US law firm faces £31m sexual harassment lawsuit

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A former associate at a major US law firm is filing a $50m (£31m) sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employers.

Julie Kamps, who was dismissed from law firm Fried Frank in January, is claiming that a female partner at the firm harassed her and that she was overlooked for promotion because of her sexuality.

In the complaint, Kamps claims that Janice Mac Avoy, a litigation partner, “knowingly made unwelcome sexual advances and sexual comments to Kamps, both alone and in the presence of others.”

Mac Avoy allegedly “told Kamps it was ‘the biggest regret of her life’ that she had not slept with Kamps ‘when she had the chance,'” and discussed various sexual acts with Kamps, the complaint states.

Fried Frank states that it is, “A stimulating, open-minded and progressive environment, where we respect and build upon the assets and talents of all at the Firm. 

“Our Firm is committed to maintaining an inclusive environment and fostering a professional atmosphere that promotes equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices.”

“We actively support affinity groups for our attorneys of colour and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys that meet regularly to build community,” it continues.

“The LGBT Affinity Group at Fried Frank was established to foster a sense of community among its members by furthering their professional and personal development while cultivating an inclusive environment in the Firm and promoting a commitment to equality.”

In addition to the $50m, Kamps is seeking to be reinstated to Fried Frank as a partner.

The complaint also names Justin Spendlove, the firm’s managing partner, and 100 other defendants.