David Sanford Named One of Forbes’ “Top 200 Lawyers” in the United States

March 27, 2024, New York – David Sanford, Co-Founder and Chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp, a national civil rights and public interest law firm, has been named to the inaugural list of Forbes’ “America’s Top 200 Lawyers.”

A leading American business publication, Forbes describes its 2024 honorees as “the finest practitioners in the profession — lawyers with stellar track records in their specialties, those who have broken barriers to emerge as leaders in their fields, and attorneys most respected by peers and clients.” Forbes also notes that it “curated a diverse and superlative group of attorneys who have demonstrated outsize influence and have achieved an elite level of excellence. . . they all share reputations for integrity and records of excellence.  And the import of their work is omnipresent….All are lawyers whose expertise, passion and purpose set them apart.”

Forbes writes that Sanford’s “successful firm is devoted to prosecuting and resolving significant social justice and civil rights cases.” Sanford commented:  “Our firm is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year and we are proud of the contributions we have made in advancing and creating good law to protect civil and human rights. We have worked hard during the past 20 years to implement change by large institutional employers, which improves the working lives of so many people. There is still much work that remains and we look forward to continuing that work.”

Sanford founded the firm in New York and Washington, D.C., in 2004. In the three-lawyer firm’s initial year, he was lead counsel in a nationwide civil rights lawsuit brought by the NAACP against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store that alleged the restaurant discriminated against its Black employees and customers. Cracker Barrel ultimately settled the nationwide class action and paid a $8.7 million settlement – the only time in the administrations of George W. Bush that the U.S. DOJ intervened in a civil rights class action.

In 2010, Sanford prevailed in the largest gender discrimination employment case in U.S. history, securing a $253 million jury verdict as lead counsel for 7,000 women employees in Velez v. Novartis in the Southern District of New York. In addition, the final agreement included Novartis’ commitment to meaningful internal policy changes. The United Nations recognized the win as one of the top ten in the world for advancing women’s rights; in 2011, he addressed the UN about the verdict’s impact on gender equity worldwide.

Sanford has been lead counsel in more than 50 class actions and numerous whistleblower and qui tam cases, as well as successfully resolving the claims of hundreds of C-Suite executives, attorneys, tech workers, pharmaceutical employees, employees in the hospitality, service, health, manufacturing, and educational sectors, and others in contract disputes, employment matters, and severance negotiations. Today he guides the largest civil rights law firm in the U.S. that is 100% devoted to prosecuting and resolving significant social justice and civil rights cases from its offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, Baltimore and Nashville.

Under Sanford’s leadership, the firm has earned a coast-to-coast reputation for prevailing in challenging cases – including representing attorneys against their firms such as MoFo, Jones Day, Chadbourne, (now Norton Rose), Sedgwick and other leading BigLaw powerhouses. He has also overseen significant litigation against several of the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including Columbia, NYU, and Dartmouth, as well as gender discrimination and sexual harassment and assault litigation against the U.S. military, including pending matters against the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.

In addition to lecturing at the Stanford Law School each year since 2005, and speaking regularly in classes at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU Law School and other law schools around the country, Sanford appears often as a guest and commentator, including broadcasts on Univision, NBC News, Bloomberg, ABC News, CGTN America, CBS, CNN, and the Voice of America.

Sanford received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, his M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (ABD), and his B.A. from Vassar College. He clerked for Judge Gladys Kessler on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in Baltimore, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Diego, and Nashville. Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower, criminal/sexual violence, and financial services matters. The firm has recovered over $1 billion for its clients through many verdicts and settlements. The National Law Journal recognized Sanford Heisler Sharp as 2022 Civil Rights Firm of the Year, 2021 Employment Rights Firm of the Year and 2021 Human Rights Firm of the Year.

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

For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, at 201-788-0142 or [email protected].