Posted March 1st, 2019.
SAN DIEGO, CA – Ed Chapin, a partner in the San Diego office of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP and the firm’s California Managing Partner, was today named a 2019 Employment Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. This is the first year the publication honored attorneys in the employment sector as “trailblazers,” which it characterizes as “movers and shakers in the legal industry who have made an impact in their sector through new types of strategies or innovative court cases.”
Chapin’s selection for this distinction was based in part on his representation of Beth Burns, the winningest coach in the history of San Diego State University’s (SDSU) women’s basketball program. His litigation skill in this very public jury trial that focused on SDSU’s Title IX violations and earned Burns a $4 settlement highlighted how even the most powerful institutions can be made to take responsibility for the damage they cause to individual’s careers and reputations.
“Ed is an exceptional lawyer and a valued colleague. We are most fortunate to have him on our side of the table in high-stakes employment disputes and other complex litigation matters,” said David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp.
Chapin has also had a major influence on ERISA litigation, where he has effectively pursued a strategy of filing suit based on corporations’ inadequate supervision of employees’ funds, rather than simply on their unreasonable investment fees. His performance-focused approach in a high-profile ERISA lawsuit against GE, for instance, asserts the company and plan breached their fiduciary duties to employees by engaging in prohibited transactions and unlawful self-dealing detrimental to the named plaintiffs and the class. His strategy in a Home Depot ERISA matter, in contrast, focuses on the company’s violation of its basic fiduciary duties and abuse of employees’ trust by selecting multiple poorly-performing funds for its 401(k) plan, allowing investment advisers to charge unreasonable fees, and turning a blind eye to a kickback scheme between an investment adviser and the plan’s record-keeper.
Chapin is also a member of the Sanford Heisler Sharp’s teams currently representing female attorneys in BigLaw firms in high-profile gender discrimination complaints regarding their pay, benefits, and advancement. These gender discrimination, pay equity and pregnancy, and maternity discrimination cases continue to impact the conversation about advancement, promotion, pay equity and leadership opportunities for female lawyers even as the profession publicly struggles with the underrepresentation of women in such roles.
Chapin has a long history of the leadership of professional and civic organizations at the local, state, and national levels, including serving as president of the San Diego Chapter and the statewide California Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and service of more than 20 years on the ABOTA National Board. He is the former Vice President of the San Diego County Bar Association. Ed has spoken at continuing legal education and trial advocacy seminars sponsored by the San Diego County Bar Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, California Continuing Education of the Bar, Litigation Section California State Bar Association, Association of Business Trial Lawyer Association, and the Rutter Group.
A 1972 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, the firm’s newest trailblazer has received many significant professional awards including the Daniel T. Broderick Award for “epitomizing the highest principles of civility, integrity and professionalism” presented by ABOTA, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, San Diego Defense Lawyers and the San Diego County Bar Association.
Chapin also received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the San Diego Defense Lawyers and his undergraduate alma mater Missouri State University recognized him with its Outstanding Alumnus Award. In February 2018, was recognized as the Outstanding Trial Lawyer for 2017 by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego.
About Sanford Heisler Sharp
Sanford Heisler Sharp is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in Baltimore, MD; New York; Washington, D.C; Nashville; San Francisco, and San Diego. Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating and trying 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 claims of employment discrimination, sexual violence, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, consumer fraud, and whistleblowing, among other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the Firm also represents individuals and has achieved extraordinary success in the representation of executives and attorneys in employment disputes.
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