Alexandra Harwin

Alexandra Harwin Sanford Heisler Sharp
Alexandra Harwin
New York Partner

(646) 401-0475

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Ali Harwin is a Partner in the New York Office of Sanford Heisler Sharp and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group.

Meet Alexandra Harwin

Meet Alexandra Harwin

Alexandra Harwin expertly helped me navigate and win an extremely difficult and painful wrongful dismissal dispute. I was unbelievably impressed with her level of legal acumen, strategic negotiating prowess, transparency and authenticity. What I think sets Alexandra apart even further is her compassionate and empathic approach to her clients, providing much needed comfort and reassurance at times and thoughtful sage advice at critical junctures. Pharmaceutical Executive

As a lawyer, my job is to problem-solve and advocate fiercely for my clients. Despite my professional experience, I felt unable to protect my own reputation, livelihood, and health when I was being discriminated against by my large law firm. That changed once Ali Harwin was representing me. I quickly learned that Ali is a hardworking attorney with a sharp legal mind, but also a kind, empathetic, and honest individual. Ali was able to obtain an extremely favorable settlement for me at mediation, thus allowing me to end one of the most difficult chapters of my life with dignity. I will be forever grateful to Ali and her team at Sanford Heisler Sharp! Attorney Client

Ali Harwin represented me in my action against my employer while I was still employed there. I had suffered almost five years of harassment and marginalization and, frankly, I had a very deep fear of retaliation from my manager. I felt absolutely powerless to defend myself. David Sanford and Ali took action to immediately legally protect me while I was in a very vulnerable position. Ali then guided me through the entire process, striking the right balance between providing transparency regarding what was happening and protecting me from the very negative aspects of the firm’s rebuttals. She held me up when I felt no strength to continue and fought hard to get me what I deserved. She is a successful balance of tenacity, integrity and a soft touch in her advocacy. I was very fortunate to have Ali on my side and I highly recommend her to those considering retaining Sanford Heisler Sharp! Financial Services Professional

Alexandra Harwin is a Partner in the New York office of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, a national law firm with offices in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Tennessee, and Maryland, and a Co-Chair of the firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her A.B. from Harvard College.

One of just five employment attorneys nationwide named a Rising Star by Law360 in 2017, Alexandra is known for her legal acumen, strategic thinking, pragmatism, and outstanding results in representing victims of discrimination and retaliation.

Alexandra has served as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in some of the highest-profile employment lawsuits in the country.  She spearheaded the gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against Columbia University brought by a female faculty member named Enrichetta Ravina, which recently resulted in a $1.25 million jury verdict.  Alexandra is also co-lead counsel for Fabio Silva, the former Vice President for Legal Affairs at Giorgio Armani Corporation, in a $75 million case alleging national origin discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation.

Alexandra has also played a leading role in Sanford Heisler Sharp’s groundbreaking gender discrimination lawsuits against BigLaw firms.  Alexandra played a leading role in the firm’s closely watched, multi-plaintiff gender discrimination lawsuit against Chadbourne & Parke LLP, as well as a high-profile gender discrimination and retaliation case against defense firm Proskauer Rose LLP.

In addition to representing individual plaintiffs, Alexandra has successfully overseen major class action litigation.  Alexandra was integrally involved in negotiating a $14.25 million settlement for the women victimized by disgraced Rabbi Bernard Freundel, who surreptitiously videotaped women in a Jewish ritual bath facility known as a mikvah.   She was also co-lead counsel in a multi-million dollar gender discrimination class action and collective action against pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Alcon; she represented thousands of directors, managers, specialists, and sales professionals against these companies in their class claims of discrimination in pay, promotion, and assignments.

In addition to her ongoing litigation activity, Alexandra has achieved lucrative negotiated settlements for her clients.  Her clients have included law firm partners, executives at pharmaceutical corporations, and employees of other corporations.  Their claims have included gender, race, age, and other discrimination in their workplaces.  Alexandra’s settlements have totaled more than $40 million.

Alexandra’s practice, focused on anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation law, reflects her longstanding commitment to civil rights and gender equality issues.  As an undergraduate at Harvard, where she was the top-ranked student in her graduating class, she studied gender-based employment discrimination through the disciplines of history and economics.  At the Yale Law School, she served as Managing Editor of the School’s Journal of Law and Feminism and helped design Yale Law Women’s annual survey of family-friendly law firms.  In addition, she conducted research on the history and prospects of using Title VII litigation to protect minority men from employment discrimination based on criminal records.


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2011
  • Managing Editor, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism
  • A.B., Harvard University, 2007, summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland 2011
  • District of Columbia 2012
  • New Jersey 2015
  • New York 2015

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Robert De Niro Lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges that De Niro and Canal Productions subjected their longtime employee, Graham Chase Robinson, to a hostile work environment, including unwelcome physical contact, sexually-charged comments, verbal abuse, and sex-stereotyping.

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Rabbi Freundel Voyeurism Class Action

Early in 2015, Freundel plead guilty in a criminal proceeding before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to numerous counts of illicitly filming women as they used the “mikvah”- a Jewish ritual bath frequently used by married Orthodox women as well as by women undergoing conversion to Judaism.

