3rd Former Partner Files Suit Against Chadbourne Over Unequal Pay

Mar 1

As it appeared on Above the Law
They say three is a trend…

They say three is a trend…

Chadbourne & Parke, soon to be merged with and take the name of Norton Rose Fulbright, has been dealing with a gender bias suit since last August. That’s when Kerrie Campbell, a former partner at the Biglaw shop, filed a $100 million class action lawsuit against the firm. Then things started to get… ugly.

Highlights (lowlights?) have include: allegations of a videotape capturing supposedly retaliatory behavior; a former partner in the Kiev office, Jaroslawa Z. Johnson, joining as a plaintiff; claims partners are not employees (an issue the court still hasn’t ruled on); and a letter was sent — filled with all sort of tropes about the kind of women who “let” themselves be discriminated against — signed by 14 female partners at the firm who disputed the claims Campbell made.

But you know who didn’t sign onto that letter? Mary Yelenick. At the time, she was the only current female partner that did not sign the letter. Now she is joining the lawsuit. As reported by

Mary Yelenick, a former chair of Chadbourne’s products liability group and a longtime New York partner now working as of counsel at the firm, filed papers late Monday seeking to join the proposed class action as a plaintiff. According to Yelenick’s profile on professional networking website LinkedIn, she spent more than 35 years at Chadbourne after joining the firm in 1981.

“During my employment, I believe Chadbourne paid me less than men who performed similar work,” Yelenick wrote in Monday’s filing.

Yelenick’s attorney is David Sanford of Sanford Heisler, the same representation as the other plaintiffs in this case, and he was tight-lipped about whether we might see additional plaintiffs:

Sanford refused to say whether he had spoken with additional current or former Chadbourne lawyers who could join the case as plaintiffs. He said that he often speaks confidentially with potential clients.

“People are very concerned about economic stability, professional continuity and testing the waters for new opportunities,” Sanford said of the reluctance that many lawyers feel about joining an employment action. “Many times I will hear that people are evaluating their circumstances and will let me know if they have a reason to reconsider their options.”

This case just keeps getting more and more interesting.

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