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Exposing a Firm's Seamier Side

Alan J. Labonte was executive director of the now-defunct Boston law firm Hutchins & Wheeler. Then, in June 1991, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Seven months later, the firm terminated him. Labonte fought back, suing the firm for handicap discrimination, and won a jury verdict of $3.5 million. Now he's telling all -- about the firm and the lawsuit -- in a new book, A Million Reasons: Why I Fought for the Rights of the Disabled, co-written with journalist Brock Brower.

In a review yesterday in The Boston Globe, Sacha Pfeiffer says the book is "great, juicy fun for the reader, opening a window onto the tricks law firms employ to pump up profits."

"[T]he book is a fascinating inside look at the complicated world of law firm economics, and its greatest appeal comes in Labonte's tales of the backstabbing, manipulating, and money-grubbing among lawyers. He names names, discloses top partners' annual compensation to the penny, and details the firm's disastrous finances."

Labonte relates, for example, how management committee members painted a gloomier-than-fact picture of the firm's finances so they could cut partners and shrink the profit-sharing pool. Elsewhere, Labonte tells how the chairman earned $880,000 in 1993 after partners pledged to limit their draw to $75,000 for the good of the firm.

Alluding to Labonte's descriptions in the book of lawyers at his former firm "sitting u there in their little glass kingdom," Pfeiffer concludes that he "leaves little doubt about how he feels about his former colleagues."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 23, 2006 at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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