IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 19, 2022 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — CDF Labor Law LLP (CDF) is pleased to announce nine lawyers have been included in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and eight lawyers were recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in AmericaOnes to Watch” for various employment-related practice areas from metropolitan areas throughout California.

CDF Labor Law - Best Lawyers 2023
Image Caption: CDF Labor Law – The Best Lawyers in America 2023.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Attorneys are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in good standing.

CDF’s 2023 Best Lawyers in America (in alphabetical order by first name).

  • Brent M. Giddens (Litigation, Labor & Employment). Brent’s practice focuses on defending employers in individual, representative and class actions before California state and federal courts. His clients cover a wide variety of industries, including large national employers as well as small businesses. He is also regularly called upon to advise on complex corporate reorganizations and policy considerations. Further, he has also served as lead defense counsel in numerous NLRB trial proceedings, organization drives, strikes, picketing, and has extensive experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
  • Dawn M. Irizarry (Employment Law – Management). As the chair of CDF’s Healthcare Practice Group, Dawn has substantial experience representing employers throughout the healthcare industry, including hospitals, medical technology companies, physician groups, and urgent care centers. In addition, Dawn has spent years defending clients in a myriad of other industries, including financial services, hybrid automotive, legal and other professional service providers, sports and entertainment, air transportation, publishing, energy, oil and gas, and retail, among others. Dawn’s experience includes providing daily advice to her clients on California’s complex employment laws and aggressively defending them in the gamut of employment-related claims in federal and state court, as well as in arbitration and before administrative agencies.
  • Joel M. Van Parys (Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Joel represents management in all aspects of the employer/employee relationship. This includes litigation defense of claims for wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, employee misclassification, with an emphasis on independent contractor claims and Unfair Competition.
  • John R. Giovannone (Employment Law – Management). John represents employers in the full range of employment law matters, from single plaintiff to class-based wage/hour, contract, discrimination, harassment, and licensing litigation, and including traditional labor proceedings as well. While his bedrock skill set lies in employment litigation and trial advocacy, a major component of his practice involves advice and counsel so as to position his clients to avoid disputes where possible, and to prevail via litigation when necessary.
  • Leigh A. White (Class Actions – Defense). Leigh focuses her practice on complex litigation and dispute resolution, ranging from workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, PAGA claims, and wage and hour class actions. With over 25 years defending California employers, she has a proven record of defeating class certification, obtaining favorable settlements, and representing employers at high-stakes trials. She partners with clients in developing business goals and strategies and works closely with employer human resources departments to navigate multifaceted employment law issues in California.
  • Marie D. DiSante (Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Marie co-founded CDF in 1994 and has helped grow the firm to five offices throughout California – supported by close to 50 attorneys. Marie continually positions her clients at the forefront of emerging and unprecedented class action litigation in the state, and her dual role as a California business owner and entrepreneur allows her to understand client workplace challenges firsthand.
  • Mark S. Spring (Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Mark leads CDF’s traditional labor law practice where he focuses on management representation in union-management relations and employment-related litigation. He has successfully battled and negotiated against a variety of unions, including Teamsters, UFCW, IBEW, Laborers, SEIU and Stationary Engineers. Additionally, he has a successful record representing elected officials, public figures, athletes and executives in sexual harassment lawsuits and other high-profile matters.
  • Nicole A. Legrottaglie (Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Nicole’s practice focuses on defending a broad range of employment claims, including class actions and single plaintiff claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour litigation. Additionally, Nicole has significant experience in traditional labor law.
  • Tim M. Freudenberger (Employment Law – Management, Litigation – Labor and Employment, and Class Actions – Defense). Tim leads CDF’s class action defense practice with a focus on wage and hour issues and PAGA actions. Tim helped shape class certification and trial principles in exemption cases with a successful California Supreme Court decision in the case of Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat. Assn., 59th 4th 1 (2014). He cemented this victory when he again defeated class certification after the case was remanded to the trial court, which was affirmed on appeal in a decision that discussed the weaknesses and unreliability of survey methodology in these types of exemption cases, Duran v. U.S. Bank, 19 Cal.App.5th 630 (2018).

According to Best Lawyers, recognition by “Ones to Watch” is also based entirely on peer review for attorneys who are in the earlier stages of their careers and have achieved outstanding professional excellence in private practice.

CDF’s 2023 Best Lawyers in AmericaOnes to Watch” (in alphabetical order by first name).

  • Alessandra C. Whipple (Labor and Employment Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Alessandra is experienced in advising and defending various employment disputes involving wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination and retaliation, defamation, breach of contract, unfair competition, trade secrets, and whistleblower claims. Her practice includes providing pragmatic day-to-day advice and counseling to companies on how to navigate California’s ever-changing labor and employment law landscape.
  • Allison O. Chua (Litigation – Labor and Employment). Allison represents and advises employers in all areas of labor and employment law. In particular, she has extensive experience defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour disputes in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Allison also has experience litigating cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition.
  • Brian E. Cole II (Labor and Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment). Brian has extensive experience with employment litigation involving claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, unfair competition, and wage and hour violations. He also has experience in defending companies of all sizes against class and PAGA actions.
  • Candace R. DesBaillets (Labor and Employment Law – Management). Candace defends employers in individual and multi-plaintiff litigation matters including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, contracts, employment-related torts, and wage and hour claims. She has represented employers in state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as before agencies including the EEOC, DFEH, and DLSE.
  • Corey J. Cabral (Labor and Employment Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor and Employment). As Chair of CDF’s PAGA Litigation Practice Group, Corey’s practice has a special emphasis on defending employers in wage and hour class action and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits. He also has extensive experience with litigation involving claims of gender, disability and age discrimination, retaliation, harassment, defamation and wrongful termination.
  • Denisha P. McKenzie (Litigation – Labor and Employment). Denisha’s practice has a special emphasis on vigorously defending alleged claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. A significant portion of her practice is also dedicated to defending wage and hour single plaintiff, class action, and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits.
  • Sander van der Heide (Litigation – Labor and Employment). Sander has extensive experience representing employers in a wide array of employment litigation matters from inception through trials and appeals. His practice focuses on high-stakes litigation representing employers in class and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) actions by using data-driven insights and defenses. In addition to his litigation practice, he advises clients on proactively avoiding litigation and complying with California’s complex employment laws.
  • Tashayla “Shay” Billington (Labor and Employment Law – Management). Shay has significant experience in traditional labor law and unfair labor practice litigation. She also actively represents clients in Federal and California wage and hour litigation, discrimination and harassment litigation, union avoidance issues, writ litigation, and appellate work.

About CDF Labor Law LLP:

For close to 30 years, CDF Labor Law LLP has distinguished itself as one of the top labor, employment, and business immigration law firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. The firm has five offices throughout California – in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. For more information, visit: and find CDF on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more about how the firm protects California employers.

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