has replaced her lead legal team weeks after admitting she had used racial slurs in the past, a revelation that prompted several of her lucrative business deals to collapse.
Grace Speights, an attorney for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, has been retained as the new lead counsel for Paula Deen Enterprises Inc. and other defendants in an employment discrimination lawsuit, according to Jennifer Costa, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based firm.
The lawsuit was filed by Lisa Jackson, who once worked as a manager at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, which Deen co-owns with her brother, Bubba Hiers. Jackson says she was sexually harassed and worked in an environment rife with racial slurs and innuendo.
Asked in a deposition if she had ever used the N-word, Deen replied: "Yes, of course." But she also insisted "it's been a very long time."
"Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is," Deen said in her deposition. "It's what's in your heart and in your head that matters to us."
According to the Morgan Lewis website, Speights specializes in defending clients in employment discrimination cases and consulting clients on best practices in corporate diversity.
Court documents filed Thursday asked that all future documents in the case be sent to the Morgan Lewis & Bockius Law Firm and to the Weiner, Shearhouse, Weitz, Greenberg and Shawe law firm in Savannah, Ga.
The Oliver Maner law firm and the Gillen Withers and Lake firm in Savannah had been representing Deen, Hiers and their businesses.
Calls to each of the firms were not immediately returned.
The formerhost has been making a series of professional changes as of late. Last Thursday, spokeswoman Elana Weiss confirmed that Deen with New York agent Barry Weiner, who had represented Deen for over a decade.