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Sidley's RIF of Partners
Must be Explained: Judge Zagel

07/16/06

In the EEOC age discrimination suit against Sidley, Austin, federal district court judge James Zagel this week ruled on a motion to compel discovery filed by the Commission.  The court gave the law firm eight weeks to amplify its responses to interrogatories served by the EEOC. Never a litigator to avoid intensive questioning, EEOC is seeking complete specifics from the firm about its criteria for the personnel decisions.  Judge Zagel ruled that Sidley must give a complete account of what went into the decision to let the partners go (or be demoted).  The court indicated that for the most part any reasons articulated  after his deadline could not be brought in to the case as justification(s).

Zagel did not go as far as EEOC wanted him to go, however.  The Commission wanted specifics on what weight the firm's management committee put on each reason to select which partner, and the court declined to require that.