Embracing diversity: Grace Speights on the subtleties of labor and employment litigation

Speights discusses overcoming her personal struggle with gender and diversity

Given the heavy emphasis on human capital, labor and employment often carries considerably more emotional gravity than other practices areas. The ability to proceed with both sensitivity and logic can often be conflicting, but comes with experience. Grace Speights certainly has that experience.

Speights—a partner with Morgan Lewis and Bockius’s labor and employment practice and managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office—was originally part of Morgan’s litigation group. She began seeing an uptick in her employment cases when amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act put attorneys with jury trial experience in high demand for employment cases.

“It really varies from matter to matter, if you hire me because you’ve been sued in a discrimination case and I do an investigation, look at all the documents and it’s clear that there is no discrimination obviously I’m going to fight and win that case for my client, and there are many times that I do that,” she added. “But there are also some other time where you say ‘look there is no evidence here, but I can see why this person feels this way, I can fight to the end and it’s going to cost you however many thousands of dollars, and we’ll win this case.’ You have to ask, ‘do you really want to spend the money that way, or is there another fix here that could put this behind you?’”

Speights says while she will fight hard in situations where it is clear that a claim is false or misrepresentative of a client, sometimes there are opportunities to get more out a case than just a decision. “If there’s something we can fix or resolve and make things better not just for one individual person but for others, who have maybe filed similar issues, why not fix it?”

Executive Editor

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Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Executive Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content...

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