However, after an unsuccessful conference call on May 30, Ballard Spahr "filed an action for declaratory judgment...arguing that the firm had not violated Sheehan's rights under the Equal Pay Act and had not breached any fiduciary duty."
||''I wanted to keep it as discreet as possible,'' Sheehan said. ''I never expected a suit by the firm. I expected an opportunity to sit down and discuss my concerns with the firm.''|
Therefore, filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, Sheehan lost the "confidential" battle and brought her charges out into the open. The firm, according to Sheehan's attorney, Lynne Bernabei, "ultimately 'advertised the suit' to the partners."
"I wanted to keep it as discreet as possible," Sheehan said. "I never expected a suit by the firm. I expected an opportunity to sit down and discuss my concerns with the firm."
Several factors led to Sheehan's decision to file charges. First, she made Paul Casey "her equal in a two-person team," Casey allegedly "took her practice from her over the course of several years and called it his own. That partner was ultimately paid more for doing the same work, she said in her demand letter."
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How much more? In 2004 Casey earned almost $436,000, while Sheehan earned $358,681.
Sheehan's demand letter also claims that Casey tried to re-formalize the 50/50 agreement he had with Sheehan, allegedly removing "client matters from her so that she no longer had involvement with the HOPE VI practice she originally brought to the firm," and retaliated with the firm "against [Sheehan] in several ways after she first raised her concerns."
"It's really been a systematic stealing of her business by her partner," said Bernabei.
Despite all the legal matters, Sheehan continues to "work for the betterment of the partnership."
"I go to work every day. I comport myself in a manner I would if this were not going on in my life."
However, "it's very uncomfortable," she added when asked if other lawyers were talking about the matter. "For someone with my background, it's demoralizing."