Chadbourne & Parke LLP Discrimination Class Action

Case name: Kerrie L. Campbell, Jaroslawa Z. Johnson, and Mary T. Yelenick, et al. v. Norton Rose Fulbright and Chadbourne & Parke LLC, et al.

Case type: Gender Discrimination

Filed in: [United States District Court for the Southern District of New York]

Docket: [Case no.: 1:16-cv-06832-JPO-BCM]

Case Summary

On August 31, 2016, Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a class action lawsuit against the global law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP on behalf of Kerrie Campbell, a Chadbourne partner in Washington, DC, alleging that the firm engaged in systemic gender discrimination in pay and promotions, in violation of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act.

A Second Amended Complaint, filed on August 3, 2017, included two former Chadbourne partners, Jaroslawa Z. Johnson and Mary T. Yelenick. At that time, Chadbourne & Parke had merged with Norton Rose Fulbright, LLC.

The Complaint alleged a long-standing “boys club” atmosphere in the upper echelons of the Firm that closed off leadership positions to female partners, who were demoted, de-equitized, or terminated when they complained.

Ms. Campbell’s productivity and revenue generation was on par with the Firm’s top-performing male partners, but her salary did not reflect this. Throughout Ms. Campbell’s tenure at Chadbourne, a five-man Management Committee in New York made all pay and promotion decisions behind closed doors. According to the Complaint, when Ms. Campbell called out the gender disparity in pay and promotions to the Management Committee, she was asked to leave the firm.

Ms. Campbell brought individual and class claims of gender discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and unjust enrichment under District of Columbia and federal law including the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., as amended, and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d).

In March 2018, the Court approved a settlement of the plaintiffs’ Equal Pay Act claims in which Ms. Campbell received $1 million, Ms. Yelenick received $750,000, and Ms. Johnson received $250,000.