Katherine M. Kimpel, Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. Office
1666 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300
Katherine M. Kimpel is a member of the Firm's Executive Committee and is the Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. Office. Ms. Kimpel received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2006. Ms. Kimpel also coordinates recruitment, hiring and training for the firm.
Ms. Kimpel serves as Lead Counsel in numerous class action and individual gender discrimination matters. Ms. Kimpel routinely represents women at the highest levels in their fields, representing Senior HR executives, COO's, General Counsel and attorneys, and has been successful in negotiating exit packages and transitional plans that allow careers to proceed smoothly.
Representative class matters on which Ms. Kimpel currently serves as Lead Counsel include Barghout v. Bayer, a class action on behalf of women in positions ranging from the field to senior strategy positions at Bayer Healthcare Corporation, and Kassman et. al. v. KPMG, a class action on behalf of Associates up through Managing Directors at the Big Four accounting firm. Both cases illustrate how firmly the glass ceiling is still in place across industries.
Ms. Kimpel has helped usher nationwide class actions to successful settlement. For example, in In re Novartis, current and former Novartis Sales Representatives who were not paid overtime wages were the beneficiaries of a $99 million settlement approved by Judge Crotty of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in May 2012. Ms. Kimpel continues to oversee the claims process through which class members receive their awards. Ms. Kimpel also continues to play the lead role in overseeing the implementation of the settlement terms in Velez v. Novartis. In that matter, Ms. Kimpel served as Lead Counsel representing approximately 6000 female employees in their gender and pregnancy discrimination claims. After a seven-week trial, the Firm secured the largest employment discrimination verdict ($253 million) in United States history. The presiding federal judge described the case as having been “brilliantly tried.” The Firm obtained a court-approved settlement of $175 million on behalf of the class that the judge described as “extraordinary” and “one of a kind.” The United Nations has recognized the Novartis case as among the top 10 cases in the world advancing women’s rights, and is the only case from the United States so recognized by the UN.
Ms. Kimpel, along with a team of lawyers at Sanford Heisler and at Squire Sanders, is proud to represent “the Angola 3” in their civil suit challenging the constitutionality of being held in solitary confinement in the Louisiana State prison system since 1972. Their plight has been highlighted by national and international press and is a subject of an Amnesty International Report. The case is slated for trial in June 2014.
Ms. Kimpel has won recognition for her legal achievements (including being named one of 5 employment lawyers who are Rising Stars and a female powerbroker by Law360); authored the amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Dukes v. Wal-Mart; and is often asked to write for national news outlets, legal publications and for women’s organizations.
Ms. Kimpel often speaks on gender discrimination and class litigation issues. For example, Ms. Kimpel has presented to the District Directors and Regional Attorneys at a National Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Training; the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Employment Law Institute, and on various panels organized and hosted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, women’s bar associations, and other women’s groups. Ms. Kimpel regularly focuses on what employees can do to protect themselves from discrimination and on what employers can do to structure legal and equitable workplaces, drawing from her experience negotiating systemic reform packages for major national and international corporations. To this end, Ms. Kimpel also provides counseling and training to employers who seek to comply with the law and proactively avoid future legal problems.
Before joining Sanford Heisler in 2007, Ms. Kimpel served as Special Counsel to Senator Russell Feingold on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she handled criminal justice and other civil rights issues for the Senator. Ms. Kimpel also worked for the Commission on Safety and Abuse for America's Prisons, and as a fourth grade teacher for D.C. Public Schools.
During her time at Yale Law School, Ms. Kimpel served as the Chair of the Student Board for the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and as the Student Director for clinics (1) providing civil legal services to the Latino and immigrant community in Fair Haven and (2) representing students seeking improved financing for Connecticut public schools. Upon graduation, Ms. Kimpel was the recipient of the Stephen J. Massey Prize for best exemplifying the values of the Yale clinical program.