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In January 2000 Theresa Gallion, then a partner in the Chicago office of Jackson Lewis Schnitzler & Krupman, was giving a ride to her friend Kathryn Ditmars, an associate in the office who was pregnant at the time. Ditmars was crying. She was upset about an incident the previous day involving Michael Petkovich, the office’s managing partner. When deposed last winter, Gallion recounted how Ditmars told her that the 6-foot-5-inch Petkovich had put his hands on her shoulders, pushed her into the corner of his office, and screamed at her. Ditmars “was just terrified, just terrified, and shocked at his physically menacing conduct,” testified Gallion. “[S]he just cried and cried.” Shortly afterwards, Gallion said, she called William Krupman, the firm’s chairman, and reported the incident. Gallion testified that she had previously told Krupman that Petkovich was “abusive” to the female associates in the office. In addition, Petkovich was rumored to be having an affair with an associate in the office; the couple’s interaction was “suggestive of some kind of favoritism,” Gallion says she told Krupman. She made a similar call to Gregory Rasin, the firm’s national director of litigation, concluding, “It’s a likely gender issue.” The phrase should have set off alarm bells. Jackson Lewis is one of the country’s top labor and employment firms, with a national reputation that has attracted a roster of Fortune 500 clients. (American Lawyer Media Inc., the parent company of The American Lawyer and law.com, is also a client.) The firm has about 350 lawyers in 20 offices across the country, most of whom spend all day, every day, defending corporate management against employment-related lawsuits. Gallion, who left the firm in March 2000, has compiled an impressive record in her 21-year career; when she describes something as a “gender issue,” she knows whereof she speaks. Krupman’s response? “You have a personality conflict with Michael. … Work it out,” he told Gallion, according to her testimony. “I thought it was an unbelievable response from a very smart man,” she said, at her deposition. “We’re equal employment opportunity lawyers. He was placed on notice of a risk to the firm of a terrible situation in an office that was financially important. … He’s the boss. He knows better.” Krupman might have done well to heed Gallion’s warnings. In December 2000 Petkovich became head of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. Less than a year later, the firm was charged with sexual and racial discrimination by Karen Khan, a former partner in that office. In June, Petkovich was replaced as head of the D.C. office. Other controversies have roiled the firm in the past: Women have made gender-based claims against Krupman, Rasin, and Harold Weinrich, a current partner and the former head of the Washington, D.C., office. In addition, according to lawyers who have left the firm, the firm’s compensation system has been manipulated for the benefit of Krupman and a small circle of his cronies, a characterization Krupman would dispute. Compensation was one of the issues the firm discussed in a written statement to The American Lawyer. Despite repeated attempts and lengthy discussions, Krupman, Rasin, Petkovich and current Jackson Lewis partners declined to talk to The American Lawyer on the record. In addition, almost 60 current employees, former employees and people familiar with the firm were contacted. Many of them refused requests for an interview. Of the rest, the vast majority would speak only on the condition of anonymity. This article is based on the deposition testimony of Krupman, Rasin, Gallion and others taken in the Khan case, as well as more than 40 interviews. Petkovich was never deposed in connection with the Khan case. In response to inquiries from The American Lawyer, Jackson Lewis issued the lengthy written statement that says, in part: Jackson Lewis values the contribution of every one of its attorneys, including its many female attorneys. … While we strive for complete harmony within our firm, we know it is an impossible ideal to attain. … Any employer knows that, from time to time, someone will misinterpret a comment, misconstrue an interaction or, most importantly, depart from core beliefs regarding treatment of people. … Some situations [identified by The American Lawyer] are many years old. We were aware of them and addressed them at the time. … Compensation is based on numerous factors, including merit and experience. In many cases, women are paid more than men in the same class and, in many cases, women are billed at a higher rate. … We regret that anyone may have perceived his or her treatment to be less than fair or appropriate. The statement goes on to say that the firm seeks input from its