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Women in the Law

Former BigLaw partner: I faced ‘incredible obstacles’ that male lawyers didn’t have to deal with

Posted Jun 11, 2013 11:00 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A former BigLaw partner who recently settled a lawsuit over the alleged "boys club" at the last major firm for which she worked says it wasn't just Greenberg Traurig where women lawyers face challenges that their male counterparts don't.

"At every stage," Francine Griesing told attendees at a Manhattan conference last week, "I faced incredible obstacles that my male peers did not face," reports the Am Law Daily (sub. req.).

Griesing, who was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and was in charge of the city of Philadelphia's litigation department, in addition to working at other law firms, settled last month on confidential terms a $200 million gender discrimination suit she had sought to pursue against Greenberg as a class action in federal court in New York.

It had contended, among other claims, that male lawyers operated the firm as a "boys club" in which male attorneys got the best assignments, hogged origination credit and excluded female colleagues from making pitches to clients.

Not quite four years ago, after leaving Greenberg, Griesing formed her own firm in Philadelphia. Griesing Law now has seven attorneys and focuses on litigation as well as employment, intellectual property, new media and transactional matters.

Griesing declined to comment on her case against Greenberg during her 45-minute presentation at Women Legal 2013, a conference organized by the Ark Group. However, she indicated that she feels the profession in general still has a long way to go before it offers a level playing field to female attorneys.

"I have a 23-year-old who attended Barnard, and I would never want her to go to law school," she said, referring to the well-known women's college affiliated with Columbia University. "I hope that's not the answer when she has a daughter."

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