Retaliation claims can get messy. After being fired from Davis Polk in 2019, Kaloma Cardwell claimed that the firing was in response to his complaints about racial discrimination at the firm. I feel like most people will complain after allegedly being excluded from the team emails involving the cases they were assigned to and having a harder time getting eye contact reciprocated from higher-ups than having a staring context in the Birdbox universe. Cases like these usually get settled before they see the light of the courtroom. This is not one of those times. The trial is already under way, and some of the complaints about his work are already extremely nit-picky. From the ABA Journal:
[Rocio] Clausen[, a lawyer who was a professional development manager for the law firm,] said Cardwell thought that the assignment would take away from his work with the mergers and acquisitions group, in which he was involved. Cardwell said “African American men were generally disadvantaged” in the legal field, and he didn’t want to hurt his M&A prospects, Clausen testified.
Clausen said Cardwell was working fewer hours than other M&A lawyers, and his refusal to help “was very upsetting to me.”
Clausen said Cardwell’s relaxed body language during the meeting was “cavalier.” She demonstrated by leaning back in her chair, according to Law.com.
Truly a missed career path — why is she a lawyer when she could have been an actor! The only other way Cardwell’s alleged demeanor could have been accurately described is this timeless Simpsons clip:
The concrete issue of if Cardwell was working less than his peers is one thing, but taking someone to task for not being visibly stressed out isn’t the own you think it is. Reminder: you cannot tell how busy or stressed someone is just by looking at them.
Witness for fired BigLaw associate describes ‘cavalier’ body language, refusal to help in a pinch [ABA Journal]
Earlier: Davis Polk Hit With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and by tweet at @WritesForRent.