Sotomayor Made Shaw Pittman Apologize for Partner’s Questions
Posted May 27, 2009 6:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor forced a Washington, D.C., law firm to apologize for a partner’s questions during a recruiting dinner in her third year at Yale Law School.
Sotomayor challenged questions about her Puerto Rican heritage posed by a partner at the firm then known as Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, Washington Times reports, relying on a 1978 Washington Post article. The Associated Press also published a story.
Sotomayor had said she objected to these questions: ''Do law firms do a disservice by hiring minority students who the firms know do not have the necessary credentials and will then fire in three to four years? Would I have been admitted to the law school if I were not a Puerto Rican? Was I culturally deprived?''
She voiced her concerns during a formal interview the day after the recruiting dinner. She refused further interviews with the firm and filed a discrimination complaint with Yale, AP says. A student-faculty tribunal found the questions violated the school’s anti-discrimination rules and asked the law firm to submit a second letter of apology, deeming an earlier version too weak.
The law firm later merged into Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
ABAJournal.com: "Sotomayor's Nomination: Today's News"