associates, and requires the managing partner in each office to provide training about its equal employment policies and to enforce them. The firm also boasts of an 18 percent female partnership, and claims that 45 percent of the lawyers hired during the past five years were women. It notes that it is establishing an internal committee to explore methods of improving its policies against harassment and discrimination, and that it is changing its policy to allow employees to bring complaints to an ombudsperson. The statement contains no explanation for these changes. “Very tough guy” is how Krupman, 65, described Petkovich, 50, when he was deposed in the Khan case in December 2001. A former associate remembers a book on his desk: “Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines.” A labor lawyer who had worked at the National Labor Relations Board before joining Jackson Lewis, Petkovich has spent many years battling labor unions on behalf of corporations. Chicago is a big market for labor and employment work, but the Jackson Lewis office remained relatively small during Petkovich’s tenure in the mid- to late 1990s, never exceeding 15 attorneys. Theresa Gallion was one of the partners in the office. She had joined the firm’s Orlando, Fla., office in 1993, then, in 1996, moved to Indianapolis, which was considered part of the Chicago territory. She commuted to the Chicago office once or twice a week for about a year. But over the course of the year, she recalled, Petkovich’s behavior made her so uncomfortable that she worked out of an office at Hyatt Corp., her client. “[Petkovich] was rude. He was disrespectful. … Just really unbelievable types of behavior,” she testified. Petkovich also drove away associates; turnover in the office was “remarkable,” according to one ex-associate. “Petkovich was the reason for the revolving door, absolutely,” says Craig Hoetger, an associate at the firm from 1999 through 2000. Lawyers who worked in the office say that Petkovich’s behavior often crossed the line, and that women were a particular target. Petkovich was known not only for screaming and shouting at them, but also for acting in ways that female associates say they found physically intimidating. Several people who worked in the office describe him as a “bully.” At her deposition, Gallion talked about his “very physical, menacing style.” She testified that three female associates told her about separate, but disturbingly similar, incidents: “He’s a big person, they’re very small people. That he would get them in a closed door, shout at them, force them into kind of a corner, tell them they would have to break down crying; they would cry.” Ex-associates also say that men were given far greater latitude than women. But at least one female associate offers a partial defense: “He was constantly screaming at me, berating me, but he treated the men the same way,” she says. After Krupman received Gallion’s call about the pregnant associate, Kathryn Ditmars, he flew to Chicago and interviewed her. According to his testimony, he stopped his inquiry once he determined that she hadn’t been “struck.” Krupman testified that he conducted no further interviews and took no further action, and he denied that Gallion told him about a broader issue: “[Gallion never told me that] women were singled out for any special or abusive treatment,” he testified. Gallion also called Rasin to alert him to the situation in Chicago. At his deposition, Rasin answered a series of questions posed by Lynne Bernabei, Khan’s lawyer: Q: Do you recall learning that Theresa Gallion reported to the members of the management committee that women in the office were not treated fairly by Mr. Petkovich? A: When Theresa Gallion left the firm, she told me that she had a problem with Michael and that she believed other women had a problem with Michael. Q: What did she say was her problem with Michael? A: She didn’t. Q: What did she say that she believed other women’s problems were? A: She didn’t, other than telling me that Michael had hit a pregnant woman. Q: The pregnant woman was a female associate in the office; is that correct? A: Yes. * * * * Q: After receiving this information from Ms. Gallion, did you report it to anyone else? A: Yes. Q: Who did you report it to? A: Bill Krupman. Q: What did you report to him? A: Exactly what I just told you. Q: How did Mr. Krupman respond? A: He told me he would take care of it. Petkovich’s reputation was well known, say lawyers who have left the firm, but his star continued to rise. The firm’s Washington, D.C., office was, according to Krupman’s testimony, “not a successful office, it wasn’t working.” In late 1999 the firm was considering closing it, but “my opinion about the future of the Washington, D.C., office became very, very strong when I learned from