For those of us who follow gender or racial discrimination lawsuits against law firms and companies like serial dramas, this past year has been spectacular. The most high-profile case, of course, was brought by Kerrie Campbell against Chadbourne & Parke.
Claiming that she was paid unfairly as a partner, she called Chadbourne's management an "all-male dictatorship." Two other female partners have joined her class action since it was filed in August 2016. This spring, the firm officially ousted Campbell.
As for having an effect on attracting lateral recruits or merger partners, these lawsuits also have limited impact. "I'd bet there's a bunch of suits out there against big firms," says Jeff Lowe, a managing partner of recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, alluding to disputes that are settled quietly. "What's unusual with the Chadbourne matter is how public it's become." Most lateral candidates, he adds, won't reject firms that are sued because "they see lawsuits as being part of the bundle of risks."