JoEllen Lyons Dillon, a non-equity partner at Reed Smith, is suing the firm in federal district court in western Pennsylvania for discrimination. The complaint alleges that the firm paid women partners less than men, and denied her equity partnership, though she consistently collected over $1 million per year for the firm. (The complaint says that in 2007, “the seven female equity partners in defendant’s Pittsburgh office on average earned $129,000.00 per year less than the 49 male equity partners.” )

But here’s the real eye opener: Dillion also claims that the male corporate/securities partners at Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office awarded work to “female attorneys who were willing to engage in sexual relations with members of defendant’s management or with whom members of defendant’s management had sought to engage in such relations.” (Global head of personnel, Robert Nicholas, says in an email that Dillion’s claim “is completely without merit and her portrayal of our Pittsburgh office is inaccurate, unfair and irresponsible.” The email also states that “the percentage of women partners firm wide significantly exceeds the national average for firms of our size.”)

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