Whatever happened to the cringe-making email? The Bradley Chaits and Andy Dowdney’s (of Norton Rose and Charles Russell respectively, just in case you’d forgotten) of this world seem to be taking more care with those pesky digits, judging by the drop-off in mirth-making cyberspace screw-ups. Or perhaps the mistakes have just moved on to another medium.
Take Winston & Strawn associate Ankur Gupta, who proved recently that one’s speech is still just as capable of landing you in trouble as your fingers. The poor chap was apparently a bit stressed as a property deal on which he was slaving drew to a close. Upset by what he judged to be his opponent’s (in the New York office of Latham & Watkins) argumentative nature concerning some minor changes he’d requested, Gupta told a colleague that the Latham associate should save his “f***ing breath”. He added that if the Latham chap continued to complain about the changes, he would make his “life on this deal very unpleasant” by involving his client. Gupta ended by advising the Latham associate that if he would not act as a “monkey f***ing scribe”, his work would be given to a secretary at Winstons.
The charming diatribe was subsequently followed by an apology that could only be described as grovelling.
Still, at least Gupta’s bosses couldn’t complain about his work ethic, a fate that last year befell Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom intern Jonas Blank. “I’m busy doing jack shit,” wrote Blank. “Went to a nice 2hr sushi lunch today at Sushi Zen. Nice place. Spent the rest of the day typing emails and bullshitting with people. Unfortunately, I actually have some work to do. I’m on some corp finance deal, under the global head of corp finance, which means I should really peruse these materials and not be a fuck-up.”
The inevitable apology, again of the grovelling variety, was not long in coming.