NY Legalweek conference comes under fire for multiple alleged occurrences of sexual harassment

A disturbing report via Legal IT Insider

They write

Edited 5 February 3.30pm GMT to say that the majority but not all of the incidents reported by Deeanna Fleener took place at Legalweek. 

A post on LinkedIn has sparked demands for immediate condemnation, action, and widespread change after an attendee at Legalweek said that in a group of 29 women in attendance at the New York conference, 20 reported having experienced inappropriate behaviour at a conference. The majority – albeit not all – of the incidents reported are said to have taken place at Legalweek. Some of the behaviour identified would be classed as sexual assault. 

Deeanna Fleener, VP of solution management at Deloitte, posted on Friday (2 February): “A great Legalweek has been clouded by some unfortunate actions. I’m sharing some anonymous comments from women that were in attendance this week. In a group of 29 women, 20 had personal stories of inappropriate behavior at a conference. That is unacceptable and we have to do better.” 

Examples that Fleener gave include anonymous quotes such as, “A leader at a firm showed me a video of 2 girls under 20 in his bedroom naked and invited me and the other woman I was with to join him,” and, “Last night, I was propositioned in the most graphic way I’ve ever heard. When I turned him down, he tried to convince me to leave with him by telling me his pregnant wife was on bedrest and I was doing her a favor.” 

Even more seriously, Fleener also says that a woman went to the bathroom and was pulled into the men’s room by a man who then wouldn’t let her leave, and that a young salesperson was grabbed under her skirt by a coworker. 

At the time of writing, the post has 397 reactions, 190 comments and 19 reposts. Both men and women in the industry have responded by condemning the behaviour reported and sharing their own experiences of suffering such behaviour or hearing direct reports of it while at the conference in New York. Many point out that this behaviour is by no means isolated to Legalweek and is prevalent across legal tech conferences in general. 

In a post on Saturday (3 February) Marla Crawford, general counsel at Cimplifi, said that she had heard about the issues of harassment at ‘off campus’ gatherings at conferences generally and Legalweek recently (toward women mostly, but also aimed at men), and has raised the issue with the Legalweek Advisory Board. She called on service providers to set expectations with all conference attendees about the kind of conduct that will not be tolerated.  


Legalweek comes under fire for multiple alleged occurrences of sexual harassment