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Our Firm History - Passion. Vision. People.

In 1942, Robert Littler, at that time the Pacific Coast Director of the War Labor Board, and Thomas Coakley, until then a California deputy attorney general, formed the first law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area to specialize exclusively in representing employers in labor and employment law matters. Arthur Mendelson joined the firm in 1944.

The 1960s saw rapid business development for the firm with expanding unionization and other employment law concerns for employers in Northern California. With the addition of Wesley Fastiff and others, the firm was particularly qualified to meet these needs. Littler represented companies in a wide variety of industries, including, notably, numerous trucking companies nationwide, spawning many landmark cases handled by Mr. Fastiff. With the passage of civil rights and other employment legislation, many of the firm’s attorneys successfully represented and defended employers in civil rights, wrongful termination, workplace safety and employee benefits disputes, all that in addition to its continued representation of clients in traditional labor law matters.

By the end of the 1970s, Littler Mendelson had grown to 50 attorneys servicing employers from offices strategically located in California, providing effective representation of employer interests in both union-related matters and the ever growing area of employment law regulation. Beginning in the 1990s, in response to a growing employer need for its focused practice and advice, the firm expanded nationwide. Dozens of offices and hundreds of attorneys are now located in every region of the country to best serve employers no matter where in the country their businesses are located. The firm’s nationwide footprint of offices and attorneys allows it to provide a distinctive mix of both national and local knowledge in formulating effective labor advice and solutions for its clients.

In 1996, the firm formed an alliance with Employment Law Learning Technologies (ELT), now NAVEX, to provide employers with effective compliance and risk management solutions through online education. NAVEX, a separate organization, continues to provide training solutions to help employers manage their most important workplace compliance challenges, including training in sexual harassment, union awareness, ethics, code of conduct, EEOC and wage and hour.

Globalization of the world’s economy and the growth of multi-national labor and employment law needs spurred Littler’s expansion internationally. In October 2010, Littler opened its 50th office, the first international location, in Caracas, Venezuela and further expanded internationally opening two offices in Mexico in 2012. In 2013, Littler Global was formed, adding offices in Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Puerto Rico. These offices serve the firm’s clients in areas of cross-border employment issues, labor matters, dispute resolution and litigation throughout Central and South America. 

To meet multi-national employer needs in the Far East, and specifically the People’s Republic of China, in 2011, Littler formed a strategic alliance with TransAsia Lawyers, one of the leading employment law firms in the People’s Republic of China. Through this alliance, Littler is positioned to provide employment law advice and services to companies doing business or wishing to do business throughout the Far East.

Today, with over 60 offices in major metropolitan areas nationwide and globally, more than 1,000 Littler attorneys provide the firm’s clients with representation and daily advice concerning dozens of different areas of labor and employment law.

Littler Mendelson is the largest law firm in the United States exclusively devoted to representing management in employment, employee benefits and labor law matters. The firm has always had, and continues to have, the necessary legal resources, wherever they are needed, to provide world class employment and labor law representation for its clients.