I’ll wait patiently while you pick your jaws up off the floor.
I want some of what you’re having, Eric. Have you lost your freaking mind, Eric?
Nope, I’m good.
I’ve been practicing law now for nearly twenty years. In that time, I’ve learned a few immutable truths:
- Plaintiffs keep every email and text message.
- No matter how defensible an employment dispute seems at the outset, I’ll find warts.
- Even the best workplaces — I know, your reader ears are burning — get sued.
And when my clients get sued, the twists and turns and overall success of the case often correlate directly with the quality of the plaintiff’s counsel.
There are many great employee-rights attorneys. I received insightful emails from a few that subscribe to this blog in response to Friday’s post about employee trust in HR. And to the rest of you who emailed me, thank you! I’m still reviewing your emails, and I will reply to everyone.
(You can also join the discussion on LinkedIn.)
I can always count on my audience to engage with me on HR compliance topics. But, often, I also receive calls from individuals who take the Google Train to my blog. And, because they generally fall into the 51% of folks that don’t trust HR, they want to sue their employers. However, I can’t help them because I don’t accept these “plaintiff’s cases.” Instead, I refer them out.
But, to whom would I refer these matters?
Methodology and Disclaimers.
Before I list the attorneys to whom I would refer employee-rights cases, I need to include a few disclaimers and other guideposts:
- First and foremost, do not take the title of the blog post literally. I am not suing my employer, FisherBroyles, LLP. Indeed, I am loving life here, and I’m overdue for a gushing blog post about how great the transition has been for me and my career. With my six-month anniversary on the horizon, be on the lookout for that post soon.
- None of the attorneys whom I list below is giving me or promising me anything for listing them. I came up with the idea for this post last night; there’s no way they would know about it.
- I do not have any pending cases or disputes involving any of the attorneys I list below.
- My opinions are my own — no one else’s — and they don’t guarantee results. Sorry.
- I’m only listing including attorneys in southeastern PA and NJ. If you need a lawyer in Walla Walla, Washington, I can’t help you.
Most importantly, I genuinely like everyone on this list. They are all great lawyers and great people too.
My Top 10.
(In alphabetical order by law firm.)
Bell & Bell LLP: The website describes Bell & Bell as “Experienced. Aggressive. Effective.” Yeah, they are. Jennifer Bell and Jim Bell are Morgan Lewis and Dechert alums that
saw the light went to the dark side now represent employees, predominantly. I remember my first case with them vividly. It included an extraordinary pre-Christmas deposition in which Jim Bell arrived with no script, no notes, just a yellow pad, a few exhibits, and an imaginary grinder that he used to make mincemeat of my witness. At other critical points of the case, Jim and Jennifer ran the good-cop (usually Jim) / bad-cop (usually Jennifer) routine on me to resolve a discovery dispute or negotiate settlement terms. They are an excellent team.
Console Mattiacci Law: When I think of the true believers, zealous advocates who are passionate about employee rights, that’s Steve Console and Laura Mattiacci. Steve, Laura, and I have participated on several employment-law panels together. And dammit if they don’t steal the show every time. As litigators, I respect the heck out of ’em. Some of the most memorable cases of my career have involved Console Mattiacci Law. Several years ago, I litigated an FMLA case with Steve and his associate Caren Gurmankin that left an indelible mark on me with some of the saddest, most difficult depositions that I have ever taken. In more recent years, I was pleased to see Console Mattiacci add Lane Schiff to its roster of associates. Lane and I tried an age discrimination case a few years ago, and he has a very bright future as an employee-rights attorney.
Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti, PC: This firm is a well-oiled machine. Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti, PC must file more employment cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania than the next few firms combined. But, don’t take that the wrong way. By my estimation, they get case volume because they’ve earned it as great employee-rights lawyers. Plus, I really like the people at this firm; most notably, Ari Karpf and Christine Burke. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Christine work in the courtroom. But, she is sharp as a tack on FMLA/ADA. We’ve presented together, and she is both knowledgeable and pragmatic. Ari and I serve as co-coordinators of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Employment Law Panel, we’ve presented together, and we have litigated cases on opposite sides of the “v.” He’s the kind of person that, when a new case comes in and I see that he is involved, my first instinct is to pick up the phone to see if we can resolve the dispute over a sushi lunch. And we have.
Koller Law, LLC: If the name sounds familiar, it should. Dave Koller has the biggest employment law victory of 2018, IMHO. I’ve litigated cases with Dave and served as a mediator on matters in which he represented the employee. Dave’s kindness and common sense help him stand out from a pack of overlitigators. I’ve seen that translate into results for his clients. And with the recent addition of Sarah R. Lavelle, co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Committee since 2016, this already-strong law firm has an even brighter future.
Law Offices of Swartz Swidler, LLC: Richard Swartz, Manali Aurora (congratulations on the recent promotion, Manali!), and Dan Horowitz, among others, help make this Swartz Swidler one of my favorite employee-rights firms in South Jersey. Manali and I have litigated cases together. I have mediated a case for Dan. And Richard and I check all three boxes: litigation, mediation, presentation. On Richard’s bio, it reads, “Richard practiced law in the labor and employment departments of Ballard Spahr, Pepper Hamilton, and Blank Rome. Drawing on this big firm experience, Richard offers the ‘know how’ associated with big firms along with the ‘personal contact’ associated with the boutique.” That’s spot on.
McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C.: The lone Harrisburg entry on this list, I met Larry Weisberg on the opposite side of the “v” in a discrimination case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania involving allegations of a “noose” and other particularly awful discrimination. With facts like that, tensions could have run high. Yet, Larry remained even-keeled and effective. Maybe that’s because, like me, Larry is a mediator. Larry is also a Pearl Jam fan which has nothing to do with the law. But it does make him, as we say, good people.
Mensing Law LLC: Stephanie Mensing’s inclusion on this list has nothing to do with me feeling sorry for her after yesterday’s Brighton beatdown of Manchester United, or her being a subscriber to this blog. Stephanie’s inclusion is because she takes the title of “Most Prepared Employee Advocate at EEOC Mediation.” (I just made that title up, but Stephanie wins it hands down.) As a mediator, she made my job so easy, and I look forward to having the chance to litigate a case against her.
Murphy Law Group, LLC: If this starts to sound like a man-crush, well, guilty. Mike Murphy is my dude. We litigated an FMLA/ADA case against one another a few years ago and became friends after that. Mike’s a former employer-side guy that, in my estimation, is breaking away from the crowded pack of employee-rights attorneys. Not only is his EEO game tight, but I consider him a go-to for wage and hour. An attorney of the highest integrity, Mike is also a great sounding board for case strategy. I ping him often to discuss ideas, and he has generously volunteered his time to present with me at HR conferences. You can catch us in October at the Garden State Council SHRM Conference and Expo.
Pollins Law Firm: Back at my last firm, we almost had the chance to work on the same side of a case, which would’ve been hecka-cool. Unfortunately, however, my only dealings with Scott Pollins have been on continuing legal education panels. He the guy who, when he talks, has me thinking, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” We have yet to litigate a case against one another. But, I’m looking forward to it.
Schorr & Associates, P.C.: A couple of things about Alan Schorr that you need to know: (1) He’s achieved
a few some many successful outcomes; (2) he’s an awesome co-presenter at CLE; and (3) he’s encyclopedic on NJ employment law. He’s also got a keen eye for artistic quality; namely, the wrestling clips that I insert into my blog posts from time to time.