Sanford Heisler Kimpel Celebrates New Name

Posted January 12th, 2015.

National Public Interest Litigation Firm Announces Promotions and Hires

For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, (646) 681-7373,

(January 12, 2015, Washington, D.C. & New York City) – One of the nation’s most successful public interest litigation law firms has changed its name to “Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP” – adding “Kimpel” to what was previously known as “Sanford Heisler, LLP.”

“Kate Kimpel has an outstanding litigation record, and she has long been a major contributor to every aspect of our firm.  Having her name on the masthead is only fitting given her tremendous influence at the firm,” said David Sanford, Sanford Heisler Kimpel’s Chairman and co-founder.  “We look forward to her continued leadership.”

A 2006 graduate of Yale Law School, Kimpel first garnered accolades when serving as lead counsel in Velez v. Novartis, which after nearly six weeks of trial resulted in the largest gender discrimination verdict in U.S. history.  Kimpel has gone on to serve as lead counsel in class and individual gender and race discrimination cases. She also represents employees in wage and hour matters and has helped return tens of millions in unpaid wages to her clients. In addition, Kimpel routinely represents women at the highest levels in their fields, including Senior HR executives, General Counsels, COO\’s and other corporate executives and attorneys. As Lead Counsel, Kimpel recently secured conditional certification on behalf of nearly 9,000 female professionals at the Big Four accounting firm KPMG in Kassman et. al. v. KPMG; more than 900 women have opted in already and hundreds more can join before the closing date of January 31, 2015.

“I am delighted to add my name to that of Sanford Heisler – a name already synonymous with aggressive and creative advocacy on behalf of working Americans,” said Kimpel. “As a woman, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that the fairness present in our Firm is lacking in so many others.  While 47% of those graduating from law school are women, only 17% are equity partners; far fewer still are recognized as Named Partners. There is much that remains to be done to shatter the ceilings that persist, and I am honored to be doing it with the amazing team at Sanford Heisler Kimpel.”

“Along with serving as a fierce advocate on behalf of her clients, Kate also teaches a course on antidiscrimination law at Yale Law School, serves as the Firm’s Managing Partner in Washington D.C., and provides training and coaching to those employers who want to be proactive about complying with antidiscrimination laws,” noted Jeremy Heisler, co-founder and NY Managing Partner.   “She is a force to be reckoned with, and we’re glad to be on the same side of the table as she is.”

Sanford Heisler Kimpel has also promoted Michael Palmer to Partner in its New York office.  A 2004 graduate of New York University School of Law, Palmer has been recognized as a “Super Lawyers Rising Star” and has published work in the New York Employee Advocate.  He represents individuals in complex litigations, including wage and hour class actions, False Claims Act lawsuits, and employment discrimination actions. He is currently lead counsel in a class action brought on behalf of drivers misclassified as independent contractors and not paid overtime wages.

David Sanford said, “Michael Palmer has great experience prosecuting cases on behalf of workers who suffer wage theft.  ‎In addition to wage matters, Michael has an expertise in class actions and litigating False Claims Act matters. We are delighted to have him join our partner ranks.”

Xinying Valerian, a 2007 graduate of New York University School of Law, has been promoted to Senior Litigation Counsel. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Valerian clerked for two years for the Honorable A. Howard Matz in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and was a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid.  She represents employees in individual and class actions involving wage and hour, retaliation, discrimination and other civil rights claims, and she currently serves on the Sanford Heisler Kimpel legal team representing immigrant workers at Ma Laboratories in a wage and hour class action set for trial in February in California.

Sanford Heisler Kimpel’s 8 newest hires bring similarly impressive credentials to the Firm:

  • Alexandra Harwin graduated from Yale Law School in 2011; served as the Managing Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism; and has previously published on health and family law issues.
  • Yonina Alexander graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012; served as a legal fellow at the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco; and clerked for the Honorable Roslyn O. Silver of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
  • Russell Kornblith graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012; worked on International Human Rights issues, submitting three amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court; and clerked for the Honorable Ronald Lee Gilman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for the Honorable James S. Gwin of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Sara Tonnesen graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013; won the International Academy of Trial Lawyers 2013 Student Advocacy Award; and worked in the Public Interest Division of the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia.
  • David Tracey graduated from New York University School of Law in 2013; worked on criminal justice reform with the NYU Racial Justice Clinic and Stanford Three Strikes Project; and clerked for the Honorable Garland E. Burrell Jr., Senior Judge for the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.
  • Sherri Hansen graduated from Stanford Law School in 2014; served as a client advocate with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance project; worked on criminal justice reform with the Stanford Three Strikes Project; and worked with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.
  • Lauren Hartz graduated from Yale Law School in 2014; worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights; received an inaugural Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellowship at the National Women’s Law Center; and will clerk in the Eastern District of New York and in the First Circuit.
  • Lila Miller graduated from Stanford Law School in 2014; worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Sub-Committee on Immigration, where she helped prepare President Obama’s 2012 DREAM Act Executive Order; and will clerk in the Middle District of Tennessee.

About Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP

Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.  Our attorneys have graduated from the nation\’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.

The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, whistleblower, consumer fraud, and other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, Sanford Heisler Kimpel also represents individuals and has achieved particular success in the representation of executives in employment disputes. For more information call (646) 681-7373 or