Jones Day responds to ‘fraternity culture’ class action
Global firm Jones Day has issued a statement responding to the filed complaint of six former associates of the firm, labelling the claims of pay discrimination as being “without merit”.
Yesterday, Lawyers Weekly reported that six female attorneys – who formerly worked for the United States arm of the firm – had filed a 107-page class and collective action complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia (Case 1:190cv00945-RDM) for “systemic discrimination based on gender, pregnancy and maternity”.
In the filed complaint, the complainants alleged that Jones Day’s culture is a “brotherhood ruled by one man” and that the firm operates as a fraternity “in a perversely literal sense”.
In its published response, Jones Day said it was “proud of its success” in promoting a diverse range of lawyers, and that it “will litigate this case in court, not in the media, and are confident we will prevail”.
Responding directly to claims that women are unable to progress through the firm, it said the majority of its female partners are mothers who have taken family leave and used flexible schedules while employed by the firm.
“More than half (18 of 35) of the US lawyers promoted to the partnership in January 2019 were women and almost three-quarters of them had taken or were on family leave at the time of promotion, and the vast majority of the US men promoted to partnership also took family leave,” the firm wrote.
“In January 2018, 42 per cent (or 14 of 33) of the U.S. lawyers promoted to partnership were women, and approximately 71 per cent of them had taken family leave.
Jones Day is equally proud, it continued, of its “track record in developing strong women leaders in numbers few firms can match”.
“Seventeen of our offices and regions – including our largest region – are led by women partners, almost all of whom have children. Our 17-member partnership committee, which advises on partner admissions and compensation, has five women, all of whom took family leave during their Jones Day careers and one of whom worked part-time for a number of years. Forty per cent of the members of our advisory committee are women, almost all mothers.”
These points, the firm posited, “belie the recent claims of six former associates (four unnamed) that women – and, in particular, women who take family leave – cannot succeed at Jones Day”.
“The claims of pay discrimination – made only ‘on information and belief’, without any factual support – are equally without merit. The distorted picture of the firm portrayed in the complaint is not Jones Day,” the firm concluded.