National Civil Rights Firm Sanford Heisler Sharp Opens Silicon Valley Office

September 27, 2022, Palo Alto, CA –Sanford Heisler Sharp today announced the opening of a new office in Palo Alto, the firm’s eighth location nationwide, third office in California, and second new office this year.

Long a top-rated law firm in the Bay Area, Sanford Heisler is the first exclusively plaintiff-side law firm with a focus on civil rights, social justice, and employment litigation in Silicon Valley. The firm’s focus in the Valley and the Bay Area is representation of employees, with a specialized expertise in representing tech workers and Asian Americans in litigation and finance.

“From warehouse workers to female law partners, from pharmaceutical and medical device sales representatives to C-suite executives, and from entry-level technology workers to the founders of successful startup companies, our firm has established a strong record of protecting the rights of employees,” said David Sanford, the firm’s Chairman and Co-Founder. “Our Palo Alto office puts our lawyers in closer proximity to technology sector employees and to the Asian American workers and businesses. We have had significant success for clients in the Valley; the new office simply enhances our accessibility and impact." On a personal note, Sanford mentioned that he graduated from Stanford Law School (“SLS”), has given lectures at SLS for the past 15 years, and "looks forward to spending more time in Palo Alto and at Stanford in the years to come.”

Qiaojing Ella Zheng and Felicia Gilbert, also a Stanford graduate, are Co-Managing Partners of the new Palo Alto office and the firm’s current San Francisco office. Zheng is also Chair of the firm’s Asian American Litigation and Finance Practice and Gilbert is Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Danielle Fuschetti, a third partner serving clients in Palo Alto and San Francisco, is Co-Chair of the firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice. All three have previously achieved major victories in high-profile disputes arising in the technology sector, the lifeblood of the Valley economy.

“Over the years, Sanford Heisler Sharp has developed extensive connections with leading advocates for employment rights, bar associations, and community organizations in the Valley,” said Zheng. “My fluency in Mandarin Chinese and my legal education, which included studying law in both China and the U.S., are valuable assets in resolving our clients’ legal disputes, especially those involving multinational and multijurisdictional issues.”

Zheng won an $8.3 million arbitration award for breach of contract and fraud for the co-founder of a Silicon Valley semiconductor startup who was wrongfully denied his equity stake in the company; Fuschetti was on the team that settled a gender discrimination case for $7.75 million on behalf of female employees at Western Digital, and a $19.5 million gender discrimination case against Qualcomm; and Gilbert has negotiated confidential six- and seven-figure exit packages for C-suite executives and managers against large corporations nationwide.

Zheng has also notched many successes in Silicon Valley, including representing an Asian American female employee against a multinational financial services company in her claims of discrimination in which she obtained multi-year front pay and emotional distress damages via settlement. Some of Zheng’s other successes include a case on behalf of an auditor against a financial services company in his claims of retaliation and wrongful termination, in which Zheng obtained a substantial monetary settlement and a positive reference letter from the company for the client’s future job search; a seven-figure settlement on behalf of a female executive in a breach of contract and fraud case against a leading global aviation company; a number of significant settlements through confidential negotiation on behalf of female software engineers in gender and pregnancy discrimination cases against global social media companies; and a class settlement on behalf of Chinese immigrant warehouse workers in a wage and hour class action case against Ma Labs.

With its collective experience and resources, Sanford Heisler Sharp will be the Valley’s go-to employee-side firm, not only in the trillion-dollar tech industry and in Asian American litigation and finance matters, but also for workers in the finance, medical and pharmaceutical, hospitality, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

As part of the firm’s longstanding commitment to public service, all three Palo Alto partners are active in local legal and advocacy organizations. Zheng is the President of the Chinese American Lawyers of the Bay Area, serves as the Vice President of the Board of YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley, and is a volunteer attorney at both Legal Aid at Work and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Gilbert serves on the board of Legal Aid at Work and is a member of the board’s executive committee. She is also member of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Northern California. Fuschetti is a board member of the Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law and a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association.

Sanford Heisler Sharp is headquartered in New York City. In addition to its offices in New York, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, it has offices in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Nashville, Atlanta, and San Diego. The firm is regularly honored by the nation’s leading legal publications, including the National Law Journal, Benchmark Litigation, Chambers and Law360, as among best the law firms in the United States in the employment, civil rights, and human rights areas.

The firm’s Silicon Valley office has the entire 5th floor at 300 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto. Sanford Heisler Sharp was represented in the lease transaction by Hunter Moss, Sam Wolfsohn and Jed Springer of Cushman & Wakefield.

About Sanford Heisler Sharp

Sanford Heisler Sharp is a public interest and civil rights law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, and San Diego. The firm focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower and qui tam, criminal/sexual violence, financial services, and Asian American litigation and finance matters. Our lawyers have recovered over $1 billion for our clients through many verdicts and settlements. In 2022, The National Law Journal named Sanford Heisler Sharp Civil Rights Firm of the Year, and it recognized the firm in 2021 as both the Employment Rights Firm of the Year and the Human Rights Firm of the Year.

Sanford Heisler Sharp has devoted countless pro bono hours in representing Leonard Peltier. The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on the United States to “take urgent action to ensure the immediate release of Mr. Peltier,” an indigenous rights activist who has been wrongfully incarcerated by the U.S. government for almost 50 years.

For the latest news about Sanford Heisler Sharp, visit the firm’s newsroom or follow the firm on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

If you have potential legal claims and are seeking counsel, please call 646-681-7373 or email david.sanford@sanfordheisler.com. Attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp would like to have the opportunity to help you.

For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 201-493-1027, jamie@newspros.com

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