We’re known for winning some of the biggest employment cases in the tech, retail, finance and professional services sectors, often disposing of these complex disputes long before trial.

We’ve secured important precedents in the wage and hour arena. And we bring deep subject area knowledge in areas most important to employers throughout the world.

Leading companies turn to us for help avoiding the courtroom in the first place. We partner with our in-house teams to conduct investigations and audits, draft employment policies, and tailor executive compensation agreements that attract top C-suite talent. And we do it on a global basis.

In selecting us as Employment Group of the Year in 2015, Law360 reported that our "preference for the most complex labor disputes makes Orrick stand out from the pack of employment practices." The Recorder has named us "Litigation Department of the Year: Labor and Employment" in California in 2015 and 2016. Chambers USA 2016 notes our "strength in acting on behalf of prominent clients from the financial services, technology and retail industries in complex employment litigation."

Trial Savvy

Employers turn to our team when they are headed to trial and their reputations are on the line. Each of our employment partners has broad experience before judges and juries, defending clients in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff trials and arbitrations. After headline-making allegations of employment discrimination went to a jury trial, we won a total defense verdict for venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins over former partner Ellen Pao. The Recorder called our cross-examination of the plaintiff "masterful," while The New York Times billed the case as a "battle between legal powerhouses."

Class Action Defense

We’re helping employers fight the flood of class action litigation filed in recent years, particularly in the areas of wage and hour and equal employment opportunity. We’ve successfully defended over 150 wage class actions on behalf of clients like CVS, Gap and Sephora. Reporting on how we won two influential rulings in cases for Sears and Kmart despite unfavorable state law precedent, The Recorder wrote: "It takes a lot of moxie to rest a client’s defense on the contention that a state’s supreme court is just plain wrong. But an Orrick team climbed out on that limb last year and persuaded two federal judges to follow."


There’s been an unprecedented increase in government enforcement and litigation in the employment arena. We’re helping clients navigate regulatory investigations and litigation involving pay equality, discrimination and whistleblowing, among other areas of increased enforcement. Our team includes a former senior trial attorney for the EEOC and a former Associate Solicitor for Civil Rights and Labor Management at the Department of Labor.

Managing a Global Workforce

We have employment lawyers in markets worldwide, helping our clients manage their global workforce. We handle a wide range of claims before UK-based employment tribunals, including wrongful and unfair dismissal, discrimination, and breach of contract. From our Paris office, we advise national and international companies on all aspects of French employment law, including employee representation, collective bargaining, collective redundancies, and mergers and acquisitions. We also have a strong record in collective litigation. And we work with our European Tech Companies team to advise on the myriad human resources issues that arise for early stage companies.

Through our Global Employment & Equity Compensation service, we offer our clients unique and cost-effective strategies for addressing employment issues in more than 80 jurisdictions worldwide. Using this model, we partnered with one of our fast-growing tech company clients to successfully expand its global presence from seven countries to 28 in three years.

  • Handling the Most Complex Legal Issues

    Wage and Hour

    When plaintiffs lawyers have attempted to push the boundaries of existing wage and hour law, we’ve beat them back with cases that have become precedent setting and that deter future copycat suits. One such win came on behalf of our longtime client Morgan Stanley. At issue was the industry practice of prohibiting brokers from opening trading accounts at other institutions. In this case of first impression, we convinced the trial court that California state law prohibiting forced patronage is pre-empted by federal insider trading laws. Our appellate team secured the win before the Ninth Circuit.

    EEO Litigation

    Our lawyers tackle complex EEOC issues for our clients relating to discrimination, harassment and retaliation. We recently won a unanimous defense verdict for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in a complex and difficult age discrimination case involving more than 100 plaintiffs seeking substantial damages. This case was one of the first jury trials ever to focus on claims of disparate impact discrimination.

    Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

    We are at the forefront of whistleblower-related issues in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era. We’ve defended dozens of whistleblower actions for leading financial institutions, including some of the most important cases addressing what constitutes "protected activity." We’ve authored the leading treatise on whistleblower defense. To craft the best possible strategy for each matter, we field teams with backgrounds in employment law, SEC regulatory law, securities litigation, corporate governance and ethics, as well as white collar and investigations.

    Trade Secrets

    In this highly competitive, mobile global marketplace, protecting trade secrets is one of our clients’ highest priorities. We advise employers on hiring employees subject to restrictive covenants with other employers. And we partner with clients to develop preventive measures to minimize trade secret losses in the United States and across borders. We’ve handled a wide range of trade secrets disputes, from cases that hinge on quick injunctive relief to drawn-out, complex jury trials. Our successes include clearing the way for Mark Hurd to move to Oracle, over the fierce objection of his former employer, Hewlett-Packard.

    Staying Up to Speed

    We help employers stay on top of developments through our blogs: Employment Law and Litigation, Equal Pay Pulse and Trade Secrets Watch.

  • Kleiner Perkins

    Complete defense victory in Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, the high-stakes gender discrimination and retaliation case

    Haisheng International

    Complete victory in theft of trade secrets and unjust enrichment case in NJ federal court

    Lawrence Livermore

    12-0 jury verdict in $25 million disproportionate impact age discrimination case involving 130 individual plaintiffs


    Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful termination lawsuit


    Appellate victory in wide-ranging wage-and-hour class in the California Court of Appeals

    Stifel Nicolaus

    SDNY confirmed FINRA arbitration award of $650,000 plus significant attorneys’ fees

Client Results





They have been excellent; they have a high degree of expertise in every aspect of employment law.
Chambers USA, 2015
The firm has coast-to-coast strength.
The Legal 500, 2015