Robyn Keller was a successful lawyer, a retired partner with the power firm Hogan Lovells. She described how she was fired in a piece published by the Wall Street Journal.
After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, global law firm Hogan Lovells organized an online conference call for female employees. As a retired equity partner still actively serving clients, I was invited to participate in what was billed as a “safe space” for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me.
After she express a reasoned support for the Dobbs decision, she was attacked as a racist.
Someone made a formal complaint to the firm. Later that day, Hogan Lovells suspended my contracts, cut off my contact with clients, removed me from email and document systems, and emailed all U.S. personnel saying that a forum participant had made “anti-Black comments” and was suspended pending an investigation. The firm also released a statement to the legal website Above the Law bemoaning the devastating impact my views had on participants in the forum—most of whom were lawyers participating in a call convened expressly for the purpose of discussing a controversial legal and political topic. Someone leaked my name to the press.
She filed her own complaint which the firm had investigated by an outside law firm. Her firing stuck.
[M]y contracts with the firm were terminated, and other firms, wary of the publicity, blackballed me—all after an unblemished 44-year career.
The response of the rabidly anti-Dobbs participants on the call wasn’t surprising. What was shocking, at least to me, was how eagerly Hogan Lovells kowtowed to a woke faction inside its workforce. Several women on the call—as well as male lawyers at the firm—contacted me later to offer private support for my right to express my views. Those former colleagues must now realize that they are in a hostile work environment. If this could happen to me, anyone who expresses a disfavored opinion—even on a matter of law—can expect the same treatment: immediate cancellation without concern for client interests, due process or fairness.
Hogan Lovells is the law firm providing pro bono representation to Brett Kimberlin in his latest attempt overturn his Speedway Bombing convictions.