30 January 2019

Greenspoon Marder accused of racial bias

Korean-American lawyer who joined Greenspoon as part of 2016 merger alleges bias followed a decades-long pattern at his prior firm.

A Korean-American attorney says in a new lawsuit that national law firm Greenspoon Marder LLP suddenly terminated him on 10 days’ notice because of his race and national origin.

Less-productive lawyers promoted

The firing of Jun Chul Whang came just over two years after he joined Greenspoon as a shareholder and has left him ‘with no job and diminished prospects,’ Mr Whang alleges in his January 25 complaint. The lawyer told the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the bias was a continuation of mistreatment he was subjected to throughout his 24 years with New York litigation boutique Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan LLP, which merged with Greenspoon in April 2016. He added JMF’s all-white equity partnership took years longer to promote him than it did less-productive white lawyers.

‘conscious, measured decision’

Mr Whang cited a specific occasion when local counsel on a legal matter in Poland asked that he not be named lead attorney on the case, which JMF acceded. The complaint states the Polish lawyer made clear the move was based on Mr Whang’s ethnicity and JMF admitted to him it was discriminatory. The problem continuation on reorganisation following the merger, the complaint states, leading to Greenspoon’s abrupt firing of Mr Whang as ‘a conscious, measured decision’ to favour the white lawyers in his practice group over him, in violation of federal and New York City anti-bias laws.