Julie Kamps graduated from Harvard Law School in 1998 and moved to New York to work for Fried Frank. She spent 10 years as a litigation associate at the firm and was let go in January 2009.
Anyone who spends ten years at a firm without making partner might be tempted to sue. In Kamps’s case, she alleges that Fried Frank discriminated against her because she is a lesbian, that she was sexually harassed by two partners — male and female — and that false promises of impending partnership were made to her over the last four years.
Kamps previously filed an EEOC complaint, describing herself as an “openly lesbian, non-gender-conforming female.” Now she’s suing the firm for $50 million, plus interest, plus attorneys’ fees, plus reinstatement as an associate at the firm, plus promotion to partner. She appears to be representing herself (just like Aaron Charney, who initially proceeded pro se when he sued Sullivan & Cromwell).
Though she apparently wants to return to the firm, she does not hold back in ripping the firm a new one. She describes Fried Frank as misogynistic, anti-minority, tolerant of female-on-female sexual harassment, and, worst of all, partnership teases. After reading through her lawsuit, we wonder why she would want to go back to a firm that she tears to shreds in her complaint.
We were distracted from this wondering, though, by the loud ripping sounds. Hell hath no fury like a lesbian tenth-year associate scorned. We’ve got excerpts and the full complaint available for your perusal, after the jump.
Kamps has a knack for dramatic flourishes, starting her complaint with this attack on the firm:
Kamps says she was sexually harassed by male partner David Hennes and by female partner Janice MacAvoy, who is married (to a man). The alleged harassment by MacAvoy, a litigation partner and co-chair of the firm’s pro bono committee, was more severe:
MacAvoy also allegedly told Kamps to “wear women’s clothes” because she was making clients uncomfortable.
Kamps says she’s not the only minority to suffer discrimination at Fried Frank:
Kamps claims that the treatment by Fried Frank made her depressed and suicidal. And maybe paranoid, judging from this complaint:
What Kamps seems most angry about, though, is the partner carrot being dangled in front of her nose for years:
Here’s the full complaint for your reading pleasure:
Julie Kamps v. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (PDF)
Defendants include MacAvoy, Hennes, diversity and inclusion partner Valerie Ford Jacob, managing partner Justin Spendlove, and litigation partner William McGuinness. And 100 John Does. The firm tells the New York Post that the suit has “no substance.” We disagree; there’s lots of tabloid substance, but there may be no merit.
Ex-Fried Frank Associate Sues Firm, Claiming Harassment, Phony Reviews [AmLaw Daily]
Gay lawyer claim$ bias [New York Post]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Non-Gender-Conforming Termination