It’s been a little over a month launch housea thriving venture-backed founding club backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Day One Ventures has publicly faced numerous allegations of harassment and assault.
In response to the allegations first surfaced by the news publication Vox, the startup claimed it would undergo an independent third-party investigation. But like some former members of Launch House has noted that the firm uses the same law firm for both its defamation warnings and its 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 investigate victims’ allegations — it’s an optical challenge. After all, Launch House advertised that the company was expected to conduct a neutral investigation, but it’s not really a “third party” if the same company goes after employees, members and journalists who speak about the allegations.
Indeed, the appearance of a conflict of interest — or the idea that the law firm, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, LLP — could offer a more favorable outcome to Launch House because of its other work with the startup was enough to rock the boat. Following a londonbusinessblog.com investigation into Launch House’s heavy reliance on the outfit, co-founder and CEO Brett Goldstein said the startup has asked the law firm to end its investigation into the company and is turning to another law firm for a fresh look.
Goldstein said in a statement sent to londonbusinessblog.com through a spokesperson:
Launch House has asked Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, LLP to close the investigation and will hire a new law firm, one who has never worked with Launch House before, to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.
Goldstein added that an entirely separate team within Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff has been working on the investigation and that Launch House “relied on their ability to remain impartial with those standard divorce practices.”
However, he said in his statement: “We don’t want even the appearance of a conflict, so a new law firm will be brought in as soon as possible to carry out this crucial work… We need to know exactly what happened.” , so the best thing we can do is make sure it never happens again.” londonbusinessblog.com contacted an attorney at the law firm, but didn’t hear back immediately.
The company’s most recent town hall, held in late September, presented a forward-looking plan to the community. Aside from the investigation, the company claims it is working with a diversity, equality and inclusion firm to monitor and update its processes. It also said it is expanding its zero-tolerance policy to cover a wider range of wrongdoing.
The full deck, titled “What’s next for Launch House.” is publicly available.