A series of sex discrimination cases against law firms were brought last year by female attorneys who claim that they were denied or delayed pay raises and promotions and received worse treatment than their male counterparts.
Of particular note is a proposed class action filed in California federal court in January 2018 by a former attorney at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. Not only could the outcome of this case affect how law firms handle matters in-house, it could also impact their approach with clients.
“When you have a well-respected management-side firm that’s specialty is advising companies against this very type of case that’s being brought against them, it complicates the dynamic that they face,” explains Ms. Ronickher.
It’s significant that many of these cases are being proposed as class actions. “It’s great for the women coming forward because it’s taking the emphasis off of them as individuals and putting the emphasis on the law firm and the legal industry overall,” Ms. Ronickher said. “But, you know, class certification in the employment discrimination context is an uphill battle. So if they win that uphill battle and get class certification, I think that would have significant ramifications.”
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