Sullivan sues its own associate

The discrimination suit filed by a Sullivan & Cromwell associate against his firm took an unusual turn on Thursday (1 February) when the Manhattan stalwart filed its own papers against Aaron Charney, the M&A lawyer at the centre of the scandal.

Sullivan has instructed Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker to represent its action against Charney. Paul Hastings’ veteran employment litigation partner Zach Fasman is leading.

Sullivan claims that Charney broke his attorney-client privilege, bringing the 125-year-old firm into disrepute when he published his grievances on a website,, before officially bringing them to firm management.

It is understood that a hearing is scheduled for 8 February at Manhattan’s Supreme Court.

Charney’s biography has also been taken down from the firm’s website in the last few days. Up until last week, both Sullivan and Charney stressed the fact that he was still an employee of the firm, although Charney said he was told not to come to the office while an internal investigation was ongoing.

Sullivan is also claiming that Charney stole and leaked documents to the press.

For his part, Charney filed his own complaint at the Supreme Court on 16 January, charging discrimination by several Sullivan partners when they found out Charney was gay.

As reported in The Lawyer (22 January), in Charney’s 48-page complaint there was also the claim that “Sullivan & Cromwell considers all Canadians to be irrelevant.” He sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.