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February 11, 2009 11:04 AM

Fried, Frank Associate Files Complaint Alleging Anti-Gay Discrimination

Posted by Zach Lowe

A former litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson has filed a complaint against the firm with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the firm denied her partnership because she is openly gay before firing her after a mediation last month. 

Julie Kamps, a Harvard Law School graduate who joined Fried Frank in 1998, said that during her ten years at the firm, "there has never been more than one openly gay partner and no openly gay partners in the New York litigation department," according to a statement announcing the action. "Fried, Frank's diversity efforts stop at the door to partnership."

A firm spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A call was also placed to Fried, Frank managing partner Justin Spendlove, who was not immediately available for comment.

In an interview, Kamps tells The Am Law Daily the mistreatment began sometime in 2006 but got worse this fall. She says the firm began taking work away from her, leaving her with nothing to do. She declined to comment further on the exact nature of the harassment, saying it would become public when the case goes forward.

In her complaint, she claims the firm was retaliating against her for complaining about the alleged discrimination. Part of that retaliation, she claims, was denying her a promotion to partner even though all her performance reviews were "outstanding."

"I've never been given a reason why I wasn't promoted," she says. 

Kamps says firm higher-ups knew she was gay for years, though she's not sure they knew this when they hired her in 1998. 

Kamps and the firm decided to mediate the issue on Jan. 12 at the offices of an outside mediator, she says. Fried, Frank litigation partner Howard Goldstein attended on the firm's behalf, along with the firm's outside counsel, Bettina Plevan of Proskauer Rose, Kamps says. Plevan did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. 

Kamps also filed her complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. She is represented by Rae Downes Koshetz, an adjunct associate law professor at Brooklyn Law School. Koshetz has a long history of representing police officers in trouble, including one of the officers involved in the Amadou Diallo shooting and one of the NYPD's infamous "Mafia Cops" convicted in 2006.

Kamps is listed as a co-author (along with a Fried, Frank partner) on at least two pieces recently written for the New York Law Journal, an Am Law Daily sibling publication.

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