Biglaw Firm Facing Racial Discrimination Lawsuit From Former Senior Associate

men men discrimination cookie cutter paper dollOn Friday, a lawsuit was filed in New York state court against Biglaw firm WilmerHale. Last year, the firm made $1,344,519,000 in total revenue, making it 34th on the Am Law 100. The complaint was filed pro se by Jean E. Dassie, a former senior associate in the IP practice group.

As reported by Law360, Dassie, a naturalized citizen of Cameroonian origin, traces much of his alleged discrimination at the firm to his issues with counsel Anh-Khoa Tran. Tran is also a named defendant in the suit.

Much of Dassie’s complaint stems from a conflict he says he had with Tran in 2022 over the protocol for making changes to slideshows to be used in trials. After Dassie maintained that Tran’s proposal for doing that task did not make sense but that he would consider it, Tran “scream[ed] at plaintiff that he is a counsel and that if he wants something done one way, that’s how it should be done,” the suit says.

Tran’s account of the conflict went on to form the basis of a negative year-end evaluation, delivered in September 2022, in which Dassie was put on an interim review plan, he says.

WilmerHale’s evaluation said that Dassie “continued not to follow the instruction, which led to an altercation that is inconsistent with WilmerHale culture and values.”

The complaint alleges the statements in the evaluation are defamatory, saying, “Blinded by its prejudice, WilmerHale accepted Tran’s version of events uncritically and published the falsehoods in plaintiff’s year-end evaluation.”

Dassie says he received above average evaluations in the remainder of 2022 and in 2023, but that negative review was used as a “pretext” to fire him.

The complaint also contains allegations he was given menial tasks below his position, and he was blamed for mistakes that weren’t his.

WilmerHale hasn’t commented on the lawsuit.

You can read the full complaint below.

wilmer complaint

Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon


(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)