Anne Butterfield Weills


Anne Butterfield Weills has been a civil rights and equity activist since her teenage years. She was one of the first organizers of the women's liberation movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to becoming an attorney, Weills worked as a union organizer for the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the International Garment Workers Union (IGWU). Weills also taught women's studies at Antioch College's San Francisco campus until she was fired for helping students organize their strike against excessive student fees and inadequate standards of instruction. Weills worked for Caterpillar Tractor in San Leandro from 1977 to 1982 as a machinist, was a union activist and an Executive Board member of the International Association of Machinists (IAM), Local 284.

After Caterpillar closed its San Leandro plant, Weills went to law school and received her law degree from the Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco in 1988. Since graduating, she has specialized in employment discrimination law, especially in academia, representing both faculty and students.

Her first case out of law school was Jenny Harrison's suit against the Regents of the University of California for sex discrimination in the denial of tenure in the U. C. Berkeley Mathematics Department. The case resulted in a University settlement which led to Dr. Harrison's appointment as a tenured full professor and a substantial financial settlement. In March, 2000, the jury in the case of Colleen Crangle v. Stanford University returned a verdict of $545,000 for Dr. Crangle. Dan Siegel and Weills represented Dr. Crangle, a brilliant Stanford research scientist, who had sued for gender bias and retaliation. The verdict, later increased to over $1 million when the trial judge awarded attorney's fees and costs to Dr. Crangle, was the first trial loss ever sustained by Stanford in a civil rights case.

In June, 2003, she and co-counsel Dan Siegel won at trial against Brown University, (Providence, R. I.) in a tenure denial case of Fred Shoucair, an electrical engineering professor of Lebanese descent. Dr. Shoucair was subject to discrimination at Brown because of his ethnic heritage, one manifestation of this was being told that he "looked like a terrorist" by the Dean of Engineering who orchestrated his tenure denial.

In her current practice, Weills handles wrongful termination, civil rights and employment cases. Currently she has several active cases at California universities and colleges, including the representation of a Native American professor at U.C. Berkeley in her disability discrimination case against the Regents of the University of California and a Title IX-related case against Diablo Valley College. Weills was a member of the American Association of University Women's (AAUW) Legal Advocacy Fund's (LAF) Advisory Committee for six years. (The Advisory Committee is responsible for reviewing applications nationally and recommends potential plaintiffs for LAF support.)

Weills is married, has two sons and a grandson and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since she was five years old.

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