Launch House part ways with law firm conducting its harassment investigation

It’s been just over a month since Launch House, a bustling founders club backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Day One Ventures, publicly faced numerous allegations of harassment and assault.

In response to allegations first presented by news publication Vox, the startup said it would be independently investigated by a third party. But like some former members of Launch House noted that the company uses the same law firm for its defamation warnings and independent investigation.

While it’s not a violation to have the same law firm handle two somewhat related legal cases – one on behalf of Launch House for defamation and one to review claims raised by victims – it is a challenge. optical. After all, Launch House announced that the company should conduct a neutral investigation, but it’s not really “third party” if the same company pursues employees, members and journalists who speak out about the allegations.

Indeed, the appearance of a conflict of interest — or the idea that law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, LLP — might provide a more favorable outcome for Launch House due to its other work with the startup. , was enough to tip the boat. After a TechCrunch investigation into Launch House’s heavy reliance on outfits, co-founder and CEO Brett Goldstein said the startup had asked the law firm to end its investigation of the company and was turning to another law firm for its new perspective.

Goldstein said in a statement sent via a spokesperson to TechCrunch:

Launch House has asked Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, LLP to terminate its investigation and will engage a new law firm, which has never worked with Launch House before, to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.

Goldstein added that a completely separate team within Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff worked on the investigation, and that Launch House “trusts their ability to remain unbiased with these standard separation practices.”

However, he said in his statement, “we don’t want there to be even the appearance of a conflict, so a new law firm will be engaged as soon as possible to carry out this crucial work. “We need to learn exactly what happened, so we can better make sure it never happens again. TechCrunch contacted an attorney at the law firm but did not immediately respond.

The company’s most recent town hall meeting, held at the end of September, presented a forward-looking plan to its community. Beyond the survey, the company says it is working with a diversity, equity and inclusion firm to audit and update its processes. He also said he was expanding his zero-tolerance policy to cover a wider range of misconduct.

The full game, titled “What’s Next for Launch House”. is publicly available.

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