Minority Issues, Racism, Staff Attorneys / Discovery Attorneys

Yolanda Young Amends Complaint, Intends To Seek Class Certification Against Covington

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGYolanda Young is back with a vengeance, and an amended complaint against Covington & Burling.
The brief synopsis on Young is that she was a Covington & Burling staff attorney who sued the firm for racial discrimination. Covington has denied the charges at every point. The firm briefly got the suit tossed, but it was reinstated.
Young’s basic allegations remain the same:

Through its pattern and practice, Defendant, Covington & Burling LLP, systematically relegates its black attorneys to its lowest rung of practicing attorneys — the position of staff attorney. Firm policy bans the promotion of staff attorneys to the position of associate and, ultimately, to partner. This prohibition adversely impacts Defendant’s black attorneys by consigning the majority to earning less money, performing less challenging work, and enjoying less opportunity for professional growth than Defendant’s nonblack attorneys.

This time around, Young argues that black staff attorneys at Covington are more qualified than their white colleagues:

Young points out that while Covington uses a combination of law school grades, journal membership, and clerkship experience to determine the assignment of its attorneys, many of their partners — who decide how an attorney should be assigned — lack such credentials, but presumably are able to perform adequately at partner-level.
Young also asserts that black practicing attorneys, as a group, typically graduated from higher ranked law schools than their white colleagues and that, more often than their white counterparts, black staff attorneys attended law schools from which Covington’s partners, counsel, and associates graduated.

I think I know what is going on here. See, this is a revenge fantasy lawsuit. And Covington has been typecast in the role of Major King Kong.
After the jump, Young brings charts to back up her claims, and announces her full intentions exclusively to Above the Law.

The new complaint includes a disparate impact claim. Why did she add a disparate impact claim? When we spoke to Ms. Young, she let us know where this is going:

My attorney amended the complaint [and will] open it up as a class action in the near future on the basis that blacks by being relegated to the staff attorney group suffer a disparate impact. People may want to doubt my personal account of harassment (though Covington has admitted to much of it), but the numbers don’t lie. We did the calculations and produced charts that show that black attorneys at Covington attended higher ranked schools than their white counterparts. We also demonstrate that the criteria the firm uses to hire associates — honors, journal, and clerkship — isn’t met by many of the firm’s partners.

Here are the charts she included in the complaint.
Young amended complaint 2.jpg
Young is also claiming that black attorneys are more qualified:
Young amended complaint 4.jpg
Do you find this information compelling? If you do — but feel excluded from her potential class action lawsuit — you can still be a part of the fun. Young reports:

I’m also seeking donations to the Yolanda Young Legal Fund.

I can’t wait to see how “Chapter Five: The Revenge of the Giant Face” turns out.
Yolanda Young Amends Complaint Against Covington & Burling [On Being a Black Lawyer]
Earlier: Covington and Its ‘Staff Attorney Ghetto’?
Yolanda Young v. Covington & Burling: Case Dismissed

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