Carol Gillam of Gillam Law Firm


Determined case winner for those discriminated against in the work environment

It was one woman’s strong sense of right and wrong and overwhelming desire to champion the cause of the underdog that set the stage for one of California’s most prominent law firms specializing in employee rights. Founded by attorney Carol Gillam in 1994, The Gillam Law Firm has earned a sterling reputation in the legal community for vigorously defending those who have been wronged by their employers. Victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, abusive workplace practices and those who find themselves the unfair object of retaliation in the workplace are among those who have been staunchly defended by the firm’s dedicated staff.

Inspired by Gillam’s dogged determination to make sure her clients not be victimized twice – first by their employer then by a sometimes complicated legal system -- the firm’s team of lawyers takes any and all necessary steps to ensure a satisfactory outcome 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. Carol Gillam grew up in the South, the eldest of six siblings whose upbringing could best be described as “unpredictable” due to her father’s nomadic and erratic career path. By having to relocate year after year, Gillam and her siblings formed a close bond as they were used to being the new kids in town and understood what it’s like to be an outsider. Her Southern roots also gave them firsthand witness to racial prejudice, and being a Catholic in predominantly Southern Baptist communities resulted in them becoming victims of religious discrimination. Her mother instilled a strong sense of right and wrong and a willingness to look out for those who are being mistreated. Her colorful youth rich in stories about justice and fairness led her and her brothers and sisters to develop a strong sense of empathy for others. It’s no surprise that of the six siblings, four are lawyers and one is a journalist.

Intent on becoming a lawyer dedicated to helping the most vulnerable in our society, Gillam 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 first clients were victims in a toxic gas leak case. When the incident occurred, the city residents mounted a class action suit against Unocol for enduring chronic health problems due to the leak. After three years of litigation, Gillam emerged victorious and her clients were fairly compensated for their suffering. Her very first client, though, was a female business owner who sold her lucrative enterprise to a conglomerate that ultimately violated its purchase agreement thinking that no single woman could possibly fight them. They were proved wrong when The Gillam Law Firm took on the case and years later claimed victory in what is known as Fay Wood vs. Westell Technology.

In the ensuing years, The Gillam Law Firm has successfully litigated six, seven and eight figure verdicts and settlements for a wide range of clients including the hardworking Muslim who was awarded a $2 million settlement 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 life.

Just as important as the financial awards are the changes in the workplace that have resulted from cases handled by The Gillam Law Firm. 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.

As the firm continues its work on behalf of workers who have suffered at the hands of their employees, you can be sure that The Gillam Law Firm will be there seeking justice.

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