27 January 2010
Carol Gillam Earns Top Nod For Tireless Efforts On Behalf of Vulnerable, Underserved
Employee rights advocate Carol Gillam, founder of The Gillam Law Firm in Century City, has been named among the 2010 Southern California Super Lawyers, one of the most prestigious regional honors an attorney can achieve. Super Lawyers is a nationwide organization whose aim is to create objective, credible, comprehensive and diverse listings of outstanding attorneys who can be used as resources for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel in local and regional communities.
The attorney-led research staff evaluates each candidate based on 12 criteria including verdicts and settlements, honors and awards, pro bono and community service, lectures and writings and other outstanding achievements. The list represents no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state.
“I am thrilled and honored to be recognized by the highly prestigious Super Lawyers organization,” said Gillam, who founded her firm in 1994. “My career has been dedicated to serving those most in need and I take pride in seeking justice for my clients who find themselves victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, abusive workplace practices and unfair retaliation in the workplace.”
Gillam was recognized for her “dogged determination” in making sure that her clients not be victimized twice – first by their employer then by a sometimes complicated legal system. She oversees a legal team who take any and all necessary steps to ensure a satisfactory outcome for their clients whether that means negotiating agreements prior to trial or litigating cases in the courtroom.
To fully understand the firm’s philosophy, ethical and moral character and overall mission, one must take a hard look at its founder. Gillam grew up in the South and witnessed, firsthand, racial prejudice and religious discrimination. Intent on becoming a lawyer dedicated to helping the most vulnerable in our society, she graduated with honors from Northwestern University in 1974 and, four years later, attained her law degree from nearby Loyola University of Chicago, where she was associate editor of the law review.
After serving as adjunct professor at Loyola and enjoying stints at Keck Mahin & Cate in Chicago and Irell and Manella in Los Angeles, Gillam became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1988. While there, she spearheaded numerous well-known cases and received international acclaim when she became the first to use anti-slavery laws in the modern era to successfully prosecute a case (U.S. vs. Griffith-Ives Co.).
In 1994, she established her own practice with the intent of continuing her work on behalf of those most in need. Among her clients is a hardworking Muslim who was awarded a $2 million jury verdict against his former employer for violating his family rights leave and freedom to express his religion (Mehmood Darjee vs. Laboratory Corporation of America); a young woman who received $400,000 from her former employer, a construction firm owner, whose campaign of sexual harassment escalated to the point where she suffered post traumatic disorder; and the female FBI agent whose complaints of gender discrimination in the workplace resulted in a hostile work environment that nearly cost her her life.
“While financial awards are a critical part of our work, just as important are the changes in the workplace that have resulted from several of our cases,” said Gillam. “A number of companies have changed their employment practices, instituted specialized training programs for management and educated their employees about their rights under antidiscrimination and harassment laws. Such changes are particularly satisfying.”