Mr. Petkovich that he would be willing to take over the responsibility for managing that office. That changed my view, my opinion, my thinking, substantially,” testified Krupman, who went on to describe how he told the firm’s partners that Petkovich had been “very successful in Chicago” and should be given a chance to “to work his magic” in Washington. Petkovich became managing partner of the D.C. office in December 2000. Less than a year later, the Petkovich “magic” provoked a claim by Karen Khan, 40, a partner in the office. At the time, she was the firm’s only black partner, the office’s head of litigation, and, according to Krupman, “perhaps the best trial attorney in the firm.” Soon after arriving in the office, says Khan, Petkovich excluded her from decision-making, and forced her to direct her client development efforts at blacks. He also took over as the head of litigation for the office. The last straw, according to Khan, came when Petkovich accused her of charging personal expenses to the firm. Khan’s case settled last March. As required by the firm’s partnership agreement, it was heard by arbitrators. Citing a confidentiality agreement, neither Khan nor the firm will discuss the terms of the settlement. Jackson Lewis was founded as a labor and employment firm in 1958, and has pursued that specialty ever since. “They were anti-union from the start. And they win,” says a veteran labor arbitrator who has dealt with the firm on many matters. The firm has been in the middle of countless union/management fights, including the ugly 1990 battle between the New York Daily News and the Newspaper Guild of New York. The firm’s Web site contains a press release trumpeting a recent victory: “Teamsters End Five-Year Struggle to Organize Apple-Pickers.” Jackson Lewis represented the packing company that employed the pickers. William Krupman has been managing partner since the mid-1970s, only the second lawyer ever to hold the position. Former Jackson Lewis partners say that he wields close to absolute power: “Bill [Krupman] always has the authority. Bill runs it as a monarchy. Bill makes all decisions. Bill will muscle any decision through the partnership by making us revote, do whatever it takes to get the result Bill wants,” testified Gallion. He is the head of a small group based in the New York area, which includes Rasin, that is responsible for virtually all firm decisions. Although Rasin estimates that between 70 and 80 percent of the firm’s practice is employment-related litigation, most of firm management, including Krupman and Petkovich, are labor lawyers whose background is in labor/management work. Specialization has meant success for Jackson Lewis. The firm finished 135th in this year’s Am Law 200 survey, and has grown to 122 partners and a total of about 350 lawyers. It represents management exclusively; its clients have constituted a cross-section of corporate America, including American Airlines and The New York Times Co. Labor and employment lawyers are a particular breed. “Labor law is a very rough, very male-dominated world,” says a prominent union-side female lawyer who works in the field. Lawyers from the management side agree. “They [Jackson Lewis attorneys] come from a rough-and-tumble world,” says a partner from a national firm with a prominent management-side labor practice. “They’re used to dealing with cigar-chomping teamsters.” But even among labor lawyers, Jackson Lewis stands out. The firm is known for, and cultivates, its tough-guy reputation. “They’re very litigious, and they don’t like to settle,” says Aileen Armstrong, deputy associate general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board. The firm uses that strategy as a selling point. “They market themselves as union busters. They even put out a handbook on how to avoid unions,” adds Armstrong. That approach hasn’t made the firm any friends on the labor side. “If Jackson Lewis is involved, unions know the client is out for blood,” says the veteran labor arbitrator. Andrew Levin, a lawyer and organizer for the AFL-CIO, sums up the labor crowd’s view of Jackson Lewis: “The devil incarnate,” he says. Chicago wasn’t the only Jackson Lewis office that had seen trouble over the last decade. Members of firm management have said, in deposition testimony, that a complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment was made against Krupman, and that a claim of sexual discrimination was brought against Rasin, both of whom are based in New York City. And in 1995 or 1996, a sexual harassment complaint was made against Harold Weinrich, the then managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office. No details were given about any of those incidents at the depositions, and everyone involved refused to discuss them with The American Lawyer. Controversy about