Monday, February 26, 2007

Fulbright & Jaworski attorney in the middle of racial controversy at Duke

This article in the Texas Lawyer, and this blog, discuss in general terms a racial controversy at Duke regarding a statement made by a Fulbright & Jaworski attorney during a "training interview." Both sources quote in full the response from the Dean of the Duke University School of Law to the students. That response includes this passage: "The hiring partner called back within minutes, clearly upset at the behavior of his partner. Shortly thereafter he reported back that he raised the issue to the highest levels of the firm, that the firm was taking internal measures dealing with the individual involved, and that the offending lawyer will not be permitted to return to Duke to meet with students."

I guess we won't know the whole story, but the article says that the partner was "
telling a story about Leon Jaworski’s defense of a black man during a murder trial in the 1920s, [and he] used the 'n-word' when vividly recounting the prosecutor’s remarks about Jaworski’s client during that trial." Without a doubt we must be sensitive when using racially charged words. On the other hand, an historical recitation of an event would seem to demand the use of such words. For F&J to issue such an apology must indicate more to this story than has been reported, we would think.