You'd think I spoke out against Stalin or the Genovese family. All I did was speak up against a group of men and women who run a business. They sit around and think of ways to protect and increase the million plus profits they each take home at the end of the year, and firing some underling and sabotaging her reputation in the process is par for the course in their world. What does it say about our times and our profession that calling them out should be considered so unusual? Shouldn't we all be protecting ourselves against bullies like them?
By the reaction, you wonder if McCarthyism hadn't ended in the 50s. Do I have to worry about being blacklisted because I didn't subscribe to their prescribed view? Is my career on the fritz because I didn't take their hush money and disappear quietly? Are we still living in a time when I have no choice but to betray myself and what I know to be true in exchange for job security? No, this isn't about something as grand as political rights, but social/economic pressures don't exist in a vacuum.
One of the partners, the same one who made the comment that my prior year's review may have been "over-inflated", had the audacity to tell one of the clients that "[I] had left the firm because [my] husband is a successful entrepreneur and [I] no longer need to work." You'd think someone who chooses to make a callous decision would at least have the balls to own up to it. Who can explain what happened to these people in the process of becoming the kind of people they are now?
So what are the fallouts? Are there fallouts? Since my email somehow became public, I have received hundreds of emails offering support and sympathy. Several in-house counsel also contacted me to express outrage at the firm's handling of the situation and stated their intention never to hire them. One GC emailed me to let me know that she has fired them. She became my hero. Maybe the world really isn't so bad after all.
I'm not a cynic. I believe in notions of justice. And I like to think that I played a part in reminding others to play fair.