On Thursday, Pamela Levinson, 53, an attorney working previously at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, filed a lawsuit against the law firm alleging gender and age discrimination. In the complaint filed in Washington, she also alleged that WilmerHale had wrongfully terminated her for taking leave following the adoption of a child.
Levinson alleged that the law firm had violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Human Rights Act and common law by denying her of bonuses, promotions, and salary increases. The lawsuit mentions that Levinson, who was hired in 2004 and earned positive performance reviews for her work, found her prospects diminishing after being promoted from associate to counsel in January 2008. According to the lawsuit, this was contrary to the promotion criteria of the law firm.
Brandon Jamison, the lawyer representing Levinson said, “Along the way, she noticed that there appeared to be a glass ceiling for female attorneys.”
The lawsuit mentions that when Levinson returned from a leave for adopting a 22-month-old girl from China, she received her first negative evaluation and a cut in her bonus. Later, she lost her job.
Levinson was an active attorney, and was a member of the intellectual property litigation group, the business litigation group and the investigations and criminal litigation group at WilmerHale. The lawsuit seeks to recover lost pay and punitive damages amounting to $5 million.
WilmerHale issued a statement following the lawsuit, in which Susan Murley, the co-managing partner of the law firm said “Levinson’s claims are completely without merit and we will vigorously defend the firm.”
The case is Pamela Levinson v. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Superior Court for the District of Columbia, No. 13-0000515.