Lawyer Pay

Ex-partner settles suit claiming 'boys club' hogged origination credit at Greenberg Traurig

A former partner has settled her lawsuit contending that male lawyers at Greenberg Traurig hogged origination credit, excluded women from client pitches and favored themselves in work assignments.

The suit filed in December by Francine Griesing was settled for an undisclosed amount, report Reuters and the Legal Intelligencer. The would-be class action had sought $200 million.

Griesing’s suit had claimed Greenberg Traurig was led by an “old boys’ club” and had alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act. The complaint said Griesing was fired in 2010 for her complaints about gender bias in compensation.

Despite dismissal of the suit, the issue of disparate pay remains, the Intelligencer says. The ABA’s Gender Equity Task Force is preparing a manual outlining how law firms can reduce the pay gap and is creating tool kits for state and local bars on the business case for gender pay equity.

The chair of the task force, Roberta Liebenberg, told the Intelligencer that studies provide evidence of the problem. Annual surveys by the National Association of Women Lawyers, for example, show that women in law firms make less than men in similar positions.

A joint study in 2010 by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and two other groups highlighted problems determining origination credit. Fifty-five percent of surveyed female law partners said they were occasionally or frequently denied their fair share of origination credit. Nearly 30 percent said they were subjected to intimidation, threats or bullying in disagreements with male partners over origination credit.

“I think that this is a real issue for law firms to be focusing on because the issue of pay and equity compensation definitely affects attrition,” Liebenberg told the Legal Intelligencer.

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