Former Winston partner appeals decision sending her gender bias case to arbitration
A former Winston & Strawn partner is asking a California appeals court to vacate a judge’s order that sends her gender bias case against the firm to arbitration.
Constance Ramos’ petition for a writ of mandate argues that Winston & Strawn’s arbitration clause applies only to matters concerning the terms of the partnership agreement and not to the allegations in her bias suit. Ramos also contends the trial court erred by finding she had a partnership relationship with the law firm.
Ramos says she qualifies as an employee protected by California law because she is an income partner who had no control over operations of the law firm. The American Lawyer covered the petition, filed on Friday.
Ramos also objects to a provision in Winston’s arbitration clause requiring arbitrators to be partners in U.S. law firms with more than 500 attorneys. “In essence, it is the fox guarding the henhouse,” the appeal says.
Ramos’ suit alleges that Winston & Strawn discriminated against her by tying her continued employment to the careers of male equity partners and retaliated against her when she refused the law firm’s request to leave. Her initial salary of $450,000 was eventually cut to $200,000.