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Transamerica ERISA Class Action

The complaint alleges the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform their investment benchmarks and other similar collective investment funds.

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Norton Rose Fulbright/Chadbourne & Parke LLP Gender Discrimination Class Action – $3.1 Million Settlement

According to Plaintiff Kerrie Campbell, a nationally recognized trial lawyer and partner in Chadbourne’s Washington, DC office, female partners at the firm are excluded from positions of decision-making authority and receive less pay and bonuses even when they out-perform their male counterparts. There is only a one-tier partnership, with every partner characterized as an equity partner.

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Ian Jack Miller v. Zara USA, Inc. et al.

In 2015, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a $40 million lawsuit against Zara USA, Inc., the flagship brand for the largest fashion retailer in the world, Inditex Group. The lawsuit alleges that Zara discriminated against and then fired its in-house counsel, Ian Jack Miller, because he is Jewish, American, and gay. The case seeks damages for creating a hostile work environment, pay discrimination, and unlawful and retaliatory termination based on Mr. Miller’s nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.

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Fabio Silva v. Giorgio Armani Corp., Et. Al.

According to his complaint, during his tenure at Giorgio Armani Corporation, the company’s Chief Financial Officer informed General Counsel Fabio Silva he did not trust Mexicans, and thereafter subjected Mr. Silva to increased scrutiny and discriminatory treatment. When General Counsel Silva reported this treatment to Chief Operations Officer, Giorgio Fornari, and Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Lucinda Rosso, General Counsel Silva was berated for complaining. General Counsel Silva was then denied a raise for reporting the discrimination.

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Columbia University Sexual Harassment Case – $1.25 Jury Verdict

The complaint provides extensive details regarding how the senior leadership of Columbia – including the Provost of the University and the Dean of Columbia Business School – allowed one of Columbia’s senior, tenured professors to sexually harass and obstruct the work of a female junior faculty member, plaintiff Enrichetta Ravina. Read More

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New Jersey Leads the Fight for Pay Equity

When it comes to workplace discrimination, your rights often depend on the state where you work.  That’s because states can pass laws that offer even stronger protections for employees than federal law.  Last year, New Jersey did just that when it passed what may be the broadest pay equity law in the nation, the Diane […]

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Study Shows Implicit Bias against African-American Attorneys at Law Firms

Ever feel like you’ve received extra scrutiny because of your race?  Research suggests that these fears may be well founded.  A recent study indicates that supervisors are far more likely to overlook or forgive the mistakes of white employees – while African-American employees are far more likely to have their mistakes caught, criticized, and used […]

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Lessons on Women’s Economic Progress and Policies from the Fed Chair

Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve and arguably the most powerful woman in the world, is best known for her role in U.S. monetary policy.  But in a recent speech, she tackled a totally different subject – women’s economic progress over the past century.  Her speech, So We All Can Succeed: 125 Years of […]

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The Recognition Gap for Women in Academia

A lot has been written about why talented women aren’t advancing in academia the way their male colleagues are – including the heavy “baby penalty” paid by female academics.  But the gap we see in tenure rates between male and female faculty members can’t be explained by differences in family commitments or productivity alone.  New research […]

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At Republican Debates, Little Substance on Issues Facing Working Women

Last night’s GOP debate focused on economics, and I was watching to see if a single Republican candidate – really, anyone – would have anything to say about the challenges facing working women. Marco Rubio stood out as the only one. When asked whether his plan to expand child tax credits was just “another expensive […]

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Beyond Pre-K: The Kindergarten Gap for Working Moms

There’s been a recent push to expand public access to pre-K programs, and it’s widely acknowledged that these programs bring benefits to working parents, especially working mothers.   In these discussions though, it’s often assumed that parents’ childcare problems are solved once their kids go off to kindergarten.  The reality, though, is that many school […]

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A Woman on Currency? A Joke For Republican Men at This Week’s Debate

During the Republican debate this week, one exchange that was especially maddening for female viewers ensued when the candidates were asked what seemed like a straightforward question: “Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill.  What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?” This […]

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Advancing Pay Equality for New York’s Working Women

For women of New York, it’s about to get much easier to bring gender discrimination cases. A ten-point bill called the Women’s Equality Act had been languishing in the New York State Senate for nearly two years because of controversy over a plank that would have shored up abortion rights.  But in March, Democrats in […]

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Mission Possible? Ending Gender Discrimination Against Female Directors in Hollywood

The marginalization of women in Hollywood has gotten a lot of attention lately.  The Sony hacking scandal revealed glaring gender disparities in pay among movie stars and studio executives alike, and Patricia Arquette’s controversial Oscar acceptance speech demanded wage equality for women. Now the spotlight has shifted to the discrimination faced by female directors after the ACLU […]

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Nice Nails, Awful Jobs

In New York City, nail salons are ubiquitous, and many women who live or work in the City routinely partake in the affordable luxury of cheap manicures.  But a shocking exposé by the New York Times (posted here and here) shows that cheap manicures come at a very high price for the women who toil […]

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