Female partners livid after colleague brings sexism claim against firm
16 September 2016
Female partners at Chadbourne & Parke's London office are furious with one of their US colleagues after discovering that she has roped them into her class action lawsuit against the firm.
Last month, Washington DC-based litigation partner Kerrie Campbell filed a federal sex discrimination claim
against Chadbourne in which she accused it of routinely underpaying women. Campbell also claimed that Chadbourne "actively retaliates against female attorneys who question the firm’s gender discrimination practices
”. Campbell's complaint states that after "calling out
" management for paying her less than lower-billing male partners, she was told her practice no longer fitted in with the firms' strategic direction and ordered to "quietly leave as soon as possible to 'preserve' her reputation
However, she has outraged her fellow female partners by framing her complaint as a class action which includes all of them. Alleging that she "and the Class of Chadbourne Partners she seeks to represent
" have been "subjected to a systemic pattern and practice of gender discrimination
", she states that they have "suffered harm including lost compensation, back pay, employment benefits, and emotional distress
||Campbell, doing it for their own good
And now high blood pressure. All but one* of the 15 other female partners, three of whom are based in London, have signed an extraordinary open letter addressed to Campbell's lawyer expressing their fury at having words put in their mouth. "Your complaint claims that it must speak for us because we are too afraid to speak for ourselves
", they write. "That is not how we see ourselves and certainly not how any of us believes our clients and colleagues perceive us
Campbell is still at Chadbourne, presumably getting the stink eye from all sides as more and more of its dirty laundry piles up in public. In the latest salvo, her lawyer replied on Thursday with another open letter defending the class action and claiming to have been contacted by "current and former Chadbourne partners and associates, men and women
", who feel it "captured well the claims of gender discrimination"
Campbell's complaint notes that she joined Chadbourne in 2014 after "bumping into conflicts
" at her former firm.
Find both letters here.
*the absentee is understood to be on a goodwill mission and uncontactable.