Letter to the Editor: HLS “Apprentice”


I happened across Raffi Melkonian’s commentary regarding alumnus Jennifer Massey’s role on the Apprentice. Mr. Melkonian incorrectly makes many false statements about Ms. Massey’s legal career. As someone who worked alongside Ms. Massey for her first couple of years as a lawyer and was constantly impressed by her profsesionalism and her talents, I would like to set the record straight.

First of all, Mr. Melkonian ignorantly contested the fact that Ms. Massey was “heavily recruited” by her firm, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. I was a fellow associate of Ms. Massey’s, and I can assure you that she WAS heavily recruited–she was our number one pick out of 20 summer associates. She was one of two associates picked to go into the business & technology group, which in 1999 was the most coveted group because of the access the group provided to internet start up companies as well as fortune 500 companies such as Cisco Systems. She was immediately staffed on several IPOs, and was so personable and competent that she brought in 2 IPOs of her own as a first year. She had a tremendous working relationship with her clients, many who requested her time and again in the private placement arena. The partner with whom she worked, Nora Gibson left Brobeck in 2000 to go to Wilson, Sonsini, and recruited Ms. Massey to leave with her, but Ms. Massey was encouraged to stay on in the Brobeck group and did so.

So, she was in fact working with management teams, both in her role as a corporate associate in 1999-2001, and as a securities litigator in 2001-2004. When Brobeck folded in 2002, Ms. Massey was not “bailed out” as Mr. Melkonian speculates, but was taken to Clifford Chance 6 months prior to Brobeck’s demise, by a partnership that did not take everyone but chose Ms. Massey to form Clifford Chance’s new San Francisco office.

Ms. Massey is not a “junior securities litigation associate,” but now a senior associate working in the Palo Alto office of Clifford Chance. She was one of only a handful of associates who was permitted to stay after the San Francisco office closed.

Mr. Melkonian needs to get his facts straight before composing petty, false statements about a Harvard Law alumnus who has done very well for herself.

H. Hou

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