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Ex-Quinn Emanuel Staff Attorney Sues Firm for Race Discrimination

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on November 11, 2011 5:47 AM

What's up next in the Quinn Emanuel case docket? A race discrimination case. Against the firm. Alleged by a former staff attorney.

Whenever a law firm is sued, it seems ironic.

You'd think that BigLaw attorneys and partners would tread lightly enough that lawsuits would be avoided at all costs. After all, they should know the law.

Though if the facts that former staff attorney Kisshia Simmons-Grant alleges are true, they might have made a grievous error.

Simmons-Grant's complaint alleges that white staff members were given more work. Simmons-Grant is African American.

She further alleges that she went through several periods without projects and therefore wasn't paid. She says she informed a managing partner about the issue, who said race didn't play a role in the way assignments were doled out.

Except, she asserts that after she complained she was retaliated against. For one, she was assigned to work with an attorney that she didn't feel safe with. He had threatened her in the past. She complained and told managers she didn't want to work with him, but they didn't reassign her.

Simmons-Grant ended up quitting.

She's now asking for damages in the amount of her past and future earnings, compensation for her mental distress, and punitive damages. She's also requesting attorneys' fees, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

Quinn Emanuel's response? The lawsuit is frivolous.

Though, despite the firm's claims, only a court can decide if Quinn Emanuel's race discrimination suit has merit. Speculations about whether or not discrimination did take place won't be too illuminating. After all, it seems natural that a law firm would deny these claims.

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