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Commemoration of Equal Pay Day - April 28, 2011

Katherine M. Kimpel, Partner, Sanford Wittels & Heisler

Katherine M. Kimpel is a Partner of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, a national law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and California. Ms. Kimpel received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2006. Ms. Kimpel coordinates recruitment and hiring for the firm.

Mr. Kimpel served as Lead Counsel representing approximately 6000 female employees in Velez v. Novartis. The presiding federal judge described the case as having been “brilliantly tried.” After a seven-week trial, SWH secured the largest employment discrimination verdict ($253 million) in United States history. SWH obtained a court-approved settlement of $175 million on behalf of the class that the judge described as “extraordinary” and “one of a kind.” Ms. Kimpel continues to play the lead role in overseeing the implementation of the settlement terms, including the systemic reforms Novartis must implement.

Ms. Kimpel’s passion for social justice work is the defining aspect of her legal career. As class counsel, she has represented the interests of individuals in class actions across the United States in gender and race discrimination matters, as well as in wage and hour class litigation. Ms. Kimpel has secured victories for her clients in all stages of litigation and in private and public settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Ms. Kimpel has also negotiated numerous systemic reform packages for major national and international corporations that generate long-term reforms in the workplace. Most recently, Ms. Kimpel filed a class action complaint against Bayer on behalf of six class representatives and a class of female employees at Bayer in band levels VS 1.2 and higher, with claims of gender discrimination in compensation, promotions and pregnancy.

Ms. Kimpel has won recognition for her legal achievements (including being named one of 5 employment lawyers who are Rising Stars in the field by Law360); authored the amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the largest gender discrimination class action that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court; and is often asked to speak on gender discrimination issues. For example, Ms. Kimpel recently presented to the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association and at a Roundtable with Patricia Shiu, Director of the OFCCP at the Department of Labor. In 2011, she will be presenting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, and the Pennsylvania Bar’s Employment Law Institute.

Before joining SWH in 2007, Ms. Kimpel served as Special Counsel to Senator Russell Feingold on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she handled criminal justice and other civil rights issues for the Senator. Ms. Kimpel also worked for the Commission on Safety and Abuse for America's Prisons, and as a fourth grade teacher for D.C. Public Schools.

During her time at Yale Law School, Ms. Kimpel served as the Chair of the Student Board for the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and as the Student Director for clinics (1) providing civil legal services to the Latino and immigrant community in Fair Haven and (2) representing students seeking improved financing for Connecticut public schools. The education class action she initiated as a Student Director recently won at the state Supreme Court. Upon graduation, Ms. Kimpel was the recipient of the Stephen J. Massey Prize for best exemplifying the values of the Yale clinical program.