(July 10, 2017) – It is with great sorrow that we share the news that our colleague and dear friend Wesley J. Fastiff, 84, passed away on July 7, 2017, surrounded by his loved ones. Wes was globally recognized as a leading labor and employment lawyer and played a pivotal leadership role in elevating Littler's prominence in the legal community. Wes joined the then two-person firm in 1963 and over the next 50-plus years made extraordinary contributions that secured the firm's reputation as a global labor and employment powerhouse. He gained national prominence early in his career by negotiating a favorable national contract with Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, an achievement that served as a launching pad for his national reputation and ultimately led to Littler's preeminent position in the legal industry. Trucking company executives showed their appreciation by giving Wes model trucks, which he collected throughout the years. The Wes Fastiff Truck Collection is on display in the firm's San Francisco office.
"Wes was a guiding light for Littler, and he played an instrumental role in the firm's success over the past five decades," said Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-presidents of Littler, and Lindbergh Porter, chairman of the board, in a joint statement. "His contributions were countless and he is held in high regard not only across our firm but the entire legal industry. He will be dearly missed."
Throughout his career, Wes handled some of the most challenging issues and cases impacting his clients, including matters involving union representation and recognition, contract negotiations, arbitrations, wrongful terminations, employment discrimination, and negotiating individual employment agreements. He represented clients before the National Labor Relations Board, federal and state agencies and state and federal trial and appellate courts.
Wes frequently spoke before various professional groups across the country, and along with his wife, Bonnie, was an ardent philanthropist. Together they supported their alma maters, Tufts University and Harvard Law School, and created a Fastiff Scholarship Fund at each institution. Wes and Bonnie were also active supporters of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., the oldest synagogue in the United States. Wes delivered the keynote address at the 2016 George Washington Letter Reading, an annual event held at the synagogue that commemorates the United States' rich heritage of religious freedom and core civil liberties.
As we grieve the loss of our friend, we extend our condolences to Bonnie and Wes' children, Eric and Pam, their extended family and many friends. No services will be held, and in lieu of flowers, the family requests any contributions be made to Touro Synagogue, Fastiff Family Fund, 85 Touro Street, Newport, R.I., 02840, or to a charity of choice.
"Wes was the heart and soul of Littler and his passion will never be forgotten. He was a great friend and mentor to many and the finest labor lawyer of his generation. He will be deeply missed and always remembered," said Shareholder Marko Mrkonich, former managing director of Littler.
"Wes was a friend, mentor and colleague for more than 50 years. He was without a doubt the best labor and employment lawyer I have ever known. I often regret that as our firm grew, other attorneys didn't have the chance to learn by working with Wes. I also recall when the firm was only five lawyers that it was Wes who always envisioned making it bigger and ultimately the unquestionably best employment and labor law firm in the world. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for all that he has done. But, most importantly, we have lost a dear friend who will be forever in our memory," said Shareholder and long-time friend George Tichy.
"Wes and I worked together for nearly a half century. He has been a great friend, partner, and mentor. The firm was founded on his shoulders and his boundless energy, creativity, demand for excellence, and tremendous love for Littler made this firm the success it is today. We are all better off for having known him and we will honor his memory by continuing to be the world's best labor and employment firm," added Shareholder and long-time friend Garry Mathiason.
Littler is the largest global employment and labor law practice, with more than 1,300 attorneys in over 75 offices worldwide. Littler represents management in all aspects of employment and labor law and serves as a single-source solution provider to the global employer community. Consistently recognized in the industry as a leading and innovative law practice, Littler has been litigating, mediating and negotiating some of the most influential employment law cases and labor contracts on record for 75 years. Littler Global is the collective trade name for an international legal practice, the practicing member entities of which are separate and distinct professional firms.