LA Associate, Linklaters Crypto Expert Move Forward With ‘Mommy Track’ Suit Against MoFo

Posted December 10th, 2019.

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Los Angeles associate Sherry William and Linklaters senior counsel Joshua Ashley Klayman withdrew their request to proceed anonymously in a lawsuit claiming that Morrison & Foerster discriminates against pregnant women and new mothers.

By Ross Todd

The two remaining plaintiffs in the lawsuit claiming that Morrison & Foerster discriminates against pregnant women and new mothers have made their names public.

Los Angeles MoFo associate Sherry William and Joshua Ashley Klayman, a cryptocurrency expert who is now senior counsel at Linklaters, withdrew their motion to proceed anonymously in the lawsuit in a court filing Tuesday morning.
The two women, previously identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 6, respectively, in court papers, are the last two remaining name plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The firm’s lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and the plaintiffs’ lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp filed court papers late last month indicating that the other five plaintiffs in the case, Jane Does 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, had resolved their claims with the firm. The parties did not disclose the terms of any settlements.

William and Klayman did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday. Their lawyers at Sanford Heisler said in a statement that “Ms. William and Ms. Klayman are committed to vigorously prosecuting their individual and class claims of gender discrimination and maternity discrimination against Morrison & Foerster.”

According to her bio on the MoFo website, William practices in the firm’s finance and projects group and has handled matters for developers, lenders, and investors in project finance deals in the U.S. and abroad while also working on M&A and corporate finance deals. The complaint claims that the partner appointed by the firm to be William’s mentor told her “parents tend not to do well in this group.” The complaint further claims that William was held back from her associate class after returning from maternity leave, before being unfairly evaluated and encouraged to leave the firm. A 2010 graduate of Harvard Law School, she is currently the president of the Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles, according to LinkedIn and the organization’s website.

Klayman, the founding chairwoman of MoFo’s blockchain and smart contracts group, claims she was repeatedly denied promotion to the partnership after taking several maternity leaves. Linklaters hired Klayman, who is based in New York, to be its U.S. head of fintech in July. According to LinkedIn, the move to Linklaters came after Klayman practiced for a time in a blockchain-focused boutique, Klayman LLC, and founded a blockchain consulting and advisory firm, Inflection Point Blockchain Advisors.

A MoFo spokesman said the firm doesn’t have any comment beyond its previous statements and filings in the matter. The firm previously publicly defended its track record of hiring and promoting women.

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