January 25, 2022

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC has promoted a partner who has been with the firm for more than 20 years to co-lead its Civil Rights and Employment group, the firm recently announced.

Christine E. Webber will co-chair the firm's Civil Rights and Employment practice, the firm said, adding that Webber had played a pivotal role in managing that group before her promotion, with founding partner and Co-Chair Joseph M. Sellers

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In an interview with Law360 on Tuesday, Webber said she decided in third grade she was bound for law school and litigating sex discrimination cases, after her then-teacher reserved the role of filmstrip projector operator to male students.

"Around the same time, Massachusetts passed its own state ERA and ratified the Equal Rights Amendment and I was like, 'Well, there we go, we've got the law, we've got the practice, I just need to sue my third grade teacher,'" she said. "I read a lot of biographies about women reformers throughout history and really thought that was what I wanted to do."

Webber said it is a privilege to be able to do work she loves at Cohen Milstein and to practice with committed colleagues. She first joined the firm in 1997, and having her career culminate in leading the group was a milestone, she said.

"It makes me really happy to be thinking not just about my own cases and the impact they can have but really assisting the rest of the attorneys in our group, to really be able to focus some more of my time on making the group as a whole be as effective as possible in the work we're doing fighting for our clients," she said.

Sellers, who first joined the firm in 1997 alongside Webber, lauded her promotion in a statement Jan. 18, and expanded on the pair's working relationship.

"Having worked with Christine for nearly 30 years, I am thrilled that she agreed to serve as co-chair of the practice group with me," he said. "She is an exceptional litigator and a tremendously collaborative and creative leader who is as dedicated to our clients as she is to the growth and well-being of our practice. She will be an invaluable asset to the future of our practice."

The firm noted with her promotion, nine of the firm's 10 practice groups are led or co-led by women. Webber also serves as co-chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association's Class Action Committee, a position she has held since 1999, the firm said.

Webber studied government at Harvard University before receiving her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1991, according to her LinkedIn profile. She worked briefly as a clerk for former Judge Hubert Will in 1991, who then served as a senior judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Following that role, Webber worked for the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs as a staff attorney before joining Cohen Milstein, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The firm notes that Webber is an authority on artificial intelligence discrimination disputes, especially those related to civil rights and employment violations. She is currently the lead trial lawyer in Connecticut Fair Housing Center et al. v. CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions, challenging CoreLogic's use of a tenant screening algorithm that allegedly violates the Fair Housing Act — one program used by the company rejecting applicants with criminal backgrounds.

Webber, who noted she split time between the firm's discrimination cases and wage-and-hour cases, previewed that the firm had just begun discovery in a case filed by female reporters against Bloomberg Media, those editorial team members alleging that the company failed to pay them equal wages.

"I'm just incredibly lucky that the thing that I thought I wanted to do as a kid, that I a) got to do it and b) that it actually turns out to be indeed what I love doing," she said. "A lot of people like equal pay or the ideals of equal rights in the workplace but the day-to-day work isn't necessarily something that they enjoy. But for me, it really is."

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