Grace E. Speights defends clients against employment discrimination claims—particularly class claims—and claims of discrimination in public accommodations. She also counsels on best practices for corporate diversity initiatives. With litigation and trial experience, Grace appears before US federal courts nationwide and local courts in the DC metropolitan area. She also represents clients in systemic investigations and cases brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Grace is Co-Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, DC, office.
As reported in The National Law Journal’s “Washington Litigation Departments of the Year” special report, which featured Morgan Lewis’s Washington, DC, office for its labor and employment work, Grace secured a “quick dismissal” of the harassment and discrimination case against chef and Southern cooking show host Paula Deen. After Deen’s deposition in June 2013, the Morgan Lewis team stepped in, resolved the case, and took it “off the front page of the newspaper,” Grace said in the article. “I think it was more or less about being able to see the big picture very quickly.”
Grace remains active in bar association activities and takes on multiple management roles for the firm. She serves as co-chair of Morgan Lewis’s systemic employment litigation practice and co-chair of its Diversity Committee. A member of the firm’s Compensation Committee, she has held a range of recruitment and management roles. Grace served as a member of the firm’s Advisory Board, the Legal Personnel Committee, the Washington Office Management Committee, and as deputy assistant manager of the litigation section of the firm’s Washington office. She also served as chair of the Washington office’s Recruiting Committee.
Grace’s involvement in professional organizations includes, among others, the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission and the D.C. Public Defender Service. Grace has also served as a member of the District of Columbia Judicial Tenure Commission, the District of Columbia Federal Judicial Nominations Commission, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions, which prepares and grades the essay examination of the District of Columbia Bar and makes recommendations to the court on the admission of applicants to the bar.
George Washington University Law School, 1982, J.D.
University of Pennsylvania, 1979, B.A.
District of Columbia
Clerkship to Judge Aubrey Robinson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia (1982 - 1984)
Awards and Affiliations
Winner, The National Law Journal’s Litigation Department of the Year – Labor and Employment (2014)
Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2011–2015)
Listed, The Legal 500, Labor and Employment Litigation (2011, 2013–2014)
Listed, Human Resource Executive, Most Powerful Employment Attorneys (2008–2014)
Listed, Lawyers of Color Power List (2014, 2015)
Listed, “Top 100 Lawyers in D.C.,” Washington Post (2014, 2013)
Listed, “Top 50 Women Lawyers in D.C.,” Washington Post (2014, 2013)