For years, a former law partner at K&L Gates in Manhattan sent thousands of threats and harassing messages, often including racist and antisemitic attacks, to lawyers at the firm. Willie Dennis also physically threatened former coworkers’ families.
Dennis has been sentenced to two years in prison on three counts of cyber-stalking. Prosecutors had sought four-and-a-half years, but Dennis’ lawyer, David Cohen, noted in a court filing that his client expressed remorse for his actions.
Beginning in 2018, Dennis began making the threats, and they increased by 2019 after he was fired. One victim moved out of state to get away from him, and another slept with a loaded gun near his bed. Dennis told one victim to “sleep with one eye open” and told others they would become “biblical symbols.”
Dennis, who is black, had sued the law firm in 2020, alleging that he was fired due to his raising concerns about alleged racial and gender biases. K&L Gates denies this claim. The criminal case put that lawsuit on hold.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams described the intimidation as “relentless” and said, “the sentence imposed today ensures that Dennis’s victims will no longer needlessly endure his attacks.”
K&L Gates was the 13th-largest law firm in the country in 2022, with 1,698 employees. Its $1 billion in gross revenue ranked 50th in the world.