Morgan Lewis Takes 8-Lawyer L&E Group From Sidley Austin

February 04, 2019


By Xiumei Dong

Adding to its Los Angeles employment litigation capabilities, Morgan Lewis has added three partners and five other lawyers from Sidley Austin.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has bulked up its Los Angeles labor and employment practice, taking eight lawyers from Sidley Austin.

The group is led by partner Douglas Hart, a veteran class action litigator in the Los Angeles market. Also joining Hart from Sidley’s Los Angeles office are partner Jennifer Zargarof, who co-led Sidley Austin’s global labor and employment practice, and partner Max Fischer. Along with them come two of counsel and three associates.

“We have a very sophisticated high-level labor and employment practice that we have been building for my whole career, and we were looking for opportunity to be with a firm that gives us a platform to expand what we already do,” said Hart, who has been practicing for more than three decades.

Hart and Zargarof both joined Sidley Austin in 2010 from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, where the two had been working together since Zargarof joined as an associate in 1999.

Hart handles employment-related lawsuits including wage and hour, disparate impact, discrimination and pension plan cases. He has also defended employer clients in a number of class actions in California and across the U.S.

Zargarof also defends employers in class actions, as well as other other multi-plaintiff litigation. She has defended companies in wage and hour, discrimination, wrongful termination, background checks and other employment-related matters at the trial and appellate levels.

Fischer, who has spent the last 18 years at Sidley Austin, also defends companies in employment class actions, claims of discrimination and wrongful termination, and traditional labor disputes.

Hart said Morgan Lewis, like his group, seeks to “provide labor and employment services to important cases, big matters, complex and complicated matters at a very high level.”

“But, they do it on a nationally and globally integrated platform,” he said of the firm.

With the addition of Hart’s group, Morgan Lewis now has close to 50 labor and employment lawyers in working in its Southern California offices, including Century City, Downtown Los Angeles and Orange County. Firmwide, Morgan Lewis has more than 330 lawyers and other professionals in its labor and employment practice throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

“This team significantly enhances our robust labor and employment practice on the West Coast,” firm chair Jami McKeon said in a statement. “Doug, Jennifer, and Max have a long track record of successfully representing employers on complex and significant matters in California and across the United States, and now they will put their formidable skills and knowledge to work for our clients.”

Grace Speights, who leads Morgan Lewis’ global labor and employment practice, added, in a statement: “Clients will particularly gain from their deep familiarity of California’s unique requirements on employers, including their wide-ranging experience in the critical area of wage and hour class-based litigation.”

Sidley Austin, which recently hired complex civil litigator Lisa Gilford from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, did not respond to a request for comment on the group’s departure.

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