Deception or ingratitude: Name partner blasts departing top lawyer in reply-to-all email

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When news broke out that high-profile lawyers were set to leave Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to form their own boutique firm, the litigation powerhouse was quick to downplay the defections. It turns out the move has angered name partner John Quinn.

After it was revealed that senior partners Philippe Selendy and Faith Gay, along with six other partners, are forming Selendy & Gay, Quinn said in a statement that his firm “has never been stronger” and “has never had a deeper bench of veteran and next-generation talent.”

While the firm respects the decision to “take their practice to a smaller platform,” the departures were not expected to have any “significant impact on our practice or our revenue,” Quinn said.

Selendy, who chaired his former firm’s securities and structured finance practices, said that working with Quinn and the rest of his colleagues “has been a terrific and rewarding experience.” Gay, who co-chaired the firm’s national trial practice, said that the firm “remains close to my heart” and that Selendy & Gay “looks forward to working closely” with Quinn Emanuel in the future.

Gay sent her departure memo – the short poem “The Life That I Have” by Leo Marks – to the firm’s lawyers on Valentine’s Day. Quinn hit reply-all and sent the following retort, which found its way to US legal blog Above the Law:

“Faith, I wish I could join in the high minded sentiment you express here. Some day maybe I will be able to. But not yet. At this time I am still perhaps too mindful of other facts.

Such as that you really were not very well known at all when you joined us from White and Case.

That during your time with us we supported you in every way we could and, I think, made you a legal star.

That during your time with us you were paid well over [US]$100m—far more than you ever dreamed you could earn.

That when you wanted to take time off to go to graduate school, we supported you.

That when you wanted to come back part time, we supported you.

That you planned your departure in secret, we now know, for months.

And let us know that you were leaving, not even with a phone call, but with an email to me and to peter, attaching a proposed form of joint press release.

That you are now planning to take as much of our work as possible.

And to recruit as many of our attorneys as possible.

I can tell you that virtually all of the attorneys you name here are pretty angry with you.

There must be a poem about deception or ingratitude that would be more apposite?”


There goes “working closely” with Quinn Emanuel in the future.


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