Monday, January 28, 2013

Akin Gump: Bizarre Behavior in the Workplace

Respondent denies that discrimination of any nature was a factor in the ultimate decision to terminate Claimant. His behavior was described by several employees, including his direct supervisor as bizarre: he demanded isolation; he was volatile; and he frightened many of his co-workers.

* * * *

Reported outbursts and arguably bizarre behavior have made it uncomfortable and sometimes disruptive for many of his co-workers -- some of whom have voiced fear in working with or nearby him. In addition he is very difficult to supervise.

* * * *

C. Claimant was told that "there did not appear to be a good fit" because of his demand for isolation;

Excursis: Independence of thought is a hallmark of creative thinking.  Some law firms encourage independence of thought.  Patterson Belknap is a magnet for independent thinkers.  The firm was founded by attorneys who believed they could create a more congenial atmosphere on their own, away from the lockstep anonymity of larger firms.  Patterson Belknap carefully manages growth and purposefully operates with a single office in New York City.

Perhaps a notable fact is that Akin Gump has offices in several U.S. cities as well as around the world.  The firm prides itself on growth and seems to operate on the maxim: "The bigger the better."  Query: Is there a relationship between Patterson Belknap's single office policy and its parallel emphasis on independence of thought, on the one hand, and, on the other, Akin Gump's premium on firm size and its possible emphasis on uniformity of thought among its attorneys?  Is groupthink a hallmark of Akin Gump's decisionmaking?


Gary Freedman said...

An admission of Groupthink?

"After deliberating with Claimant's supervisor and other members of Respondent’s Management Committee, the decision was made to terminate Claimant."

Gary Freedman said...

About the author of the cited paper on creativity:

Dr. Shelley Carson received her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University in 2001, where she continues to conduct research, teach, and advise undergraduates. Her research on creativity, psychopathology, and resilience has been widely published in both national and international scientific journals, and her findings have been featured on the Discovery Channel, CNN, NPR, the BBC, and Radio Free Europe. In addition, Dr. Carson’s work has been noted in magazines such as Newsweek, Scientific American, and Psychology Today.

While winning multiple teaching awards at Harvard for her popular course Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students, Dr. Carson also maintains an active speaking schedule outside of the classroom, talking to such groups as the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, the National Council on Disability, the Massachusetts Manic Depressive and Depressive Association, and the One Day University lecture series.

Since 2006, she has also served as a senior consultant and subject matter expert for the Department-of-Defense project, which provides innovative online mental health assistance to service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Carson also writes the popular Psychology Today blog “Life as Art,” and her new book titled Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life will be released by Jossey-Bass in fall, 2010.

When not engaged in her busy work schedule, Dr. Carson loves to travel, play golf, read suspense novels, and spend time with her grown children. You can often find her walking in the woods near her home south of Boston, where she lives with her husband David.