The Firms

September 10, 2010 12:09 PM

Covington, Yolanda Young Destined to Keep Doing This Lawsuit Thing

Posted by Zach Lowe

Covington & Burling just can't get rid of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former staff attorney, as a federal judge Thursday revived a central claim in the case, according to The National Law Journal, one of our sibling publications. 

Yolanda Young has practically become a household name in the Am Law world after writing a column for The Huffington Post in 2008 accusing Covington of placing black lawyers into a "staff attorney ghetto" and later suing the firm, according to our prior reporting. Young's central claim concerns the firm's alleged practice of placing a disproportionate number of black lawyers in relatively low-paying (and certainly unglamorous) staff attorney positions and then deliberately failing to promote staff attorneys to associate status, according to the NLJ and our prior reporting. Judge Reggie Walton of federal court in Washington, D.C. dismissed those claims earlier this year based on the notion that Young had failed to prove any intent on Covington's part.

But in Thursday's ruling, Walton argued that a recent U.S. Supreme Court case set a new standard for case's such as Young's, the NLJ reports. In Lewis v. City of Chicago, the high court ruled that plaintiffs alleging disparate treatment in the workplace do not need to prove the alleged unfair treatment was deliberate in order to pursue their case, the NLJ reports. Walton's ruling Thursday effectively reinstates Young's claim, the NLJ reports. 

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is representing Covington. Latif Doman, a name partner at Doman Davis, is representing Young. 

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