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Labor suit against Akin Gump dismissed, labor suit filed against WilmerHale

2nd Circuit dismisses racial discrimination case, former attorney claims she was fired over adoption leave

As one law firm jumped out of the boiling pot of labor lawsuits Thursday, another landed in hot water.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld breathed a sigh of relief when the 2nd Circuit upheld a dismissal of a discrimination suit brought against it by Tameka Simmons, a black lawyer who claimed her dismissal from the firm in 2009 was partially to do with her race. The 2nd Circuit found that Akin Gump, like many firms at the start of the recession, was struggling financially. It began laying off employees in March 2009, and eventually terminated Simmons in September 2009.

“The undisputed facts show that, at least in one instance, the firm treated her more favorably because of her race, as it delayed discharging her (by removing her from the March 2009 termination list) at least in part in the interest of diversity,” the court wrote.

But when one termination lawsuit dies, another gets its wings. Pamela Levinson, a former lawyer with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is suing the firm for wrongful termination, claiming she was laid off in February 2012 after she took four and a half months off to adopt a child from China. Her adoption leave was scheduled to end in April 2012, and she claims to have had an “excellent” and “impressive” record of work with the firm.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.


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