Employment Discrimination

Last week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the American Lawyer all mentioned an unusual debt in the bankruptcy case of Dewey & LeBoeuf. A former D&L associate, Emily Saffitz, was listed as being owed $416,667 — a sum big enough to put her in the top 20 unsecured creditors of the firm. This was apparently due to a “severance arrangement.”

Why did Dewey agree to pay an associate from the class of 2006 more than $400K in severance? According to the Times, Saffitz received this severance agreement after she “complained over how she was treated by a former Dewey partner and told the firm’s management.” According to the Journal, she filed “a complaint regarding sexual discrimination by a Dewey partner who is no longer with the firm.”

Inquiring minds want to know: Who was the partner in question? And what did he allegedly say or do to Emily Saffitz?

Finding out such details is difficult. Settlements in cases of alleged sex discrimination or sexual harassment often contain non-disclosure or non-disparagement provisions that prevent the parties from speaking about what took place.

So we didn’t expect we would ever find out which former Dewey partner triggered complaints from Emily Saffitz. Until, well, he emailed us….

Multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know A Partner Whose Alleged Actions Led to a $400K ‘Severance Arrangement’?”

Not cool, bro.

Californians tend to be quite protective of the state’s reputation as a progressive paradise. Where equality is important for everyone, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. Where organic food is simply better, no matter how much it costs. Where the earthquakes are a fine price to pay for an entire year of temperate weather.

So, when the New York Times ran an extensive article this weekend about an accomplished female attorney who sued the major venture capital firm where she is a partner for sex discrimination, it puts a real fly in the state’s — and specifically the tech industry’s — collective ointment.

The Times’s extensive story concerns Ellen Pao, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former associate at Cravath. She has sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major VC firm.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the suit, as well as what it might mean for attorneys who work within the emerging “brogrammer” culture in Silicon Valley…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “High-Profile Sex Discrimination Suit Shines Ugly Light on Silicon Valley ‘Bro Culture’”

As we reported late on Monday night, Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed for bankruptcy — the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history, in fact. You can access a copy of Dewey’s voluntary petition to enter Chapter 11 over here (via Scribd).

Yesterday afternoon, Dewey’s lawyers appeared in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The firm’s lead lawyer, Albert Togut, introduced himself as follows: “I can finally confirm the worst-kept secret of the year. I am counsel for Dewey & LeBoeuf.” He’s going to be a very busy man over the weeks and months ahead.

Let’s find out what happened at the hearing, and also take a closer look at one of Dewey’s most intriguing unsecured creditors: a (rather attractive) litigatrix, a former Dewey associate now at another firm, who is owed more than $400,000 in “severance” by D&L….

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(And a report on Dewey’s day in bankruptcy court.)”

Yolanda Young probably isn't smiling today.

Litigation against law firms: it’s all the rage right now. Earlier this week, Sara Randazzo of Am Law Daily did a round-up of over a dozen lawsuits in which law firms have been named as defendants.

Such lawsuits come, and such lawsuits go. Let’s look at the “going” side of the ledger. A federal judge just dismissed the high-profile lawsuit filed by Yolanda Young — a pundit, published memoirist (affiliate link), and Georgetown-trained lawyer, as noted on her website bio — against the elite D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Covington Prevails in Discrimination Suit Brought by Yolanda Young”

If so, and if you happen to be a “[y]oung attractive hip female,” keep reading….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Want To Work for a ‘Legal Baller’?”

* Landmark case alert. This just in from SCOTUS: the separation of church and state even applies to employment discrimination lawsuits. Say hello to the “ministerial exception.” [New York Times]

* Paul Ceglia was fined for ignoring a discovery order. He also has to reimburse Facebook for all of its related, Biglaw legal fees. Here’s looking forward to Ceglia’s bankruptcy filing. [Bloomberg]

* “[D]emand for lawyers is declining,” but we definitely need another law school in Texas. A federal judge quit his job to become the dean of the ten millionth law school in the state. [National Law Journal]

* Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to the murder of Stephany Flores yesterday, but we know what most Americans are thinking. WHERE’S THE JUSTICE FOR NATALEE HOLLOWAY?!!?!?!?!! [CNN]

* Proof that Casey Anthony isn’t mentally ill: she’s been thinking of kicking Jose Baez’s limelight-loving, camera-hogging ass to the curb. Time for Cheney Mason’s takeover. [New York Post]

* Lindsay Lohan is being sued for allegedly running over a paparazzo. But really, she should be sued for thinking she can play Elizabeth Taylor. Come on, that’s just not right. [Hollywood Reporter]

What do Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray have in common (besides the seven shared letters in their firm names)?

  • They are both leading law firms.
  • They both have major presences, their two biggest offices, in New York and Boston.

  • They both have blue and gray in their logos.
  • And they are both involved in litigation with former employees claiming employment discrimination.

Let’s take a look at the latest news — a fresh lawsuit filed against Proskauer, and updates in a lawsuit against Ropes that we’ve previously covered….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Discrimination Lawsuit Potpourri: Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray”

This doctor has a real hands-on approach.

* An EEOC lawsuit claims that white workers were fired for being muy perezoso, and Hispanic workers were hired instead. Well, that’s a reverse stereotype if I’ve ever heard one before. [Businessweek]

* Guns only have two enemies: rust and liberals. And apparently there are a lot of liberals in the nation’s capital, because the D.C. Circuit upheld a ban on assault weapons. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters have sued, demanding that their arrests be deemed unconstitutional. Right there! That’s the bank! That’s the bank that took my freedom! [Bloomberg]

* Tone Lōc should’ve followed his own advice. You don’t play around with the funky, cold medina. He was sentenced this week for domestic violence and weapons charges. [Burbank Leader]

* Thinking of posting before and after boob job pics on your website with the patients’ names listed? Picture a Baywatch-style slomo of women running to their lawyers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Really? You're still suing?

* Sorry Missouri, but your reign as the “Show Me” state is over. Thanks to its immigration law, Alabama is going to be taking over as the “Show Me Your Papers” state. [CNN]

* Time to review the footage. Irving Picard stands to lose the game for the Investors if he can’t get an instant replay on Judge Rakoff’s home run decision for the Mets. [Bloomberg]

* Reebok has to pay out $25M in refunds because contrary to popular opinion, wearing a pair of sneakers won’t give you a nicer butt. Dammit, foiled again. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The EEOC is suing because a 680-pound man was allegedly fired for being too fat. Everything really is bigger in Texas, and now it’s considered a disability. [Houston Chronicle]

* Unpaid interns who worked on “Black Swan” are suing because they didn’t benefit from the job. Seriously? They should be sued for not appreciating all the film’s HLA. [New York Times]

According to the Department of Labor, 14 million people in our country are unemployed. And with a surplus of lawyers that reaches into the thousands in almost every state, unemployment is a serious problem for the legal profession.

Unfortunately, we all know that Biglaw firms — and surely other firms, as well — are avoiding these attorneys like the plague. We spoke about this industry-wide issue back in late 2009, noting that Biglaw firms weren’t exactly keen on hiring associates that had previously been laid off. In fact, one recruiter we spoke with told us that approximately 80 percent of employers specifically requested résumés from attorneys who are still employed.

Facing these seemingly insurmountable odds, what’s an unemployed attorney to do? As it turns out, President Obama wants to lend a hand, but only if he can get Congress to pass this jobs bill….

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