The law firm of Loeb & Loeb was sued in Cook County court in Illinois on Tuesday for breaching a pay contract, according to Reuters. The suit was filed by Michael Molinaro, a former bankruptcy partner who claimed that he was underpaid for work he performed in 2012.
Molinaro used to be the co-chair of Loeb’s bankruptcy practice. He claimed in the lawsuit that his former employer did not pay him at least $160,000 for work he performed in 2012. According to the lawsuit, Molinaro switched titles at the firm from ‘partner’ to ‘of counsel’ in February of 2012. Despite the switch, firm chairman Michael Beck agreed to continue paying Molinaro as an equity partner.
In the lawsuit, Molinaro said that the law firm was supposed to pay him based on his collections and billable hours. The lawsuit said that he was supposed to receive the same amount of firm profits as other partners who billed their clients similarly.
Loeb agreed to show Molinaro what other partners’ billing information was and their pay levels. This is provided to all of the firm’s equity partners each year. In February of 2012, Molinaro told the firm he would be joining Reed Smith and Loeb refused to provide the payroll information. Instead, they offered a new compensation agreement.
The new arrangement, proposed in late January, the firm would only pay Molinaro in full for 2012 if he stayed at Loeb “for many months,” according to the lawsuit. Scott Cotie, a Loeb executive, wrote Molinaro that the firm would pay him $160,000 for 2012 if he signed the new arrangement. Molinaro declined the terms and joined Reed Smith, where he works as a partner in Chicago.
Molinaro wants the partner compensation information from Loeb so he can determine his compensation and receive the pay for 2012. He wants a jury trial in the case. In a statement, Loeb said, “Mr. Molinaro’s lawsuit is without merit, and the firm will defend against his claims in the appropriate forum.”