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Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Chadbournes and its “Black Box” Decisions

Following a gender discrimination lawsuit against Sedgwicks, a female litigator has now filed suit against Chadbourne & Parke, the New York-based 300-attorney firm.

Kerrie Campbell’s lawsuit, reported by the WSJ Law Blog, is filed on behalf of Chadbourne’s 26 partners since 2013, claiming they are “routinely” underpaid and that the firm “actively retaliates against female attorneys who question the firm’s gender discrimination practices.”

The suit seeks relief for those who have been “disparately underpaid, systematically shut out of Firm leadership, demoted, de-equitized and terminated.”

Kerrie Campbell herself joined Chadbournes in 2014 from Manatt Phelps & Phillips, and claimed she ran into “conflicts” with the firm’s all-male management team who made pay decisions in a “black box” that discriminated against women.

The $100 million lawsuit follows advice she received that she would be terminated following her claimed multi million dollar billings in her specialty consumer litigation practice.

But it is routine discrimination that is the basis of the lawsuit.

For instance, according to the suit, women were awarded up to 1,000 points in the firm’s compensation system from 2013 to 2015, while male partners got up to 2,250.

The suit claims the firm’s male-dominated culture has prompted many women to leave, noting that of the non-partners who left the litigation department in 2014 and 2015, 17 of 20 were women.

Falsehoods Denied

Chadbourne has vigorously denied the claims, saying they are “riddled with falsehoods”.

Ms. Campbell says that despite expecting to bill $2 million in one year, she was awarded 500 points, while a male partner who brought in $253,000 in collections got 850 points. She says she brought in more than 20 clients and $5 million in collections in less than three years at the firm.

The gender discrimination action is heating up and the heat will be increasingly felt by Big Law as they face a climate of increasing hostility from women lawyers who are seeking the equality many believe is denied to them in the firms.

Last month’s lawsuit by Traci M Ribeiro against Sedgwicks claims there was a “male dominated culture” at the firm, which is among the 200 largest in the US. The NY Times report that Ribeiro claimed that she was the generating the third-highest revenues but was to receive a pay cut and was told that sheneeded to “learn how to behave.”

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