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Instant Insights / The Weinstein Effect: The Hollywood Sex Scandal’s Impact on Big Law

Since the news broke of sexual harassment and assault claims against Harvey Weinstein, one of Tinseltown’s most powerful movie moguls, ALM journalists have closely covered its connection to law firms and the legal industry. Whether the impact has meant more business for lawyers working for Weinstein or the company he formerly ran or more worries for firms facing harassment claims against their own lawyers, the legal community has felt The Weinstein Effect. In this Instant Insights, we’ve brought those stories together and will continue to update the collection as news develops.

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With claims against Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment and assault fresh in our minds, we thought we’d take a glance back at some vile behavior alleged against leaders in the legal profession. It’s not a joking matter. A recent study in the Harvard Business Review found that 40 percent of women in the legal profession will or have experienced sexual harassment. Here are some of the more notorious cases in recent history.

Baker McKenzie and partner Martin Greenstein: Legal secretary Rena Weeks alleged in 1991 that Greenstein, an IP attorney, repeatedly harassed her by groping her, lunging at her and pouring M&M’s down her breast pocket. After Weeks’ suit was filed, several other women who worked at the firm claimed he had sexually harassed them. A San Francisco jury in 1994 awarded her a record-breaking $7.1 million in punitive damages, determining that Baker McKenzie knew about Greenstein’s pattern of harassing women but failed to address it. The award was later reduced to $3.5 million. The verdict was upheld on appeal.

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Leigh Jones

Leigh Jones is editor-in-chief of Law.com and senior editor, culture desk, ALM Global Newsroom

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