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 focus exclusively on representing employers in labor and employment law matters. Arthur Mendelson joined the firm in 1944.
By the 1960s, the firm saw rapid business development with expanding unionization and other employment law changes in northern California. With the addition of Wesley Fastiff and others, Littler was particularly qualified to meet these needs. The firm represented companies in a wide variety of industries, including numerous trucking companies, with Fastiff handling many landmark cases nationwide. With the passage of civil rights legislation and other new employment laws, many of the firm’s attorneys successfully represented and defended employers in civil rights, wrongful termination, workplace safety and employee benefits disputes, in addition to a continued representation of clients in traditional labor law matters.
By the end of the 1970s, Littler had grown to 50 attorneys servicing employers from offices strategically located in California, providing effective representation of employer interests in union-related matters and the ever-growing area of employment law regulation. Beginning in the 1990s, in response to a greater employer need for its focused practice and advice, the firm expanded nationwide, establishing dozens of offices and adding hundreds of attorneys throughout the country to best serve employers no matter their geographic location.
With the globalization of the economy and the growth of multinational labor and employment law needs, Littler began expanding internationally. In October 2010, Littler opened its 50th office and its first international location in Caracas, Venezuela.
Littler broadened its global services by opening two offices in Mexico in 2012 and has since expanded throughout the Americas with offices throughout the Latin American region, including its latest in Brazil in 2020. In 2015, the firm moved into Canada, opening an office in Toronto, and entered the European market shortly thereafter by combining with leading labor and employment law boutiques in Germany (2015), France (2016), the United Kingdom (2017), Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium (2018), Norway (2019), Austria, Poland and Spain (2020), Ireland and Portugal (2021). 2019 marked another important milestone in Littler’s global expansion strategy, with the opening of a regional office in Singapore – the firm’s first in Asia. Today, Littler’s global offices span four continents, providing multinational employers with legal representation in the areas of cross-border employment issues, labor relations, dispute resolution and litigation.
With the advent of new technology platforms and the demands of a changing legal market in the early to mid-2000s, Littler introduced its first innovative product to the market, changing the way it delivers legal services to clients. The firm’s award-winning Littler CaseSmart platform is an integrated solution of technology, talent and legal project management that offers immediate benefits in terms of cost, efficiency and risk management for the defense of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges and single-plaintiff employment litigation. Since the launch of Littler CaseSmart, the firm has rolled out a suite of other innovative products and service lines to give employers technologically sophisticated options for confronting an ever-changing and increasingly complex legal environment.
With offices around the world, more than 1,600 labor and employment attorneys provide the firm’s clients with representation and daily advice on virtually all areas of labor and employment law.
Littler is the largest law practice in the world 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.