Elizabeth S. Saylor has litigated civil rights and commercial matters for 17 years in federal and state court at the trial and appellate level. She has argued appeals in numerous courts, including the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and New York Court of Appeals.
Ms. Saylor has extensive class action experience, including successfully representing classes of defrauded consumers, detainees illegally strip searched, medical residents, immigrants illegally denied public benefits, underpaid workers, and voters denied paper ballots. These class actions have resulted in settlements totaling approximately $100 million and extensive injunctive reform helping approximately 500,000 persons.
She also represents individual clients in sexual harassment and assault; police misconduct; prisoners’ rights; election law; wage and hour litigation; and employment and housing cases alleging discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, familial status, pregnancy, disability, and source of income.
Her commercial practice includes contract and tort disputes, as well as constitutional challenges to government regulations. She also advises companies on a wide array of workplace issues such as hiring and terminations, internal investigations, disability accommodations, contract negotiation, and human resources policies and best practices. She has successfully negotiated separation agreements for dozens of employees, including the managing partner of a major foreign law firm and high-level executives of an insurance company, hedge fund, and bank.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Ms. Saylor worked as a Skadden fellow at The Legal Aid Society and clerked for the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Saylor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as an Editor on the Harvard Women’s Law Journal and received the Massachusetts Bar Association and Kaufman Public Interest Fellowships. Ms. Saylor spent her law school summers working at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now called Legal Momentum) and Debevoise & Plimpton.
Ms. Saylor has trained hundreds of attorneys on issues including police and prison misconduct, employment and housing discrimination, class actions and law reform, immigrant access to public benefits, and attorneys’ fees. For this and other work, she has been named a Super Lawyer, a Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist, and one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century.
- four women sexually harassed and discriminated against based on race at JFK by the largest security company in North America;
- a transgender woman who was sexually assaulted by prison employees ($750,000 settlement);
- a woman discriminated against based on pregnancy by MOMA PS1 (confidential amount but policy changes reported in the media);
- numerous employees sexually harassed at work, including waitresses at a high-end restaurant, managers at large technology companies, a City social services worker, a lawyer at a top law firm, a household employee, and a researcher at a major hospital (confidential settlements and cases reported in the media);
- numerous employees who were terminated because of sex discrimination, including a Columbia University executive, a CFO at an insurance company, a partner at a law firm, an engineer, and a pregnant low-level employee at a national retailer (confidential settlements);
- immigrant victims of domestic violence who were denied public benefits.
Wrongful Conviction: Represents numerous persons who were wrongfully convicted, resulting in:
- over $30 million for three men wrongfully convicted for two murders;
- the release and exoneration of Michael Cosme, who was imprisoned for 18 years for two murders he did not commit;
- a not-guilty verdict in the re-trial of a man for attempted murder, who had after the first trial (by other attorneys) been sentenced to 20 years to life.
- a $974,000 settlement for black NYPD detectives discriminated against based on race;
- a $550,000 settlement for a woman assaulted by a New York City police officer in Times Square;
- a $525,00 settlement for a man assaulted by New York City police officers outside a bowling alley;
- a $350,000 settlement for a man brutally assaulted on two occasions by New York City Department of Corrections’ guards;
- a $33 million settlement and extensive injunctive relief for a class of persons who were illegally strip searched at Rikers;
- a favorable settlement for Mexican-American teenagers wrongfully arrested and held for four hours as a result of an illegal police “sweep.”
Commercial Litigation: Successfully represented taxi owners in numerous cases, including cases:
- saving taxi owners approximately $6 million in savings per year by annulling a rule that illegally reduced the rates taxi owners were permitted to charge drivers;
- securing the right for NYC’s yellow taxicabs to use E-Hail Apps;
- obtaining rulings in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the City’s taxicab regulations were preempted by federal law;
- dismissing class actions against taxi fleet owners for purported violations of the Taxi and Limousine Commission Rules and related contract claims.
Defending New York City Council: Successfully represented the New York City Council in two cases where then-Mayor Bloomberg challenged the legality of the following legislation:
- duly-enacted local legislation, including laws outlawing bias-based policing;
- mandating contractors receiving city funding to report workers’ wages.
