A Haitian woman is suing one of the world’s largest law firms for $75 million, claiming that the firm used her only as window dressing because of her race, fired her for complaining about it, and finally blacklisted her in the New York law community.
Caroline Memnon, who is black, says in the lawsuit that despite her $125,000 salary as an associate at the New York office of London-based Clifford Chance LLP, she was never given any real work….
After firing her in 2002, Clifford Chance, known at the time as Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, “surreptitiously ‘blackballed’ [her] within the community of New York law firms,” the suit says….
“We believe this claim to be without merit and will be contesting the case,” a Clifford Chance spokeswoman said.
Did Clifford Chance “blackball” her? Or did they just give her a less-than-stellar job reference, which employers are certainly entitled to do? [FN1]
Two other law firms, Chadbourne & Parke and Manatt Phelps & Phillips, both offered Ms. Memnon employment and then withdrew their offers, according to the lawsuit….
[Ms. Memnon] was hired by Sullivan & Worcester’s New York office and began working in February 2007. Sullivan & Worcester terminated her employment that March, though she billed 143 hours in her first three weeks there, which is above the firm’s expectation of 150 hours a month, the suit says.
The shortness of her stay at Sullivan makes one wonder if other issues are at work here. Could Caroline Memnon be another Charlene Morisseau — although probably less fabulous, since the divalicious Morisseau is in a class by herself?
[FN1] Does anyone else remember that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David “recommends” someone for a job with Richard Lewis? Larry intends to make the recommendation a tepid one — “recommend,” in scare-quotes — but Richard doesn’t pick up on that. Law firms may be more attentive to such nuances.
Woman Sues Law Firm Over Blacklisting [New York Sun]