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Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Grace E. Speights

Tel:
Work +1.202.739.5189
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Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Work Department

Labor & Employment

Position

Grace Speights is a partner and leader of the labor and employment practice at Morgan Lewis, managing more than 250 lawyers across the firm. Grace defends clients against employment discrimination claims—particularly class claims—and claims of discrimination in public accommodations. She also advises clients on best practices for corporate diversity initiatives. Grace has handled high profile and high stakes matters for many clients and is often called upon by clients for crisis management assistance. She represents clients in systemic investigations and litigation brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For more information, view her bio at https://www.morganlewis.com/bios/gspeights.

Career

Grace is active in bar association activities and takes on multiple management roles for the firm. She serves as co-chair of Morgan Lewis’s systemic employment litigation practice and co-chair of its Diversity Committee. A member of the firm’s Compensation Committee, over the years Gracehas held several recruitment and management roles for the firm. She currently is a member of the firm’s Advisory Board, the Legal Personnel Committee, the Washington Office Management Committee, and deputy assistant manager of the litigation section of the firm’s Washington office.

Education

The George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1982; University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1979


United States: Labor and employment

ERISA litigation

Within: ERISA litigation

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP‚Äôs ERISA litigation practice has ‚Äėa great track record of success‚Äô in stock-drop litigation, retiree medical class actions and suits challenging stable value fund investments. The team is jointly headed by¬†Brian Ortelere¬†and Jeremy Blumenfeld, who both sit in Philadelphia and are noted as ‚Äėcreative thinkers who have pioneered winning defense strategies over the years‚Äô. Standout highlights include acting for FMC Corporation and General Cable in a set of fiduciary breach claims, and successfully defending Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation against a putative class action claiming breaches of its collective bargaining agreement. Further, Ortelere and Chicago-based co-head Deborah Davidson¬†secured¬†a full dismissal for Washington University in St. Louis in a 403(b) plan excessive fee claim, and Chicago-based Christopher Boran¬†obtained a dismissal for the University of Pennsylvania in a similar class action. Additionally,¬†Melissa Hill¬†in New York secured a win for the New York City Department of Education in an ERISA withdrawal liability lawsuit involving over $100m in potential damages. Practice leader Grace E. Speights¬†sits in Washington DC.

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Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense

Within: Leading lawyers

Grace Speights - Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Within: Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 'provides top-notch advice' and is appreciated for providing 'work quality at the highest level and having an excellent client service reputation'. It is capable of handling the full range of labor and employment matters on a national and international level. Washington DC-based Grace Speights, who is well versed in employment discrimination claims, leads the 'efficient and competent' group. Anne Marie Estevez in Miami represents Uber in a series of ADA accessibility litigation cases regarding the client's alleged failure to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles and alleged denial of service animals. Thomas Hurka in Chicago and Robert Jon Hendricks in San Francisco successfully handled various matters for Boeing. Davis McManus, who splits his time between New York and Boston, 'is the lawyer you want when stakes are high'. Michael Banks, Joseph Costello, Sarah Bouchard, Steven Wall and Michael Burkhardt are noted individuals in Philadelphia. Paulo McKeeby in Dallas 'brings value and trusted guidance' and Stephanie Sweitzer in Chicago is praised for 'her persistent engagement and leadership in managing cases, which is tremendously valuable'. Orange County-based Barbara Miller's 'wage-and-hour class action knowledge is impressive'. Houston's Ethel Johnson 'gets to the core of the issue quickly and efficiently while being the utmost professional'. Recommended practitioners are also Samuel Shaulson and Ira Rosenstein in New York, Lincoln Bisbee in Washington DC and Debra Fischer in Los Angeles. The team had several partner promotions in October 2018, including Jocelyn Cuttino in Washington DC.

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Workplace and employment counseling

Within: Leading lawyers

Grace Speights - Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Within: Workplace and employment counseling

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is well versed in advising clients from various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, retail, technology, energy and transportation, on employment law challenges. The Washington DC office was reinforced by the arrival of former commissioner of the EEOC Chai Feldblum and her then chief of staff Sharon Perley Masling in February 2019. The team is particularly involved in the emerging #MeToo in the workplace area, and practice head Grace Speights, also based in DC, acted as a special investigation counsel to National Public Radio (NPR)'s board of directors’ special committee on sexual harassment. She also led an internal investigation for the Humane Society of the United States regarding sexual harassment complaints against a former CEO. Princeton's Michelle Sedin Silverman represented a government contractor in a matter alleging systemic discrimination against transgender employees. Deputy practice leader David McManus splits his time between Boston and New York and has notable crisis management experience. Michael Banks in Philadelphia, David Bowman and Douglas Schwarz in Boston, Jacqueline Aguilera in Los Angeles and Barbara Miller in Orange County are other key individuals. Further names to note include the Chicago-based Ross Friedman and Stephanie Sweitzer as well as Palo Alto's Michael Schlemmer. Susan Harthill joined the Washington DC office in October 2018 from the US Department of Labor (DOL). Around the same time, there have been several partner promotions, including Jocelyn Cuttino, also in Washington DC.

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