Law Firms

Bias Suit Claims Cozen Promotes ‘Compliant’ Women

A former junior female partner at Cozen O’Connor has filed a sex discrimination suit against the firm that claims three partners there “prefer and promote women who fit traditional female stereotypes.”

Patricia Biswanger alleges Cozen fired her for using firm resources for political activities at the same time it permitted political involvement male attorneys, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

The suit claims lawyer Kevin Berry, who chaired the firm’s commercial litigation department, conducted “a campaign of harassment” against her in 2004 and 2005 “at the direction of Patrick J. O’Connor, then chief executive officer of the firm, and perhaps Stephen Cozen.”

According to the suit, filed in Philadelphia federal court, the three lawyers “perceived politically active women as aggressive, overbearing and unattractive, and therefore a detriment to the firm.” It claims they “prefer and promote women who fit traditional female stereotypes of being attractive, compliant and mild-mannered, a standard that is not applied to male attorneys.”

Lawyer Abraham Reich of Fox Rothschild told the Intelligencer that the firm followed “a fair and objective process” in dealing with Biswanger, and it always treated women fairly.

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