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MoFo, Female Lawyers Agree to End Sex, Pregnancy Bias Suit (1)

March 22, 2022, 9:00 PMUpdated: March 22, 2022, 9:13 PM

Morrison & Foerster LLP and two female former attorneys have settled allegations the firm marginalized, denied advancement, and otherwise mistreated the women because of their sex, pregnancies, and maternity leaves.

Sherry William and Joshua Ashley Klayman were the last remaining plaintiffs from a group of lawyers that sued MoFo in April 2018 for alleged systemic discrimination against women.

The firm, William, and Klayman filed a stipulation of dismissal with the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California saying Tuesday they’ve agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice. Details of the settlement agreement weren’t included in the court record but the parties issued a joint statement.

“All parties acknowledged that they are pleased to have resolved this matter in a positive way for all involved,” the statement said. “Both Ms. Klayman and Ms. William note that this settlement comes at a time where working mothers have been disproportionally harmed by the global pandemic caused by COVID-19.”

“All parties agree that a commitment to supporting and promoting women and working parents is critical for today’s society,” it said. “Morrison & Foerster, Ms. William and Ms. Klayman are each proud of their efforts to advance this goal.”

The other five lead plaintiffs advised the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Dec. 6, 2020, that they had settled their individual claims against the 1000-plus-lawyer international firm. The lawsuit’s classwide allegations were subsequently dropped as well.

MoFo’s resolutions with William and Klayman mean a trial on the women’s remaining claims won’t be necessary. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in a March 12, 2021, ruling had granted MoFo summary judgment on some of William’s and Klayman’s claims, but had said a jury must decide their other claims.

Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP represents Klayman and William. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represents MoFo.

The case is William v. Morrison & Foerster LLP, N.D. Cal., No. 3:18-cv-02542, stipulation of dismissal 3/22/22.

(Updates to add joint statement comments in paragraphs four and five.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Patrick L. Gregory at; Steven Patrick at