The Life

October 13, 2010 2:17 PM

About Those Snappy Lawyers in 'The Social Network'

Posted by Brian Baxter

For The Am Law Daily, one of the many pleasures of watching The Social Network, the recent Hollywood blockbuster that has mostly received rave reviews, was watching Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg face off against his adversaries while being deposed in the conference room of a California law firm.

After seeing the movie a week ago, we called around to a few of the lawyers embroiled in the (very real) Facebook-ConnectU litigation to chat about the film. We wondered just how far the movie strayed into outright fiction in portraying them or their clients. Alas, save for one attorney, none of them called us back.

Now screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has revealed that some of the lawyers in the film were composite characters, in part due to the overwhelming number of lawyers involved in the litigation. The Wrap reports that Sorkin posted a comment on a comedy blog defending himself and The Social Network against charges the movie offers a misogynistic portrayal of women.

In defending himself and his film, Sorkin notes that one of the women playing a lawyer representing Zuckerberg--a character called "Marilyn Delpy," a second-year associate played by Rashida Jones--and another representing Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin were created to portray strong female characters.

"I invented two characters--one was Rashida Jones's 'Marilyn,' the youngest lawyer on the team and a far cry from the other women we see in the movie. She's plainly serious, competent and, when asked, has no problem speaking the truth as she sees it to Mark," Sorkin writes.

"The other was Gretchen, Eduardo's lawyer (in reality there was a large team of litigators who all took turns deposing witnesses but I wanted us to become familiar with just one person--a woman, who, again, is nobody's trophy," Sorkin adds. (We kept Sorkin's somewhat confusing punctuation intact.)

Sorkin makes no mention of the lead male lawyer advising Zuckerberg in the film, a character called "Sy" played by John Getz. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner I. Neel Chatterjee, who represented Facebook in the litigation, didn't respond to a request for comment about the movie.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Peter Calamari, who once represented ConnectU in litigation with Facebook, declined to comment on the case when reached by The Am Law Daily. (An arbitration panel confirmed Quinn Emanuel's $13 million contingency fee for its work last month, according to sibling publication the New York Law Journal.)

Calamari did tell us that seeing the movie was "not high on my list of priorities."

Sometimes, maybe, real life is dramatic enough.

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