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Attorney Pat Biswanger filed a federal complaint last month in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Philadelphia law firm Cozen O'Connor P.C. Ms. Biswanger claims she was the victim of sexual discrimination and fired illegally from the firm in retaliation for her involvement in Haverford Township politics. Ms. Biswanger claims in her accusation that Delaware County Common Pleas President Judge Kenneth Clouse had inappropriately involved himself in Haverford Township politics led to Judge Clouse contacting Cozen O'Connor and demanding her firing.

In 2004, Judge Clouse hired the politically powerful and well-connected attorney Richard Sprague to sue Ms. Biswanger and Haverford Township Commissioner Andy Lewis on grounds they had defamed him.

Ms. Biswanger alleges Mr. Sprague threatened to include Cozen O'Connor as a defendant in the defamation suit unless the firm agreed to fire her.

In July 2005, the same month former Philadelphia City Treasurer Corey Kemp was sentenced by a federal judge for his role in helping to direct city bond work to firms willing to contribute to, among other things, the mayor's reelection campaign, Ms. Biswanger was asked if she would be interested in applying for the general counsel position in the School District of Philadelphia.

She claims she spoke with Mr. O'Connor about the opportunity. He told her he wanted to recommend someone to the district who would be loyal to his firm and continue to send it bond work.

He allegedly told her he considered the job a "corporate opportunity."
Mr. O'Connor, she says, told her he would recommend her to district CEO Paul Vallas and School Reform Commission Chairman James Nevels. She claims that after she was fired Mr. O'Connor no longer supported her application.

A check of school district records shows corporate bond work was an economic opportunity for the firm. Cozen O'Connor attorneys Alan Wohlstetter and Steven Goldfield served as special council to the district between 2003 and 2005. During that time the firm received fees of $390,000 for its participation in bond issues for the district.

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