Class Action Litigation: Successfully settled numerous class actions including:
- a $60 million cash settlement and extensive injunctive relief including vacating $300 million in judgments on behalf of New Yorkers who alleged fraudulent debt collection practices;
- a $33 million settlement and extensive injunctive relief for persons who were illegally strip searched;
- a $6.6 million settlement on behalf of hundreds of former medical residents against a hospital;
- a detailed four-year injunction and retroactive public benefits for thousands of immigrants;
- a $540,000 settlement for high-end residential painters who were misclassified as independent contracts and denied overtime pay.
Housing Discrimination: Successfully litigated numerous housing cases, resulting in inter alia:
- a $550,000 monetary settlement and extensive injunction for a homeless man who alleged disability and source of income discrimination;
- a $130,000 monetary settlement and detailed three year injunction covering approximately 20 buildings due to alleged housing discrimination based on race;
- a settlement that allowed a couple who had been victims of a deed theft scam in Staten Island to keep their home.
Election Law: Litigated election law cases, including the following:
- challenging the state’s infamous “LLC Loophole,” which allows LLCs to circumvent the contribution limits;
- obtaining a landmark injunction on the eve of the 2008 Presidential election requiring Pennsylvania to make emergency paper ballots available when half or more of a precinct’s voting machines fail;
- defending against alleged campaign finance violations by Data and Field Services, which was affiliated with the Working Families Party.
Another Venue for Sexual Harassment Claims, The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2017 (jointly with Zoe Salzman and Alanna Kaufman).
A Guide to Paid Family Leave Policies for New York State Employees, NYC Bar Association Sex and Law Committee Report, Sub-committee Co-chair (2017).
Federalism and the Family After Morrison: An Examination of the Child Support Recovery Act, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and a Federal Law Outlawing Gun Possession by Domestic Violence Abusers, 57 Harv. Women’s L.J. (2002).
Ethnic Identity and Change in Social Context, 139 J. Soc. Psychol. 549 (1999) (jointly with Elizabeth Aries).
Employment Discrimination Law & Litigation 2019: Investigating Race Discrimination and Retaliation Claims in the 2019 Workplace, Practicing Law Institute (2019).
Workplace Harassment, Harvard Law School Harassment Assault Law-Student Team Panel (2019).
Pregnancy & Caregiver Discrimination, National Employment Lawyers Association, New York Conference (2018).
MeToo and Beyond Sexual Harassment, Harvard Law School Celebration 65 Conference (2018).
Sexual Harassment & the Law: A Call to Action for Lawyers in the Era of #MeToo, New York City Bar Conference, Plenary Panel (2018).
Low-Income Workers and Sexual Harassment, Brooklyn Law School Forum (2018).
Practicing in the New York City Human Rights Committee, National Employment Lawyers Association, New York Training (2018).
Arbitration, National Employment Lawyers Association, New York Conference (2018).
New York’s Paid Family Leave Law: What Lawyers Need to Know, New York City Bar Training (2017).
Representing the Police Abuse Client, Bronx Defenders (2016, 2014), Make the Road (2016), Neighborhood Defenders (2016), Esperanza (2015).
Impact Litigation, Fordham Law School Domestic Violence Conference (2015).
Attorney’s Fees, National Employment Lawyers Association, New York Conference (2015).
Fair Housing Laws, New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal Training (2014).
Section 1983 Litigation, The Legal Aid Society (2014), MFY Legal Services (2014).
- Black Intelligence Detectives Settle Bias Suit for $974,000
- ECBA and A Better Balance Client Successfully Resolve Her Gender Discrimination Claim Against MOMA PS1
- Ten ECBA Attorneys Named as Super Lawyers; Two Named as Rising Stars
- Harlem Black Business Owner Arrested for Being a Business Owner While Black
- MoMA PS1 Refuses to Hire Curator After Learning She Recently Had a Baby
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2001,
Massachusetts Bar Association and Kaufman Public Interest Fellowships
Harvard Women’s Law Journal, Editor
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Intake Director
Amherst College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1997
Super Lawyer (2016-Present)
Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Award (2011-2012)
Legal Services NYC Pro Bono Leader Award (2009)
21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women’s eNews (2007)
Skadden Fellow (2002-2004)