“We are all screwups.”
When we start out in our professional lives if we are blessed there is a wise and caring mentor. That guide will make a mantra of the above. Then the next line from that man or woman will be:
“And, it will all come down to how you handle the mess.”
Well, it looks like Paul Weiss associate Matteo Godi has been able to navigate the early screwup in his career quite well. This article brings that up-to-date.
Background: It was the story in political and legal media. Hacking. Who doesn’t love that. He thought it was all going down anonymously. See, Godi had gotten into the Wiki pages of the competitors of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the SCOTUS nomination. He had a bee in his bonnet that it would have been beneficial to position and package those as less liberal than Judge Jackson. At one time he had clerked for her. Obviously, he didn’t understand how digital and DC work. He was outed.
So, where is Godi now?
Well, he still is at Paul Weiss, as an associate. That’s a very good job, especially for lawyers determined to create brandnames in progressive causes.
The Paul Weiss chairperson Brad Karp, Bloomberg Law documented, is one of the most well connected in the Biden Administration. Blue Tent reports Paul Weiss is among the top five contributors to the Democratic Party. The other four are Kirkland & Ellis, Akin Gump, Latham & Watkins, and Wilmer Hale. Money can provide access to all those critical points of connection in federal government. That can help shape regulations and legislation useful for clients. The American Prospect details that. Karp is actually a registered lobbyist. That clustering is the platform for the kind of rainmaking Big Law has to do to recruit, retain, and motivate star power.
So, what went down after the outing? My hunch is that Godi might have been collectively showered with tender mercies, both outside and inside Paul Weiss.
Not only did he hold onto his job at Paul Weiss. He continued to participate in those kinds of assignments that further a career. As many know, it’s the “free market” system of assignments in Big Law. Partners do the assigning. That one assignment can kick off a career. Godi had been part of the legal team who won for the client in the SCOTUS ruling in Cummings v Premier Rehab.
Incidentally, Paul Weiss Big Gun Kannon Shanmugan headed that Cummings team. What an opportunity working with him. Reuters Legal reports that Shanmugan pulls down $1,824 p/h.
Also the storms of public opinion have moved out to sea. At one time his contact information – email and phone number – had been removed from his website profile. Now that data is back.
So how did Godi navigate out of that mess?
I see a three-part playbook.
The most important play is to lay low. Think about it: Had Leon Black done that he might be at least 70% percent there in reputation restoration. But, instead, he set himself up to be eaten alive by the media machines. That was, I assess, through a countersuit he launched against his former mistress who had sued him
As I explain in this article I published Friday in O’Dwyer Public Relations, before entering any kind of litigation it is necessary to calculate the publicity risk.
For Godi, part of that laying low was that the law firm held back contact information. He was lucky. Before it did that I, wearing my official journalist hat, had gotten through to him. He hung up before I could conduct the interview. Perhaps he has gotten smoother in his social skills since then.
Another page from the playbook is to keep working. Obviously Godi has done just that. That’s the Protestant Ethic: salvation through hard work.
A third is not to run. He stayed. He took the heat.
This blog wishes Godi well. However, I don’t see any end to this story. Likely Hulu will make a documentary on trail-blazing Justice Jackson. A featured snippet is bound to be about her loyalist former clerk Godi. That’s just the way media works.
Full Disclosure: I had been on retainer two months with Paul Weiss. I left. The fit wasn’t me. I had also been a Harvard Law School dropout. That wasn’t a fit for me either. Law in those tiers seems to me to a peculiar institution.
Connect with Editor-in-Chief Jane Genova at email@example.com. She helps businesses conjure up magic in their storytelling. One client said, “She makes shipping containers ‘sexy.’”