February 21, 2018

By Rj Vogt

Buchalter PC announced on Tuesday that the attorney who hit Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC with a $300 million gender bias class action has left that firm to join Buchalter’s labor and employment practice in its Orange County, California, office.

Dawn Knepper, who started Feb. 1 as shareholder at her new firm, is expected to use her experience representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including jury and bench trials in both federal and state court, according to a statement released by Buchalter.

“Buchalter’s full-service platform and superior resources offered the ideal opportunity and transition for my practice,” Knepper said in the statement. “I am confident that joining Buchalter — an innovative and full-service firm — will allow me to strengthen my efforts in successfully serving my client base.”

Knepper’s departure comes on the heels of the lawsuit she filed Jan. 12 accusing the firm of fostering a male-dominated culture in which male shareholders are “grossly overrepresented” at the top tier of the firm’s management structure. That suit said women only hold two of nine seats on Ogletree Deakins’ board of directors and alleged $100 million in underpayment on behalf of about 100 non-equity shareholders nationwide.

She spent over 12 years at Ogletree Deakins, where she defended employers in a myriad of employment actions alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, according to Tuesday’s announcement. She has also advised employers on litigation avoidance, wage-and-hour laws, leaves of absence, employee discipline and privacy claims.

In addition to those areas, Buchalter said its newest hire has assisted clients in planning and conducting reductions-in-force and multiple employee terminations. Before joining Ogletree Deakins, Knepper worked at Richie & Gueringer PC from 2001 to 2005, according to her LinkedIn page. She also spent more than a year as a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Martin P. Florman, Buchalter’s Orange County office managing partner, said Knepper’s arrival will add depth to the firm.

“We are pleased to welcome Dawn to our Orange County office,” Florman said. “Her talent and experiences contribute to the unmatched team of attorneys we have here at Buchalter.”

Knepper is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association, State Bar of California, Orange County Bar Association and the Employment Law Section of the Texas Bar Association, according to Buchalter’s announcement.

Knepper earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, Austin in 1996, going on to earn her law degree with honors from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2000.

Source: Law360