Wow: Psych test ordered for plaintiff/lawyer/erotic novelist

What to say about this? There’s a ton of intriguing information leading to intriguing questions in this article from the New York Law Journal — Panel Finds Ex-Allen & Overy Lawyer Must Take Psych Test | New York Law Journal:

  • Employment law: did the law firm fire because she wrote an erotic novel?
  • Was it in her contract that she couldn’t write an erotic novel, even if under a pseudonym?
  • Is the erotic novel any good? Whatever “good” means?
  • There’s a question of jurisdiction, i.e., why was this case first filed in London? Is that Allen & Overy’s headquarters? Hard to determine from their website; they have offices in so many places around the globe. Indeed, this could be a kind of screwy labyrinth cum treasure hunt. Can YOU reach Allen & Overy’s headquarters? And what do you get if you do?
  • Didn’t Ms. Clark — who is a lawyer and who is representing herself — know what jurisdiction to file in? Or was her initial filing a strategic move? Or can’t she, like me, figure out where the headquarters are?
  • The judge is a woman.
  • The name of the firm (“& Overy”), particularly in this context, sounds like a name created by P.G. Wodehouse.
  • Having questioned in my first phrase what I could say about this…I’ve said way too much. So I’ll stop now. Except for offering these first paragraphs as a, um, teaser:

Allen & Overy scored an unusual appellate win last week in its fight with a onetime lawyer at the firm who was fired after authoring an erotic novel, persuading a court in New York that the woman must submit to a psychological examination.

Deidre Clark—who, under the name Deidre Dare, wrote and self-published a serialized, steamy novel about an expatriate living in Russia—pursued wrongful firing and sexual harassment claims against Allen & Overy after she was terminated in 2009. Prior to that, she had worked in the Magic Circle firm’s Moscow office as a senior attorney.

After an initial case filed in London was thrown out on jurisdictional grounds, she turned to New York, where Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman (See Profile) has so far allowed her case to proceed. Clark, a Columbia University School of Law graduate and member of the New York bar, is representing herself. Lawyers at Proskauer Rose, including partner Kathleen McKenna, are defending Allen & Overy.

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