Clockwise around the tangled web: Wright, Dorsey, Landry, Laser, O'Hara.
Elyse Dorsey, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, tweeted on 8 August, "I held out as long as I could... But now I have things to say".
She and Angela Landry, who is currently counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, followed up by alleging that Joshua Wright, a former US Federal Trade Commission member and George Mason University law professor, had abused his position to have sex with them while they were his students in 2009, and on an ongoing basis once they graduated.
Dorsey said that she thought he was “harmless” as he was married with children, but when she became his research assistant and joined him on a trip to meet clients in California, she discovered he had booked a room with one bed.
Nothing sexual happened until the morning they were due to leave, when he asked if he could touch her, she said.
“I didn't say no, but I also didn't really feel like I had a choice to do that in the moment," Dorsey told the Law360 website.
He went on to pressure her into having sex in his campus office, which she resisted until she acqueised “to get out of the situation”, said the Kirkland partner.
Their sexual relationship lapsed once she graduated, but resumed when Wright became her senior at Wilson Sonsine Goodrich & Rosati in 2016.
In 2021 she went to work for him again on a contractual basis, but the work disappeared when she confronted him about a new relationship he had embarked upon with another GMU student, she said.
Dorsey decided to go public after joining Kirkland and file a complaint against Wright because "I don't want other people to have to deal with and go through what I went through... it must be much worse for others who tried to say no to him with even less power”, she said.
Landry simultaneously went public with her complaint. Her interactions with Wright began when he called her fidgeting in class “cute”, and "it just slowly escalated", she said. "It was a lot of this boundary expansion for months" until he kissed her at which point "it escalated quickly".
The Freshfields lawyer felt like she couldn’t say no and "make him mad, because if I do, he's going to take all of this away from me. Everything I've worked really hard for and that I want in my career", she said.
A good word from Wright got her a job at Freshfields when she graduated, according to the Law360 story.
As with Dorsey, it wasn’t until Landry and Wright found themselves working together, this time at the Federal Trade Commission, that their sexual contact resumed. Landry said that was unwanted on her part, and that when she told him she wanted to "keep things professional," Wright "took that as a joke or a challenge".
She alleged that while their sexual relationship was active, Wright helped her with her career, but that when he left the FTC his assistance dried up. "Once he was done with me, those things stopped coming", she said.
Landry alleged that she confronted Wright in 2020 about the behaviour which the Law360 article characterised as sexual misconduct, after he sent her an email apologising for his actions. She said that when they met in person, "He told me he couldn't even count the number of people he sent inappropriate messages to”.
“I suffered silently for a really long time. I was ready to accept suffering silently alone for the rest of my career, but I can't just sit back and let it continue”, she said.
Wright left his university post after the claims were published, and has now sued both lawyers for a total of $108m.
Calling Dorsey and Landry “scorned, former lovers”, Wright alleges that they “embarked on a vendetta” of “malicious lies” via social media and a biased press “to destroy his reputation, portray themselves as #metoo victims, and make a fortune in the process” after he refused to privately pay them millions of dollars.
Citing the California trip, Wright alleges that he and Dorsey were actually “already in a romantic, sexual relationship” while married to other people, “which changes the entire context of the events. The trip was not some ruse to get Defendant Dorsey into a hotel room alone, it was a romantic getaway for two lovers to spend time in wine country”.
Wright claims that he, not Dorsey, ended their on/off relationship, and that her account missed out the pertinent fact that his new girlfriend “was not just any other woman”, but a colleague of Dorsey’s who “she hated”.
“This person was not just some ‘former GMU student’ but was a romantic rival”, whom
Wright “had chosen…over Dorsey”, stated his complaint.
Wright included screenshots of Dorsey responding to his break-up text by replying, "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK”, and telling him, "I mean, I get you not wanting to see me. But you're going back to [her] - after how horribly she's treated you, your family, everyone you *say* you care about ... Jesus Christ".
Wright's complaint alleges that Dorsey turned up uninvited at his campus office and “loudly yelled at him regarding the end of their relationship”, then “In retaliation for the breakup… embarked on a pre-meditated plan to ruin Mr. Wright's life”.
That involved filing a complaint about him and smearing him to clients and employers, including Kirkland. Wright alleges that after Landry joined Kirkland, she led the firm to believe that he’d sexually abused multiple GMU students, leading it to terminate his position as an expert consultant.
She also attempted “to recruit other former girlfriends of Mr. Wright to join her crusade”, of whom Landry was one, according to his claim.
Wright argues that, like Dorsey, the Freshfields counsel was simply bitter because he dumped her. “When the relationship ended, also like Defendant Dorsey, Landry did not take it well”, alleges his complaint, exhibiting texts from Landry stating, "you were what I wanted and you couldn't be with me", and, "I was willing to do anything to be with you".
“These words… are not those of someone who was pressured to be in a relationship with Mr. Wright, as she is now claiming. These are the words of a scorned woman who had strong feelings for him”, states Wright’s complaint.
Two other women have also criticised Wright. Professor Christa Laser at Cleveland State University law school tweeted that she arranged to meet him because she was interested in getting hired, but that, “When we got to my car, he gave me a hug that was long and close, pressing too close to my body for a work meeting”.
Jennie O'Hara, who was a student in Wright's class in 2017, accused him of inserting inappropriate questions in exams, which included “asking us to calculate the utility a male employer gains from sexually harassing his female employees”.
“We notified administration. Nothing was done”, she tweeted, adding that his actions and those of another professor meant the university was guilty of “creating a dangerous environment for women”.
Freshfields and Kirkland & Ellis did not comment.