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Chess Move? Paula Deen Fires Lawyers & Hires Powerhouse Team Led By African American Women [VIDEO]

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Chess Move? Paula Deen Fires Lawyers & Hires Powerhouse Team Led By African American Women [VIDEO]

The former queen of Southern cooking is cleaning house.

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Just a week after firing her longtime agent, Paula Deen has fired her legal team and hired a new set of lawyers on Thursday, TODAY confirmed after the story was first reported by NBC affiliate WSAV.

Deen was previously represented by the Savannah, Ga.-based law firm Oliver Maner LLP. According to court documents, Paula Deen Enterprises has hired a powerhouse team of attorneys including Grace E. Speights, Jocelyn R. Cuttino and Alexis M. Thomas from the Washington, D.C. office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, an international firm, as well as Harvey Weitz, Malcolm Mackenzie III, and William Glass from Weiner, Shearhouse, Weitz, Greenberg & Shawe in Savannah.

The lineup includes attorneys with years of experience in wrongful termination and other employment matters. Speights is a partner in Morgan Lewis’ labor and employment practice and is managing partner of the firm’s D.C. office. And, WSAV confirmed, Patricia Glaser — who has worked for the likes of Conan O’Brien and Keith Olbermann, will offer Deen general legal oversight and help with her career transition.

"Paula Deen fired her legal team and hired a new set of lawyers led by Grace Spieghts, Jocelyn Cuttino and Alexis Thomas."

“Paula Deen fired her legal team and hired a new set of lawyers led by Grace Spieghts, Jocelyn Cuttino and Alexis Thomas.”

Deen has been embroiled in scandal after she admitted using racial slurs, a detail that came to light after a May 17 deposition video and transcript was leaked. Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Heirs are being sued by a former manager of one of Deen’s restaurants over their allegedly discriminatory behavior toward their employees.

The controversy led to at least a dozen companies terminating their relationships with Deen, including the publisher who has since cancelled her forthcoming cookbook.

Oliver Maner, the firm fired by Deen, told TODAY.com that it will issue a statement about recent developments in Deen’s case on Friday.

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