The Managing Partner of Latham & Watkins has resigned after he threatened a woman with jail over sexually explicit messages he sent to her.
American Bill Voge, who was based in the US firm's London office, met the woman in September through his membership of a men's Christian organisation called the New Canaan Society ("A group of men who gather together to encourage each other in friendship and faith and to support each other to be better husbands, fathers — and better men — in the marketplace and in our communities." ). As part of his work with the group, Voge volunteered to lead her to a “Christian reconciliation”. But instead of finding God, the pair exchanged graphic sexual texts.
However the relationship soured in November when the woman decided that Voge, who is married, "took things too far" by trying to convince her to meet him in person for the first time in his hotel room. She began contacting and telling her story to Voge's personal lawyer, his fellow partners at Latham and members of his family. She told his lawyer in an email, "Bill Voge knew I was in pain and he took advantage of that", and said Latham "should know about his character and what he does when he travels...What other women has he done this to?”
Voge's lawyer attempted to persuade her to stop contacting people about his indiscretion by accusing her of breaking various US cyberstalking and harassment laws. Then in January, reports Law360, Voge contacted the woman's husband directly by text message. “It was sinful, but not a crime”, Voge told him. “How many times can I apologize for my actions?...Both of us were wrong". Voge also told him that the woman would go to prison if she continued with her campaign, promising, “It is not threats about jail. She will be in jail!!!” He said that he would make sure he was present to personally witness her arrest, and that he intended to make an example of her to “help the next victim”.
On Tuesday, Latham said in a statement that Voge had resigned after making "a series of voluntary disclosures" to the executive committee. It criticised his threats to imprison a woman (even though it would have been an act of Christian charity), stating that "while not unlawful", his conduct was "not befitting the leader of the firm". In a statement accompanying his resignation, Voge said, “I deeply regret my lapse of judgment and I am sorry for the distress and embarrassment I have caused my family, friends, and colleagues. My conduct falls well below the personal and professional standards I have tried to uphold throughout my entire career”'.