Female lawyers are taking their fight for equal pay to court.
Kerrie L. Campbell, a partner at big-name law firm Chadbourne & Parke, filed a $100 million class action lawsuit on Wednesday on behalf of 26 current and former female partners at the firm, alleging that female partners receive less compensation than their male counterparts, the New York Times reported. Campbell’s suit is the latest in a string of gender discrimination lawsuits filed against the nation’s biggest law firms this year.
Campbell said in the filing that compensation at Chadbourne & Parke was decided by a five-man management team who allocated points to determine pay. Campbell charges that women at the firm were consistently given fewer points than their male colleagues, even when they outperformed them or brought in more client revenue. “This meant not only that the deck was stacked against her, she was destined to make two or three times less than her male counterparts did,” David W. Sanford, Campbell’s lawyer, told the Times.
Chadbourne & Parke said in a statement to the Times that Campbell’s lawsuit is “riddled with falsehoods” and “completely baseless.”
A survey released by the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2015 showed that the nation’s biggest law firms only promoted 2% more women to equity partner than they did in 2006, and female partners typically make 80% of what male partners make.
Other female lawyers have raised the issue in lawsuits. In June, a court said that a discrimination suit against Boston’s Mintz Levin, which was filed in 2009 by a former female lawyer who says she was demoted after taking maternity leave, could move forward. In July, a female lawyer filed a suit against San Francisco-based law firm Sedgwick, alleging that the company’s culture meant that women were left behind in pay and promotions. Both Mintz Levin and Sedgwick have denied the claims.
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