An Entrepreneurial Employment Law Firm

Steven L. Friedlander

Founder, SV Employment Law Firm PC, San Mateo, CA (started 2012)

A law firm specializing in employment litigation and counseling for companies, groups and individuals.

Prior Work Experience

Cooley LLP, San Francisco, CA (Partner, Employment Group) (1992-2012)

Practice included all aspects of employment litigation, including, without limitation in the following areas:  wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, whistleblower retaliation, employee raiding, trade secrets and other proprietary information issues, class actions, collective actions, contracts, wage and hour law, stock options, non-competition agreements and unfair competition. Also regularly provided counseling in these areas and on other human resources issues. In addition to court litigation, represented clients in administrative proceedings as well as arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

At various times while a partner at Cooley, committee membership included: Hiring Committee, Summer Associate Committee, Associates Committee, Associate Review Committee, and Pro Bono Committee. Designated Pro Bono partner for litigation matters in the Cooley’s San Francisco office. Performed various practice management roles for Cooley’s Employment Group.

While a senior associate at Cooley, served as a Deputy District Attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, handling evidentiary hearings and jury and court trials.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Schriver & Jacobson, New York, NY  (Associate, General Litigation) (1990-1991)

General litigation practice as an associate, focusing on RICO and securities law matters.


  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall),
    JD, 1990

    • Senior Articles Editor, California Law Review
    • Moot Court Board Member
    • Moot Court Writing Award
  • University of California, Berkeley, BA, 1986
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1991
  • New York, 1992


  • American Bar Association, Employment and Business Litigation Sections
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Bar Association of San Francisco County
  • Bar Association of San Mateo County

Attorney Awards (Partial List)

  • Named by The Daily Journal as one of the Top Labor and Employment Lawyers in California in 2020
  • California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year Award for Pro Bono (California Lawyer, March 1, 2005) (Awarded to attorneys who “changed law, broke new ground in various practice areas and business sectors, and substantially influenced public policy”)
  • Best Lawyers in America — Employment Law
  • “Super Lawyer” in the employment field. (Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have “attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement”)
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2020
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2019
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2018
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2017
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2016
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2015
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2014
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2013
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2012
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2011
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2010
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2009
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2008
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2007
    • Northern California Super Lawyer 2006

Other Activities (Partial List) (Past and Current)

  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, member of Board of Trustees
  • Attorney Advisor, San Francisco Law School Mock Trial Team
  • Guest Lecturer, San Francisco Law School (Contracts)
  • Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) – Moot Court Judge; Appellate Advocacy Judge; McBaine Competition Judge
  • Guest Lecturer, Hastings Law School (ADR Program) – “Representing Clients in Mediation”
  • Junipero Serra High School Mock Trial Team Attorney Advisor
  • Office-wide Pro Bono Litigation Partner for Cooley LLP’s San Francisco Office
  • Peninsula Family Services, member of Board of Directors

Company Trainings

  • Anti-Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Trainings (multiple)
  • Management and the Law Trainings (multiple)

Appellate Court Oral Arguments and Opinions

  • In re Lucas, 33 Cal.4th 682 (California Supreme Court 2004) (reversing death sentence for pro bono client on death row based on ineffective assistance of counsel at trial)
  • Mangano v. Verity, Inc., 167 Cal.App.4th 944 (California Appellate Court 2008) (affirming summary judgment for company client in disability discrimination case)
  • Olszewski et al. v. Symyx Technologies, Inc. and Elsevier, Inc., Case No. 09-17489 (9th Circuit Court of Appeals 2011) (affirming dismissal of group action for company clients in ERISA severance plan case) (unpublished)
  • Bard v. Moe (Calilifornia Appellate Court 2016) (reversing trial court denial of defendants’ motion to compel arbitration) (unpublished)
  • Richard Hale Brown v. TGS Management Company, LLC, Case No. G05823 (California Appellate Court 2020) (reversing arbitration award and trial court judgment based on the application of California’s prohibition against noncompetition agreements to overbroad and illegal confidentiality provisions)

Publications (Partial List)

  • “Using Prior Corporate Convictions to Impeach,”  California Law Review, Vol. 78, No. 5 (Oct. 1990), pp. 1313-1339
  • “Interpreting Initiatives” (unpublished manuscript) (1991)
  • S. Friedlander & R. Johnstone, “Noncompete Battles Across State Lines:  California Employers Beware,”  ABTL Report (Northern California) (Nov. 2001)
  • S. Friedlander & R. Johnstone, “Noncompete Battles Across State Lines,”  2 Bender’s Lab. & Empl. Bull.  87-95 (2/1/2002)
  • S. Friedlander, “Update:  Noncompete Battles Across State Lines,”  2 Bender’s Lab. & Empl. Bull.  273-275 (5/1/2002)
  • Contributing Editor, Chin, Wiseman, Callahan & Exelrod, CAL. PRAC. GUIDE:  EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION, Chapter 17 (Remedies) (ongoing)
  • Workforce Management, “Doing Social Media Checks Right,”  Andrea Siedsma (Dec. 5, 2011), Featured Article (quoted as attorney expert for article written by Ms. Siedsma)
  • Contributing and Organizing Editor/Author, Cooley LLP Employment Group Alerts (multiple years; over 40 Alerts)

Presentations (Partial List)

  • “How the Stock Volatile Stock Market Affects Employment”
  • “Avoiding Litigation Over Stock Options and Benefits”
  • “National Emergency – Responding to Employee Issues”
  • “Hot Off the Press – The Latest Employment News from the Legal Front”
  • “Executive Comings and Goings – Special Considerations for Executive Employment and Separation Agreements”
  • “Unique Challenges of the Sales Organization”
  • “Legal Update:  The Latest Developments in Employment, Compensation/Benefits, and Immigration Law”
  • “Best Practices for Handling the Most Common Employee Privacy Issues”
  • “Legal Update:  The Latest Developments in Employment and Compensation/Benefits Law”
  • “Hiring the Right Employees:  Background Checks, Screening, Recruiting, Pre-Employment Testing”
  • “Back from the Future:  Learn Today From The Deposition You May Have To Give Tomorrow”
  • “Effective Employee Separations:  Practical Steps to Reduce Legal Risk”
  • “Strategic Analysis of Exempt/Non-Exempt Compliance and Litigation Issues”
  • “Legal Update:   The Latest Developments in Employment and Compensation/Benefits Law”
  • “Workplace Investigations”
  • “Reducing Personnel Expenses in A Challenging Economy:  Pitfalls and Guidance”
  • “Unseen Dangers:  Critical First Steps to Prepare Your Company for Employment and Benefits Litigation”
  • “Wage and Hour Compliance:  Effectively Mitigating HR and Legal Risk”
  • “Current Employment Trends”
  • “Human Capital Strategies:  Optimizing Performance & Managing Risk”
  • “Surprise!  Individual Liability for Employment Claims”
  • “Hot Employment Issues for 2011”
  • “A Practical Guide to Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Restrictive Covenants”
  • “Will Your Independent Contractor be Considered an Employee?”
  • “ADR-2.0:  Next Generation Mediation/Arbitration Developments”
  • “Social Media in the Workplace – The New Frontier”
  • “Social Media:  Employment Law and Securities Laws Implications”
  • “Hot Employment Issues”
  • “California Employment Law HR Update:  Hot Issues and the Latest Law”
  • “Preventing Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation” (Training)