Cliff Palefsky Is One of the Nation’s Most Influential and Successful Employment and Civil Rights Litigators

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A "Force of Nature"

Cliff Palefsky Is One of the Nation’s Most Influential and Successful Employment and Civil Rights Litigators
Cliff Palefsky is one of the founding partners of San Francisco's McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky . He is recognized frequently in legal publications and professional surveys as one of the leading civil rights and employment attorneys in the United States. Mr. Palefsky has been described as a "force of nature" because of his involvement in numerous pieces of legislation and leading cases that have helped define the field of employment law.

In 2009, Mr. Palefsky testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on the matter of whether mandatory binding arbitration is fair to employees.

Over the years, Mr. Palefsky has been awarded several distinctions. He has been called one of the "Most Feared Lawyers" by the San Francisco Business Journal and by Human Resources Magazine. Mr. Palefsky has been listed as one of the Best Lawyers in America every year since the survey was established in 1986. In 2010, he was the recipient of the California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year Award for his work as part of a litigation team that secured a 78.5 million dollar settlement, which is the largest settlement in the history of the U.S. Department of Education. Chambers USA named McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky as the leading plaintiff employment firm in California and described Mr. Palefsky as "the leading plaintiff side employment lawyer" in the state. The San Francisco Chronicle identified him as one of the top twenty-five attorneys in Northern California. Mr. Palefsky has also been named in the Law Dragon 500 listing on four occasions: 500 Leading Lawyers in America in 2005 and 2007; 500 Leading Litigators in America in 2006; and 500 Leading Plaintiff Lawyers in 2007.

He is well known for arguing eight cases in front of the California Supreme Court. Mr. Palefsky has been involved in several landmark and precedent setting cases, which include Rulon Miller v IBM, Gentry v Circuit City, Duffield v Robertson Stephens, Armendariz v Foundation Health Psychcare, Little v Auto Stiegler, and Foley v Interactive Data among others. He has been involved in the development of the covenant of fair dealing and good faith in the employment context and particularly in the application of the doctrine in the context of bonuses, stock options and executive compensation.

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McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky


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