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Former McDermott Will & Emery Lawyer Alleges Unjust Salary Exclusion in Lawsuit
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David Huberman, a former lawyer at the renowned U.S. law firm McDermott Will & Emery, has filed a lawsuit asserting that the firm unjustly omitted him from a significant salary increase designated for U.S. partners. Despite being officially recognized as a Chicago-based attorney in tax and hiring documents, Huberman alleges that his residence in Israel became the basis for his exclusion from the 2022 pay raise for income partners, which amounted to $425,000.

Exclusion Due to International Residence

Unlike equity partners, income partners receive their compensation as partly or fully salaried employees rather than deriving it primarily from ownership stakes in the firm. Huberman, now a corporate shareholder at Greenberg Traurig based in Chicago and Tel Aviv, contends that McDermott’s decision to exclude him from the salary increase was based on his residency in Israel.

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Hiring Conditions and Contradictions

In the lawsuit filed in Illinois’ Cook County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Huberman claims that despite his physical location in Israel, McDermott mandated that he be licensed to practice in Illinois as a condition of his hire in April 2021. His W-2 U.S. tax form identified McDermott’s Chicago office as his employer’s address. When McDermott announced Huberman’s hiring in September 2021, it explicitly stated that he was based in the firm’s home office in Chicago, even though McDermott has no offices in the Middle East.

Legal Allegations

The legal complaint asserts that McDermott Will & Emery violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act by refusing to bridge the salary gap between Huberman’s initial base salary of $300,000 and the elevated $425,000 over ten months. The claim, totaling over $100,000, seeks redress for the alleged violation.

McDermott’s Response

Currently, a spokesperson for McDermott has not responded to requests for comments on the allegations made by Huberman.

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Huberman’s Current Position

In November 2022, David Huberman joined Greenberg Traurig as a shareholder. His profile on the firm’s website indicates that he is based in Tel Aviv and Chicago.

The lawsuit, filed under the case name David Huberman v. McDermott Will & Emery in Cook County Circuit Court, 2023L011997, sheds light on the complex interplay between international residency, employment conditions, and alleged wage violations in the legal industry. Huberman’s case underscores the importance of clarity and consistency in employment agreements, particularly in a globalized legal landscape.

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