Chadbourne Lauds Efforts by Its Own Accuser in Settled Sex Bias Case

Posted March 22nd, 2018.

As It Appeared On
NY law journal Law.com

The firm, now part of Norton Rose Fulbright, said ex-partner Kerrie Campbell “contributed to important ongoing dialogue within the profession about gender issues” by suing the firm for $100 million.

By Christine Simmons

Chadbourne & Parke, now part of Norton Rose Fulbright, issued a remarkably conciliatory statement Thursday regarding former partner Kerrie Campbell, the firm’s chief adversary in heated gender pay discrimination litigation that formally ended in a settlement this week.

“Through the litigation process, Ms. Campbell contributed to important ongoing dialogue within the profession about gender issues. Chadbourne hopes and expects that Ms. Campbell will be successful in her future professional endeavors,” said a Chadbourne statement emailed to ALM on Thursday, adding the firm and Campbell “are pleased that they have amicably resolved the pending lawsuit and put their differences behind them.”

The statement comes two days after U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken of Southern District of New York approved the settlement proposed last week by the parties. The judge’s order on Tuesday dismissed the case.

Alexandra Harwin, an attorney for Washington, D.C.-based Campbell and a partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp, said that Thursday’s statement was released jointly by Chadbourne and Campbell.

“This has been a hard-fought litigation, and we are pleased the court has approved the settlement,” Harwin said.

She declined to comment on whether the press statement was a condition of the settlement between the parties, portions of which have not been disclosed. The Chadbourne spokesman who sent the statement to ALM said he had “no more info” to provide.

Campbell filed the $100 million gender pay lawsuit in 2016 on behalf of 26 current and former female partners, claiming that Chadbourne routinely underpaid women and excluded them from positions of authority at the firm.

One portion of this month’s settlement entails Chadbourne paying Campbell, two other plaintiffs and their attorneys at Sanford Heisler more than $3 million to settle Equal Pay Act claims. The parties privately resolved other claims in the litigation. Harwin declined to discuss the private portion of the settlement.

Chadbourne’s statement wishing Campbell future success comes about 15 months after the firm lashed out at her in its 62-page retort to the gender pay discrimination case. The firm, in filing counterclaims, called Campbell a dishonest partner who “acted in ways that raised serious questions about her legal knowledge and judgment” and who embarrassed it before clients.

The firm then voted to expel her from the partnership.

Two other former partners joined the suit, Mary Yelenick and Jaroslawa Johnson. The suit named several individual male partners as defendants, including Abbe Lowell, Marc Alpert, Andrew Giaccia, Howard Seife, Lawrence Rosenberg and Paul Weber.

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