Elite law firm Boies Schiller hit by Talent Exodus


Welcome to Insider Weekly! I’m Matt Turner, business editor at Insider.

David Boies is a legendary litigator and co-founder of the elite law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

As the firm suffered a talent drain from a peak of 350 lawyers to around 175 today, many were quick to blame Boies’ work with Harvey Weinstein and Theranos, viewing his involvement in those scandals as a stain of reputation.

What hasn’t been reported before is the extent to which Jonathan Schiller, the second name above the door who has long worked in the shadow of Boies, shares the blame for the cultural turmoil of the ‘business.

Casey Sullivan sat down with Boies and more than 20 former Schiller colleagues for his behind-the-scenes look at the company. My main takeaway: People’s greatest strengths can also be their greatest weaknesses, which Casey notes in his Q&A below. Read on to find out more.

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A rare portrait of the right arm of David Boies

Jonathan Schiller, co-founder of Boies Schiller Flexner with a larger version of his face slightly behind him against a red to black gradient background

Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images; Samantha Lee / Insider

Casey Sullivan takes us through her four months of reporting on Jonathan Schiller.

What made you want to profile Schiller?

There’s something inherently interesting about a number 2 for a relatively famous person. Schiller often worked behind the scenes, but his mark on the company was huge – for better and for worse.

Schiller is also a controversial figure. People have strong feelings towards him. And the more people I talked to, the more it fueled my curiosity to learn what made him tick and try to learn his side of the story, even if he wasn’t talking to me.

What is one thing you would like readers to take away from this article?

People’s greatest strengths can also be their greatest weaknesses. Schiller had such competitive drive that helped make Boies Schiller what it became, adding so many large institutional clients.

At the same time, people said he was arrogant towards her. He could be deaf and hyper-territorial with clients. And that ultimately rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and contributed to the company’s challenges.

What is one of the most surprising things you learned while reporting?

David Boies’ go-to cocktail is a vodka and orange juice. But he only gets it from places that serve freshly squeezed orange juice.

Read the full story here: He helped build Boies Schiller. Behind the scenes, he was chasing people.

Inside Platoon Month From Hell

Peloton CEO John Foley next to a sinking Peloton bike on a red background with down arrows and the plummeting PTON stock chart

Getty; Marianne Ayala/Insider

A year ago, Peloton saw overwhelming demand for its stationary bikes. But today the company has too many bikes – and not enough people to buy them.

This striking reversal is emblematic of Peloton’s fall from pandemic stock pick to punchline. January was dominated by news of price hikes, layoffs and a possible production shutdown. The stock fell 24% on Thursday alone.

How Peloton got to this point.

He brought success to Nike. But at what cost ?

Nike CEO John Donahoe in front of Nike sneakers design and 4x3 logo

Nike; Rachel Mendelson / Insider

In his first two years as CEO of Nike, John Donahoe drove his stock soaring, even amid a series of scandals and the pandemic. Employees and analysts agree that Donahoe ushered in financial success. But some fear that this will come at a cost.

For them, the question is no longer whether Donahoe can navigate Nike culture, but how he changes it — and whether that could lead to an exodus of Nike veterans.

Here is what they told us.

Amazon employee anger over wages amid crisis

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy surrounded by dollar signs as an Amazon employee walks away in the background

PA; Marianne Ayala/Insider

A growing number of Amazon employees, including senior executives, are growing disillusioned with what they perceive to be below-market pay and are pushing for better compensation. Now, some insiders say the frustration has led to a higher attrition rate among senior executives.

At least 50 vice presidents left Amazon last year, which is unusual for a company known for the loyalty and long employment history of valued top executives.

Find out what Amazon employees are saying.

More of this week’s best reads:

Compiled with assistance from Jordan Parker Erb and Phil Rosen.


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