Cyrus Mehri is a founding partner of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC. He litigates cases involving discrimination, civil and consumer rights, and corporate fraud. Fast Company says, “He is something of a one-man army in the battle against business as usual… His impact – both in terms of penalties and remedies – is undeniable,” while the New York Times says, “Mr. Mehri’s vision for corporate America involves sweeping change, not the piecemeal kind.”
Mr. Mehri’s reputation is well-earned. He has led and co-led some of the largest and most significant race and gender cases in U.S. history, including Roberts v. Texaco Inc., which resulted in a $176 million award for discrimination, and Ingram v. The Coca-Cola Company, which resulted in a $192 million settlement. Both the Texaco and Coca-Cola settlements included a Court appointed Task Force overseeing sweeping improvements in promotion, compensation, evaluation and other HR systems. Mr. Mehri also spearheaded the Robinson v. Ford Motor Company case, which resulted in the creation of 279 apprenticeship positions for African-American employees and a $10 million payment, as well as creation of new state-of-the-art testing protocols for apprenticeship positions. Mr. Mehri achieved similar settlements involving selection procedures with other companies such as Alcoa and Visteon. Mr. Mehri also played a lead role in the $24 million settlement against John Hancock Life Insurance Company, resolving claims of decades-old discriminatory practices in the sale and marketing of life insurance policies to African-Americans, including a $15 million cy pres component to be distributed to organizations that benefit African-American communities.
The “Women on Wall Street” project, which Mr. Mehri launched with the National Council of Women’s Organizations to end discrimination against women in financial institutions, has achieved settlements with Morgan Stanley & Co. ($47 million), Smith Barney ($33 million) and Wells Fargo/Wachovia ($32 million), exceeding $114 million in total, along with transforming the opportunities available to women on Wall Street.
As co-founder of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an affinity group for NFL minority coaches, front office and scouting personnel that advocates for the hiring and promotion of minority candidates within the NFL ranks, Mr. Mehri has worked to dramatically change the face of NFL management—and level the playing field.After he wrote, with Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities, the NFL adopted the “Rooney Rule,” a comprehensive diversity program under which the NFL has reached historical numbers of black management personnel, including head coaches. For seven straight years after the 2006 season, one or both clubs in the Super Bowl featured an African-American General Manager or Head Coach.
The NFL also looked to Mr. Mehri to implement a new Player Assessment Test (PAT), an innovative tool to capture the non-physical attributes of a successful NFL player and to reduce socioeconomic bias in the drafting process. The PAT was unveiled at the 2013 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and has been used by most of the NFL Clubs.
For his advocacy, in 2014, Mr. Mehri was given the Cornell Law School Public Service Award. Hartwick College chose Mr. Mehri as its 2009 Commencement Speaker and inaugural alumni hall of fame. The Detroit City Council passed a testimonial resolution honoring Mr. Mehri and wishing him “continued success in changing the fabric of America, and the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. awarded Mr. Mehri its Award of Excellence and the City of Miami gave him the Distinguished Visitor Award.
He was named by Regardie’s Power magazine as one of “Washington’s Ten Most Feared Lawyers” and by Workforce magazine as “Corporate America’s Scariest Opponent.”
Mr. Mehri has written and testified extensively about seeking justice in an ever-changing landscape. His work includes:
- Cyrus Mehri & Michael Lieder, “Onward and Upward after Wal-Mart v. Dukes,” American Association for Justice (April 2013, Volume 49, No. 4).
- Cyrus Mehri & Ellen Eardley, “Defending Twentieth Century Equal Employment Reforms in the Twenty-First Century,” in Toward a More Perfect Union: A Progressive Blue Print for the Second Term. American Constitution Society (January 2013).
- Cyrus Mehri & Danielle E. Davis,“A Few Thoughts on Tackling the Issue of Diversity and Inclusiveness in Law Firms,” Mehri & Skalet (May 2011).
- Cyrus Mehri & Ellen Eardley, “21st Century Tools for Advancing Equal Opportunity: Recommendations for the Next Administration,” American Constitution Society (2008).
* Cyrus Mehri & Janelle Carter, “A ‘Toolbox’ for Innovative Title VII Settlement Agreements,” National Employment Law Association Convention (2008).
-* Cyrus Mehri, Michael B. Runnels, and Andrea Giampetro-Meyer, “One Nation Indivisible: The Use of Diversity Report Cards to Promote Increased Workplace Fairness,” Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law (2004).
Mr. Mehri is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and a popular lecturer on CLE programs. Selected interviews and appearances include:
- Cyrus Mehri: Man Behind the New Racial-Discrimination Charges. AdAge, January 9, 2009.
- A Reformer Who Means Business. Fast Company, April 2003.
- Cyrus Mehri: A Lawyer with a Conscience.Excerpted from Faces of Successful Iranian Americans, by the Bureau of International Information Programs of the State Department, January 12, 2009.
- Cyrus Mehri’s Race Battle on Madison Avenue. Bloomberg, February 25, 2010.
- Cyrus Mehri: Newtown is our town. News Times, December 28, 2012.
Mr. Mehri graduated from Cornell Law School in 1988, where he served as Articles Editor for the Cornell International Law Journal. He clerked for the Honorable John T. Nixon, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. Mr. Mehri serves on the advisory boards of the Cornell Law School, the Peggy Browning Fund and Farmworkers Justice, and on the judicial nominations committees for the American Constitution Society and the National Employment Lawyers Association.
Mr. Mehri’s full biography, including more information on his case work, publications and press appearances, can be seen here.
You can contact Mr. Mehri at firstname.lastname@example.org.