Sex-bias plaintiffs want to search personal emails of Chadbourne’s former leaders

Law Firms

Kerrie Campbell

ABA Journal file photo of Kerrie Campbell by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

Three former partners who sued Chadbourne & Parke for alleged sex discrimination are seeking to search the personal emails of leaders of the now-defunct firm who are lawsuit defendants.

A lawyer for Kerrie Campbell and two other lawsuit plaintiffs contends the leaders’ emails should be searched for information about treatment of partners, according to a letter filed with the court Tuesday. The New York Law Journal (sub. req.) posted the letter (PDF) and reported on the controversy.

Chadbourne takes the position that only the plaintiffs’ personal emails should be searched. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, David Sanford, contends that both parties should be treated the same.

Sanford also wants to search the emails of three former Chadbourne partners who had disagreements with the management committee. He says he wants information in the emails about “the management committee’s overarching control over Chadbourne and its partners.”

Sanford says the emails “will show in practice how little power ordinary partners had over the affairs of Chadbourne.” One issue in the case is whether the plaintiffs are covered by employment laws because of their status as former partners.

The suit claims female partners at Chadbourne were “disparately underpaid, systematically shut out of firm leadership, demoted, de-equitized and terminated.”

Chadbourne has merged with Norton Rose Fulbright, which has been added as a defendant to the suit.

See also: Pay Up: Female lawyers are working for income fairness—by suing their firms

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