Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Attorney Rebuked in Press Release Won’t Join Latham & Watkins
By DON PARRET, Staff Writer
Frode Jensen III, the former Pillsbury Winthrop partner who was set to join Latham & Watkins before a statement was publicized by his ex-firm alleging sexual harassment and waning productivity, has dropped plans to join Latham’s New York office.
Jensen, who made the announcement Monday through a friend, was due to start at Latham in October.
“As a result of recent events, I have decided not to proceed with my partnership at Latham & Watkins,” Jensen said through the friend to The New York Law Journal in yesterday’s edition. “I am consulting with attorneys regarding these events and I have no further comment at this time.”
Jensen also said, “I don’t know why Pillsbury would do such a mean-spirited and hurtful thing. I am sure that the facts and circumstances relating to the allegations are covered by a confidentiality agreement, which Pillsbury violated in the first place.”
When Los Angeles-based Latham announced it had hired Jensen, who had been a partner in the Stamford, Conn., office of Pillsbury, the firm was surprised how rival Pillsbury responded.
“Jensen’s departure comes on the heels of sexual harassment allegations ...and a significant decline in his productivity,” Pillsbury chairwoman Mary Cranston said in a press release, which went on to say that Jensen had been “largely absent” from his Stamford office this year.
“Pillsbury Winthrop previously had intended not to comment on Mr. Jensen’s departure in order to downplay the event,” it said.
The press release quoted Cranston saying: “Our firm values respect and integrity above all else. We investigated the harassment claims, concluded that there was a reasonable likelihood that harassment had occurred and responded with a variety of measures. It is always sad to lose a friend and colleague to another firm, however, under the circumstances of the past year, Mr. Jensen’s move is probably in the best interest of all concerned, and we wish him well with his new firm.”
Cranston, who works in the firm’s San Francisco office, explained in the press release that “Latham & Watkins did not contact anyone in Pillsbury Winthrop’s management in connection with a reference check for Mr. Jensen.”
Cranston did not return calls for comment on the matter yesterday. Crystal Rockwood, a spokeswoman for Pillsbury, said the firm would not comment on the matter.
Latham’s spokeswoman Pearl Piatt also declined comment.
Jensen, 52, headed Pillsbury’s mergers and acquisitions group and was described by Latham in its press release as a “prominent corporate lawyer.”
Jensen practiced for 14 years at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, a New York firm that merged with Pillsbury Madison & Sutro in 2001.
With Pillsbury, Jensen worked on several large deals, including the $35 billion merger of Swedish drug maker Astra AB and British pharmaceuticals company Zeneca Group PLC.
Jenson was the third senior partner that Latham lured from Pillsbury in recent months.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company