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Beware the Wrath of a Legal Secretary Scorned

Beware the Wrath of a Legal Secretary Scorned

Or, If You’d Just Said “Yes” to that Vacay Request…

Legal secretary Claudette McCarthy and her supervising attorney, David Gross, enjoyed a successful working relationship for many years – until she ratted him out for keeping a $50,000 client payment to himself, and he ended up facing the New Jersey State Bar for alleged misappropriation of funds from his former partners at Budd Larner.

Now the New Jersey Disciplinary Review Board is recommending that Gross be disbarred. (See the complaint here.)

In 1998, McCarthy seems to have been a willing enabler when Gross directed that a client send a $50,000 payment directly to him marked “personal and confidential” – bypassing the firm mail room and avoiding deposit into its business account. She typed the letter to the client with the instructions, and stayed mum when Gross told her not to save it on her computer and not to save a hard copy.

Then the working relationship soured, with McCarthy reporting a chill in the air after she refused to do some work for Gross’ wife, an attorney with the same firm. She told the disciplinary board that McCarthy even called her a “fucking idiot” on one occasion. (I suspect at this point that the working relationship was beyond repair.)

However, the event that made McCarthy sing like a canary to Gross’ law partners happened in 2002 when he threw her vacation request into a wastebasket after writing an emphatic “no” on it. After being assigned to another attorney, she disclosed Gross’ receipt of the $50,000.

“She admitted that she wanted him to feel embarrassed and humiliated because she felt that he had demeaned, degraded, and abused her, and had ruined her reputation at the firm,” the board said.

Ouch. That’s the very clearly scorned part.

I bet some of those snide commenters at that Above the Law holiday gift-giving thread are re-thinking their stinginess to their legal secretaries right about now, and that there will be a lot fewer Wendy’s Frosty gift cards bestowed for Christmas 2010.

And while I’ve got your attention, when’s the last time you sent your legal secretary fresh flowers for no reason at all?


2 Responses to Beware the Wrath of a Legal Secretary Scorned

  1. Ouch – is she still employed at the firm or did they can her too? She should have immediately reported the bad behaviour, but I did get a little chuckle out of this post. Karma is a bitch, no?

  2. And an angry one…lol.

    I wondered about her employment status, too. Maybe she got to keep her job as a "finder's fee".

    But you're right, the incident doesn't reflect well on either team member…

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