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The First Muslim Federal Judge?

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

We have never had a Muslim federal judge in this country. That could change. Last week President Obama nominated Abid Qureshi, a lawyer with the firm Latham & Watkins, LLP, to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Qureshi was born in Pakistan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1993 and from Harvard Law School in 1997. He has spent his entire career with Latham & Watkins and it has been a distinguished career to date. His colleagues describe him as a brilliant lawyer and an exceptional nominee. Kathryn Ruemmler, former White House counsel and current colleague of Qureshi, said “having judges who are reflective of the nation as a whole just brings public confidence into our court system.” Farhana Khera, executive director for Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, said “a judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included.” Muslims have served as judges in state court, but never in federal court. President Obama has made judicial diversity a priority in his administration and has appointed 138 women and 120 minorities to federal judgeships. The Senate now has to decide whether to confirm the nomination.

For more on the nomination follow these links:
President Obama Nominates Abid Riaz Qureshi to Serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Abid Qureshi, Nominated By Obama, Would Be First Muslim Federal …
Obama Nominates First Muslim to Be a Federal Judge
President Obama picks the first Muslim nominee to be a federal judge …

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Update on Duke Class Action Payments

Randy Freking

For those of you who made claims in Williams v. Duke, the claims process is underway. The review of these claims is a detailed process, with over 200,000 claims received.  For more information on the estimated time frame checks will be mailed visit dukeclassaction.com.

 

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Female Law Partner’s Gender Bias Suit Against Her Current Employer Raises Concerns of Pay Equality

Katherine Neff

Kerrie L. Campbell filed suit against her current employer, the law firm Chadbourne & Parke, alleging that she was shut out of leadership positions and paid far less than male partners at her level. According to Ms. Campbell, Chadbourne’s management committee, which determines the compensation for the firm’s partners, is made up of five men, who award male partners more points, which translate into higher dollar compensation, than they do to women. After complaining to the managing partner of pay inequaility, Ms. Campbell alleges that she was told her employment would end at the end of August and her pay was substantially reduced to that of an entry-level associate.
Other women have filed similar suits against their large law firm employers. Last month, Traci M. Ribeiro sued her firm Sedgwick, a large San Francisco based law firm, alleging that the “male-dominated culture” resulted in female lawyers being denied equal pay and equal promotions. Similarly, Kamee Verdrager’s case against her former employer Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsly and Popeo of Boston, is set for trial on her gender discrimination claims. Ms. Verdrager contends that the firm reduced her seniority by two years — which affected her level of pay — then later fired her.
In 2014, Sky Analytics, who provides spend management software to corporate legal departments, released its first ever gender study using actual billing records from law firms. The study, along with a National Association of Women Lawyers study on gender biases in the legal profession, highlighted the pay disparity between men and women. We blogged about these studies in 2014.
Hopefully the publicity surrounding these lawsuits, along with the 2014 studies on gender biases in the legal profession, will empower other women to continue coming forward and motivate law firms to cease their unequal billing practices.
Female Lawyer’s Gender-Bias Suit Challenges Law Firm Pay Practices by Elizabeth Olsonaug of The New York Times. Published August 31, 2016.

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NLRB Says Graduate Students Are Employees

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the National Labor Relations Board held that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees and have the right to engage in collective bargaining. The Board found that the student assistants were employees where they “perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated.” It further held that, even though they were students as well, “statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship” and “is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the Act does not reach.” Seems simple enough, but it isn’t. In fact, the Board has reversed itself on this issue several times in the last 16 years. The current Board says that the prior ruling holding that teaching and research assistants were not employees lacks any convincing justification for the ruling and deprives an entire category of workers of the protections afforded to employees. In the prior decision the Board said teaching and research assistants could not be employees because their primary relationship with the university was an educational one rather than an economic one.

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Judge Says $100 Million Not Fair And Reasonable To Settle Uber Class Action

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week federal Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California declined to approve a $100 million dollar settlement in a class-action suit by approximately 385 thousand Uber drivers. The Judge said that the amount was still not enough to be fair and reasonable. The Judge said drivers were potentially owed $700 million in mileage reimbursement, $122 million in tips, $2.4 million in overtime and $30 million in phone reimbursements. Attorneys for the drivers and Uber had agreed on the settlement. The risk for Uber in not settling is it could get hit with a big verdict at trial. There is risk for the drivers as well, however, aside from potentially losing at trial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the decision to certify the class of 385 thousand drivers. If that decision were to be overturned, nearly all of the drivers would have to pursue their claims individually in arbitration. When the same thing happened to Lyft in a similar lawsuit, it increased its proposal from $12.5 million to $27 million and that amount was approved by the judge overseeing that litigation. We’ll see what happens here.

Follow these links for more details:

 

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