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Siding with former Winston & Strawn income partner Constance Ramos, a California appellate panel has set aside an arbitration agreement that would have kept a gender bias case against the law firm out of court.

A three-judge panel at the first appellate district of the California Court of Appeal held on Friday that an arbitration pact Winston had tried to enforce as part of its partnership agreement was “unconscionable” and that the entire arbitration pact should be considered void. The decision comes more than a year after Ramos, an intellectual property specialist who now works at her own firm, Akira IP, lodged the suit, saying she faced gender discrimination and retaliation at Winston.

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Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty, based in New York, covers the business of law with a focus on legal ethics, lawyer misconduct, conflicts-of-interest and litigation involving law firms. He can be reached at sflaherty@alm.com. On Twitter: @sflaherty18

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