Weinrich continued when, in fall 2000, he allegedly threw a laptop computer in the direction of Nancy O’Liddy, the office’s director of marketing, leaving a dent in the wall next to her. Afterwards, O’Liddy spoke about the incident to Khan and C.J. Trosclair, who by that time had replaced Weinrich as managing partner of the office. According to Khan and Trosclair, O’Liddy told them that she didn’t know whether Weinrich threw the computer at her or just threw it aimlessly in a burst of anger, but Khan says O’Liddy was clearly shaken by the incident. Weinrich had to pay for the computer himself; no other action was taken against him, according to Trosclair. O’Liddy and Weinrich declined to comment. Pay is another area where female lawyers at Jackson Lewis say they were at a disadvantage. Partner compensation at Jackson Lewis is largely determined by client origination credit, which, according to firm policy, can be shared by anyone important to the relationship and anyone who regularly works for the client. According to lawyers who worked for the firm, it doesn’t work that way. “It’s supposedly a share-the-wealth system, but it gets shared by Krupman and his buddies,” says one. Specifically, these lawyers charge that Krupman and a favored few manipulate the origination credits so that they receive credit for clients they have little or nothing to do with, thus reducing the proportional amount of credit for the lawyers who actually do the work. “Credit equals dollars,” says one former lawyer. “If you spread around the credit, it dilutes the dollars.” This dynamic is vividly demonstrated in the firm’s experience with Hyatt. Gallion’s “best friend in the world,” Mary Catherine Sexton, was the labor and employment counsel for Hyatt. When Gallion moved from Cleveland’s Baker & Hostetler to Jackson Lewis in 1993, she brought the client with her. Then, “I was called and told by Bill [Krupman], within six or eight months of joining the firm, that I was not to have my normal contact with [Sexton] or other people at Hyatt, but instead everything would go through Michael Petkovich, a total stranger to the company,” testified Gallion. Gallion was forced to share client origination credit with Petkovich, as well as with Krupman and Patrick Vaccaro, another member of the firm’s management committee, even though they “didn’t know anybody at Hyatt [and they] were not responsible for anything,” testified Gallion. The new arrangement was not a success. About a year later, Petkovich angered the client by recommending that Hyatt pay what Gallion described as a “shocking” amount to settle an “easily defensible” case. Then, he added insult to injury: “He was so disrespectful to [Sexton] as the woman in charge that he arranged to have a golf tournament with her male subordinates and didn’t tell her and didn’t invite her,” said Gallion. For her part, Sexton says she was unhappy both with Petkovich and with the way her account was handled. “It’s inappropriate to move a client from one lawyer to another as a result of an internal power struggle. It shows a lack of respect,” says Sexton, who urged Gallion to switch to another firm at the time. Sexton has since left Hyatt. Gallion also testified that she was denied credit for Sears, Roebuck & Co., even though she tried “several” cases for the company and knew almost all of their in-house counsel. Petkovich and other male partners got credit for that client, even though they were “total strangers” to the company who “never did their work and never knew anything about it,” according to Gallion. She testified that she continues to do Sears work at her new firm. Karen Khan also complains about the compensation system. She was pressured to take part in special marketing groups targeting women and minorities, she says, and was told by Elise Bloom, the head of the women’s group and a partner in the New York City office, that she’d get credit for any clients brought in by the group. The group succeeded in landing clients, but Khan says she never got the credit that was owed to her. At his deposition, Krupman denied that Khan deserved credit for those clients, saying that participating in the group wasn’t involvement with the client to earn credit. Krupman’s deposition testimony offers an interesting glimpse into his thinking on the subject of partner compensation. When discussing Khan’s compensation, Krupman admitted that her pay was the same in 1999 and 2000, while the firm’s profits went up. This exchange followed between Krupman and Bernabei: Q: So that would mean that she [Khan] actually got a lower share of the firm’s profits insofar as the firm’s profits went up, is that correct? A: I suppose you could make that argument. Q: She would get a lower percentage of the firm’s profits, is that right? A: The only thing you have to understand [is that] in our culture nobody looks at it the way you [Bernabei] look at it. Q: I am not asking if anyone looks at it like that. A: It is a silly comment, nobody looks at it that way; it is a question of whether you are getting more or less. The percentage is never looked at. Partnership decisions were another area Gallion raised in her calls to Krupman, according to her testimony. During one of those calls, Krupman accused Gallion of spreading rumors that Petkovich was having an affair with Maria Anastas, 37, then an associate in the Chicago office. Gallion denied doing so, but she told Krupman that the Petkovich/Anastas relationship was the subject of much discussion in the office, and that issues of “favoritism” were in the air. At his deposition, Krupman denied knowing about the affair, but it has been acknowledged in the deposition testimony of both Rasin and Richard Schey, a member of the firm’s management committee. In 1999 both Anastas and Kathryn Ditmars were eligible for partner. A few months before the candidates were chosen, Gallion met with Petkovich. According to Gallion’s deposition, he told her that Anastas was a “shoe-in,” and that it was “very unlikely” that the firm would promote two women from the same office. “I remember him saying, ‘Especially two women,’” testified Gallion. Petkovich nominated Anastas, who was elected and is a partner with the firm today. He refused to nominate Ditmars, and when Gallion did so, he “sandbagged” her chances, according to Gallion. “I was shocked that Ditmars didn’t make partner,” says a former associate in the Chicago office. “One of the reasons I left was because I had no confidence in the partnership process.” Ditmars, who left the firm in fall 2000, declined to comment. Gender issues had previously been raised at the firm. Rasin, now 55, has testified that he had an affair with Elise Bloom, 45. He also testified that Laura Watanabe, a former associate in New York, filed a claim against him with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The following exchange took place between Rasin and Bernabei at his deposition: Q: Her [Watanabe's] claim was that you had favored Elise Bloom, with whom you were having a sexual relationship and who later became your wife, with good work assignments; is that correct? A: As I recall her complaint, it was that I favored unmarried women over married women — oh, no, women without children over women with children. Q: It was part of her complaint that you also favored Elise Bloom, with whom you were having a sexual relationship? * * * * A: I don’t recall the specifics, but that sounds like something I have heard. Khan recalls attending a partnership meeting in early 2000 at which a payment of several hundred thousand dollars to Watanabe was authorized to settle the case. Watanabe, Bloom, and Rasin didn’t return phone calls seeking comment. Rasin and Bloom were married in 1997. Jackson Lewis trumpets its “preventive strategies,” which the firm says will keep clients union-free and out of litigation. The firm writes harassment and discrimination policies for corporations, but its own policy lacks detail, according to Bernabei, Khan’s D.C.-based lawyer and a frequent writer on employment law. She reviewed those policies as part of the Khan case. [see "The Policy Model"] The firm’s handbook articulates general opposition to discrimination and harassment, but as Krupman testified: “I’m not much on procedure; I know that others in this room are. I believe much more strongly in the importance of talking to people and finding out what is on their mind.” In his deposition, Rasin confirmed the lack of specific, written procedures to be followed after a complaint is made. In addition, the firm lacks a policy that addresses the linked issues of couples and nepotism. “A couples policy was discussed, but it never went forward. It would have crippled half the firm,” cracks C.J. Trosclair. Gallion left Jackson Lewis in 2000, moved back to Orlando, and joined a firm in that city. A partner and four associates left the Jackson Lewis office in Orlando and followed her to her new firm. “By taking [credit for] her clients, Petkovich drove her away. He’s gutted three offices,” is how one ex-associate summarizes Petkovich’s record, referring to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Orlando. Khan has opened her own office in D.C., where she continues to practice employment law for management. In June, Petkovich was replaced by Philip Rosen as managing partner in Washington, D.C. In a statement, the firm says that there is “no factual support for claims of unlawful treatment. Nevertheless, we decided a change in management was appropriate for our Washington, D.C., office.” Petkovich remains a partner at the firm.

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