Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Make sure supervisors know these common justifications for harassment are unacceptable.
Is your employee handbook ready for the changing world of work? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
60+ new SHRM Seminar dates in 10 U.S. cities and virtually.
Expand your influence and learn how to become an effective leader -- Join us in Phoenix, AZ, October 2-4, 2017.
Former Chadbourne & Parke attorney filed class action on behalf of female partners
A former partner at international law firm Chadbourne & Parke has filed a proposed class action seeking $100 million in damages because the firm allegedly discriminated against female partners and paid them less than their male colleagues (Campbell v. Chadbourne & Parke LLP, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:16-cv-06832).
Plaintiff Kerrie Campbell is a seasoned trial lawyer who joined the firm's Washington, D.C., office as a partner in 2014, according to a complaint filed on Aug. 31 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Campbell said she brought 20 clients to the firm and generated more than $5 million in total collections between 2014 and 2016.
Although her numbers were comparable to top-performing male partners, her pay placed her in "the bottom ranks" with male partners she outperformed, the complaint said.
"At Chadbourne, salary is purportedly linked to an attorney's annual collections, but the firm's own data shows that many male partners with collection amounts lower than Ms. Campbell's were awarded two to three times the base salary" she earned, said a statement from law firm Sanford Heisler, which represents Campbell.
A Chadbourne spokesperson said the firm "categorically denies" all of her accusations, "including her charges of gender discrimination."
Campbell seeks to represent a class of about 26 female partners who have worked for Chadbourne's U.S. offices at any time since August 2013.
She asserted various individual and class claims, including gender and pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act.
Campbell said that, not long after she complained about gender equity issues to the firm's all-male management committee, she was told that her practice didn't fit with the firm's "strategic direction."
Her pay was subsequently slashed to an amount less than that of a first-year associate, and she was asked to take her practice elsewhere, according to the complaint.
"The mistreatment and pay differential that Ms. Campbell suffered is inexcusable, particularly considering her exemplary service to the firm," said David Sanford with Sanford Heisler in Washington, D.C., lead counsel for Campbell. "Chadbourne may talk a good game about treating its lawyers fairly and equally, but Ms. Campbell's allegations show that at Chadbourne, gender discrimination is standard operating procedure."
The complaint cites an American Bar Association study that found that women hold only 18 percent of equity partner positions in law firms even though they take up almost 45 percent of associate positions.
"The fact that pay inequity is rampant in the law does not excuse Chadbourne's inequitable compensation scheme," Sanford added.
Firm Denies Allegations
Chadbourne said Campbell "was asked in early 2016 to transition her practice elsewhere when it became apparent that her specific practice did not integrate with the firm."
"In similar situations, Chadbourne has taken comparable steps with partners both male and female, without incident," according to the firm's spokesperson.
"Chadbourne's commitment to the advancement of women dates back over 50 years, when the firm elected its first female partner in 1964—at a time when such promotions were extremely rare," the spokesperson said. "Female equity partners have served and currently serve on the firm's management committee, as practice group leaders, and as managing partners of various firm offices."
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies
[/_catalogs/masterpage/SHRMCore/Main.master][Title][SHRM Online - Society for Human Resource Management]