THE AM LAW DAILY

SURVEYS AND RANKINGS

MAGAZINE

SPECIAL REPORTS

The Firms

March 7, 2012 4:55 PM

Dishing the Dirt on Where The Am Law 200 Dines

Posted by Julie Triedman

As various media outlets reported Wednesday, the New York City Council is questioning one of the more high-profile initiatives launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration in recent years: the 19-month-old system under which Big Apple dining establishments get letter grades reflecting the results of health department inspections.

On the eve of a council hearing meant to assess whether the grades are unfairly hurting small businesses in terms of both customers and fines, the mayor held a press conference to defend the program. The city's health commissioner, meanwhile, released data showing that salmonella infections dipped 14 percent during the policy's first year, and that the proportion of eateries showing signs of mouse infestation on first inspection had dropped to 22 percent, compared to 32 percent before grading began.

Why does The Am Law Daily care? Of the 24,000 dining establishments inspected and graded to date, many are company cafeterias. And, it turns out, 25 of those belong to Am Law 200 firms.

All but four of the 25 earned an "A," though only Kenyon & Kenyon's cafeteria registered no violations.  The four firms whose lunchrooms fell short of an "A"? Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Davis Polk & Wardwell; and White & Case. (Overall, about 72 percent of restaurants earn an "A," according to The New York Times.)

Under the grading system, an eatery gets two shots at the top grade. For those that don't qualify upon an initial inspection, violation points are tallied, but no grade is recorded. An inspector then returns to the premises unannounced within a month for a second checkup. If the venue is still found lacking, it is awarded either a "B," a "C," or—if the proprietor of the offending establishment chooses to contest the inspection results—a status of "grade pending." (The process is explained in greater detail in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the health department Web site.) 

In Cadwalader's case, the firm was marked as "grade pending" after a follow-up inspection of its cafeteria on January 24 resulted in 25 violation points. The venue's "critical" violations—those worth multiple points—included hot food not being kept hot enough, cold food not kept cold enough, and "food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service." (Inspectors had recorded 26 violation points during an initial visit on January 13.)

In a statement issued through a spokesman, Cadwalader said it relies on an outside food service vendor  used by property managers across the country. "Our cafeteria has consistently maintained top grades and reviews for over ten years," the firm said in the statement, adding that any violations identified are quickly corrected. "We hold our outside vendors accountable to maintain the highest standards." The spokesman declined to identify the vendor or say whether the findings were being contested.

Cravath, too, was hit with 25 violation points following a February 2 inspection of its "Cravath Cafe"—down from the 39 violations points it racked up on January 19. Critical violations detected on
February 2 included cold food not being kept cold enough and "filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas."

Cravath—which is also listed as "grade pending" and whose cafeteria received an "A" in February 2011—declined to comment on the health department's findings. The firm's food service is operated by Flik International, a division of Compass Group North America. Flik contracts with several other law firms, as well as such companies as Freddie Mac, Pepsi Bottling Group, and Schering-Plough, according to trade publication FoodService Director.

In a statement provided to The Am Law Daily, Flik spokeswoman Nicole Immediato said: "We are contesting a number of notations on the most recent inspection at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In the past we have been successful in overturning the inspector's findings during the hearing."

Davis Polk, which also fell short of the "A" range, is among the other firms that employs Flik. According to the health department's Web site, "Davis Polk Dining Room" received a "B" following a November 17, 2011, inspection that resulted in 24 violation points—the same number recorded on October 31. The firm's critical violations included cold food not kept cold enough; "food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred"; and "sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored."

Through a spokesman, Davis Polk declined to comment. In 2010, according to the trade publication FoodService Director, the firm paid Flik more than $2 million for meal services. In exchange, FoodService Director notes, the company provided 500 breakfasts, 850 lunches, and 400 dinners a day. 

In a separate statement issued in response to an inquiry about Davis Polk's grade, Flik's Immediato said: "The health and safety of our customers, clients and associates are the highest priority for Flik International. Department of Health Inspections are handled with the utmost seriousness and are given priority to correct any infractions, most of which are rectified at the time of inspection, to ensure that we are in compliance with New York City Health Department guidelines."

White & Case, too, got a "B." The firm's cafeteria registered 14 violation points on September 13, 2011. Critical violations included "raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with [Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points] plan" and "filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas."

What follows is a list of the firms joining Kenyon & Kenyon on the health department's A-list (not to be confused with The American Lawyer's A-List), along with the number of violation points accumulated, the most recent inspection date, and the critical violations uncovered.

Dewey & LeBoeuf 13 violation points, November 28, 2011. Critical violations: Cold food not kept cold enough, hot food not kept hot enough, and "[p]ersonal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared."

Kirkland & Ellis 13 violation points, April 21, 2011. Critical violations: "Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service" and "food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred."

Mayer Brown (listed on DOH Web site as Mayer, Brown & Platt) 13 violation points, December 5, 2011. Critical violations: Hot food not kept hot enough and ""food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy 13 violation points, September 12, 2011. Critical violations: Cold food not kept cold enough and "food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Ropes & Gray 13 violation points, October 18, 2011. Critical violations detected at what is listed as Ropes & Gray Cafe: "Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant.  Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared" and "Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Covington & Burling 12 violation points, December 2, 2011. Critical violation: cold food not kept cold enough.

Debevoise & Plimpton, 12 violation points, November 2, 2011. Critical violation: "Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas."

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, 12 violation points, July 19, 2011. What is listed as Paul Weiss Rifkin Wharton had one critical violation: Cold food not kept cold enough.

Sullivan & Cromwell 12 violation points, October 12, 2011. Critical violations: Cold food not kept cold enough and "food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred."

Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton 11 violation points, August 24, 2011. Critical violation: "Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ten violation points, January 31, 2012. Critical violation: "Food protection certificate not held by supervisor of food operations."

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ten violation points, August 12, 2011. What is listed as Skaden Arps, Slate received one critical violation: "Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas."

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson nine violation points, August 19, 2011. What is listed at Fried Frank Cafeteria had one critical violation: Cold food not kept cold enough.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett nine violation points, March 29, 2011. What is listed as Simpson Thacher Barlet Cafe had one critical violation: "Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred."

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler eight violation points, October 10, 2011. What is listed as Patterson Employee Cafeteria had one critical violation: "Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Reed Smith eight violation points, August 19, 2011. Critical violation: "Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

Hughes Hubbard & Reed 3 violation points, May 17, 2011. No critical violations.

Shearman & Sterling 3 violation points, January 26, 2012. What is listed as Shearman & Sterling Cafe received no critical violations.

Proskauer Rose 2 violation points, May 10, 2011. No critical violations.

Sidley Austin 2 violation points, January 6, 2012. What is listed as Sidley Austin Cafeteria received no critical violations. 

For more detailed information, go to the health department Web site and search by firm name.

Make a comment

Comments (1)
Save & Share: Facebook | Del.ic.ious | | Email |

Reprints & Permissions

Comments

Report offensive comments to The Am Law Daily.

Cadwalader uses CulinArt.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In





By: TwitterButtons.comhttp://www.facebookloginhut.com/facebook-login/


theamlawdaily@alm.com




From the Law.com Newswire

Sign up to receive Legal Blog Watch by email
View a Sample

Advertisement