A team of Washington-based Morgan, Lewis & Bockius attorneys are now part of the team defending Paula Deen in an employment discrimination suit.
Washington managing partner Grace Speights and associates Jocelyn Cuttino and Alexis Thomas make up the D.C. component of Deen's legal team. They replace attorneys from Savannah, Ga.-based Oliver Maner LLP as lead attorney. Attorneys from Weiner, Hearouse, Weitz, Greenberg & Shawe will serve as local counsel.
Morgan Lewis spokeswoman Jennifer Costa confirmed that Speights and attorneys from the firm are representing Deen and co-defendants. Cuttino and Thomas practice in labor and employment law.
In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, the plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, alleges she was subjected to sexual harassment and racial discrimination at a restaurant Deen and her brother own.
Speights specializes in defending claims of employment discrimination. She joined Morgan Lewis in 1984 and, in 2008, she became the firm’s managing partner in Washington. In a recent interview, Speights talked about, among other things, the challenges of managing a law firm and maintaining a practice. “In order to lead, you have to set a good example,” she said.
Morgan Lewis attorneys represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in a suit against the National Labor Relations Board. The firm last year, litigating in Washington’s federal trial court, successfully challenged the "quickie election" which would have shortened the timeline for union elections.
The firm has also represented The Walgreen Company, Exxon Mobil and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in labor and employment disputes.