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White-collar defense lawyer Nancy Luque’s long been known for tenaciously representing controversial clients such as convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and, more recently, former Washington Teachers’ Union official Gwendolyn Hemphill. Though that fervor has won her acclaim from clients, it recently came back to haunt Luque, who not long ago was appointed co-chair of the white-collar practice at the D.C. office of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. Six DLA Piper support staffers lodged a formal grievance with D.C. managing partner Ann Ford on April 24, citing Luque’s “erratic, unpredictable and turbulent behavior” as making them uncomfortable and creating “a hostile work environment,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by Legal Times. Former personal secretaries Gail Brosious and Mary Pasternack; secretaries Wendy Jo Scalley, Kim Ellis, and Christine Bragg; and mail-room employee Abdel Anouar signed the letter. The six did not return calls or declined comment. Ford says, “We don’t comment on specific issues dealing with personnel matters,” but adds, “All complaints are appropriately investigated.” The two-page letter claims “the secretaries along the hallway are unwillingly subjected to daily barrages of telephonic obscenity-laden screaming matches” coming from Luque’s office. It also states that “secretaries who have worked directly for or in close proximity” to Luque previously complained to human resources and the only “solution has been to relocate the affected secretaries to other positions.” Former DLA Piper partner Lisa Prager, who sat four offices down from Luque, says that she’s never heard obscene language from Luque’s office. And though Luque acknowledges that no one would ever accuse her of being shy, she says her demeanor is part and parcel of her line of work. “My job is to fight as hard for my clients as I possibly can — sometimes with gloves off — but I have heard these concerns and will try to be more sensitive to them,” says Luque.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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