A Punch in Pillsbury Doughboy’s Tummy

“Anyone who talks about you…or your business…is media!”

It doesn’t only take a camera phone to compromise what you assumed was private.

Ever been somewhere in public when someone is on their mobile phone speaking in a voice people in the next zip code could hear? For most of us it’s just an annoyance. But, for others it could be grist for a news story and/or blog.

Consider the case of Pillsbury’s Bob Robbins, head of the Corporate and Securities practice, reportedly on the phone with COO Rick Donaldson while Robbins was riding on an AMTRAK express from Washington, DC, to New York City. He was overheard (indeed, apparently you couldn’t help but hear him) telling Donaldson the names of 15 to 20 attorneys who should be laid off in four offices by the end of March.

Unfortunately for Robbins and Pillsbury, a law student was hearing all of this and communicated the information to Above the Law, a Legal Tabloid. The student, self-identified as Jennifer Everest, having heard him say his name during the phone call, tracked down Robbins and contacted him by email asking if he had been on the same 2pm AMTRAK express she was riding at the time. He responded in the affirmative and asked if he had left something behind.

Jennifer answered him quite succinctly: “Why yes, Bob. Your discretion.”

Pillsbury has confirmed the gaffe and apologized in a prepared statement to Legal Pad.

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