Joseph C. Liburt

Employment Law

Joe Liburt is a Silicon Valley partner in Orrick's Employment Law and Litigation group, which was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder.  This award by the premier source for legal news was in recognition of the group's significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.

Chambers USA has consistently recognized Joe as a top employment litigator.  Joe has more than 20 years of experience representing standout companies such as Apple, Sears and Microsoft in their most challenging and complex employment matters.

Most recently, Joe was trial counsel on the team that obtained a complete defense verdict in Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, the high-stakes gender discrimination and retaliation case that garnered intense national media scrutiny. Following six weeks of trial and three days of deliberations, a state court jury in San Francisco rejected all of plaintiff’s claims that she was passed over for promotion because of her gender and complaints about discrimination.

Class Actions. Joe has extensive class action expertise representing employers in retail, technology and manufacturing including Sears, Apple, International Paper, Juniper Networks and Home Depot.  Joe has defeated class certification or obtained dismissal or summary judgment on the full range of wage and hour claims.

Individual Claims. Joe represents a broad range of employers in all types of cases.  He has defended employers such as Apple, Microsoft, Genentech, NVIDIA, and the National Basketball Players Association in high-visibility matters.

ERISA & Benefits Litigation. Joe has litigated various ERISA and state law benefits claims for plans and sponsors including Oracle, Robert Half International, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the University of California.  Joe has special expertise in change-in-control severance claims.

Examples of Joe’s representative matters include:

Apple. Joe has represented Apple for 20+ years and successfully defended various single-plaintiff and class action cases.

Sears. Joe has repeatedly defeated class certification in wage-and-hour class actions for Sears.  In another case, Joe obtained early dismissal of an assistant manager exemption misclassification class action through the purchase of the named plaintiff’s claims in bankruptcy court.  In 2014, Joe persuaded two federal courts to reject the California Supreme Court's Iskanian decision and compel individual arbitration of representative PAGA claims.

Genentech. Joe represented Genentech in the trial of Cefalu v. Genentech, which resulted in a jury verdict in Genentech’'s favor on all claims, including disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation, interactive process, CFRA retaliation, and bonus wages.

Microsoft. Joe recently obtained summary judgment on all claims in a case alleging public policy wrongful termination, retaliation, defamation, interference with contract, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Oracle. Joe defended Oracle in numerous ERISA arbitrations regarding change-in-control severance plans in which employees sought change-in-control benefits after Oracle acquired Siebel Systems.

L.L. Nunn Trust/Deep Springs College. Joe represents the dissenting Trustees of Deep Springs College seeking to protect the donor’s intent set forth in the charitable trust that governs the College.

Joe advises clients on a full range of employment issues, and has written articles, spoken and trained on various employment topics.

Joseph Liburt
  • "Impact of Bankruptcy on Labor and Employment Law," panel moderator, ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, 7th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, 2013.
  • "Bankruptcy for Employment Lawyers," panelist, ABA National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, 2013
  • "Top 10 Hidden Wage & Hour Issues," Employers Group webinar, 2013.
  • "Preparing for the Battle of the Experts: A Beginner’s Guide to Expert Discovery," panelist at ABA 6th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, 2012.
  • "The Future of Employment Law in Light of Dukes v. Wal-Mart and AT&T v. Concepcion," panelist at 2012 Yosemite Conference of The Labor and Employment Law Section of The Bar Association of San Francisco, 2012.
  • "Title VII Litigation: Persistent Evidentiary Challenges -- Stray Remarks, Similarly Situated Comparators, Better Qualified Candidates and Other Issues," Strafford webinar, 2012.
  • "View From the Bench: Federal and State Judicial Perspectives on Class Certification Issues, Settlement, the Latest Plaintiff Theories & Emerging Defense Strategies," moderator of panel of six federal and state judges, ACI 13th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims and Class Actions, 2011.
  • "A Focus on Health & Welfare Benefit Claims: Administration of Claims, Strategies for Resolving and Defending Litigation with Plan Participants," panelist at ACI ERISA Litigation Conference, 2011.
  • "The Interpretation, Administration & Litigation of Health and Welfare Benefit Plans," panelist at ACI ERISA Litigation Conference, 2010.
  • "Top Wage & Hour Traps for Employers," 2010.
Select Publications
Admitted In
  • California
Court Admissions
United States Court of Appeals
  • Ninth Circuit
United States District Court
  • Northern District of California
  • Eastern District of California
  • Central District of California
  • Southern District of California

  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1991
  • B.A., Haverford College, 1987
  • Two-year course, Deep Springs College, 1984
  • Hon. Brook Bartlett, U.S. Western District of Missouri, 1991–1993
  • State Bar of California

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