.
DLA Piper took action by firing the accused partner, Louis Lehot, after an investigation—the conventional response to substantiated sexual harassment allegations.
But in recent weeks its posture toward Guerrero’s claims has turned decidedly hostile. DLA placed Guerrero on administrative leave and, in a formal filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, described Guerrero as “a willing participant in a lengthy emotional flirtation” with Lehot to “advance her career.” Guerrero’s lawyer, Wigdor partner Jeanne Christensen, called the response a smear campaign and ”a new low.”
On this Legal Speak podcast, Law.com reporter Dan Packel explains the latest developments and checks in with Gina Rubel, a law firm PR and crisis management expert, to discuss what the mess reveals about law firm culture, crisis response and the reputational hazards of the #MeToo era.
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