- National Recognition
- Notable Successes
- Firm Leadership
- Law School Lectures and Television Appearances
- Community Service
- Major Cases
David Sanford is Co-Founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp, Co-Chair of the Executive Representation Practice Group, and has been Chairman of the firm since 2012.
The National Law Journal inducted David into its Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame; the American Lawyer recognized David as one of three Attorneys of the Year Finalists for all attorneys nationwide; and Benchmark Litigation recognized David as Labor and Employment Attorney of the Year in both 2019 and 2021 while citing a peer who commented that David is “exceptional as a thinker [and] as a creative lawyer.”
David has served as lead counsel in more than 50 class actions and numerous whistleblower and qui tam cases. He has also represented hundreds of C-Suite executives, attorneys (in-house and law firm counsel), tech workers, pharmaceutical employees, employees in the hospitality, service, health, manufacturing, and educational sectors, and others in contract disputes, employment matters, and severance negotiations.
David won as lead counsel the largest gender discrimination employment verdict in U.S. history, a $253 million dollar verdict on behalf of 7,000 women in Velez v. Novartis after a six-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The United Nations recognized the matter as one of the top ten matters in the world advancing women’s rights. In 2011, David gave an address to the United Nations about the case and its impact on furthering women’s rights.
David received his law degree from Stanford Law School, Master of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (ABD), and Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College. David clerked for Judge Gladys Kessler on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
David has been honored by virtually every legal media publication in the U.S.
David was inducted into The National Law Journal’s “Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame” and selected as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in America by the National Trial Lawyers.
David was one of three lawyers in the U.S. named as “Attorney of the Year Finalist” in 2018 by The American Lawyer.
David was named the “Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year” in 2021 and 2019 by Benchmark Litigation. Recently, Benchmark Litigation named David to its inaugural list of Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigators in the United States—a list that “features lawyers who have been recognized by peers and clients alike for their exceptional reputations and achievements in labor and employment litigation” and who received “the most robust and vocal ‘best in class’ nominations throughout Benchmark’s recent research cycle.”
David is recognized as a top employment lawyer by The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, and The National Law Journal, and he has been ranked a “Leader in the Field in New York for Labor & Employment: Mainly Plaintiffs Representation” by Chambers and Partners. He has also been recognized as an “Employment MVP” in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 by Law360, a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” in 2014 and 2018 by Law360, a “Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer” in 2018 by The National Law Journal, one of the leading plaintiff employment lawyers in America by Lawdragon, and a “Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney” in both Washington, DC and New York by Super Lawyers.
Every year since 2006, David has been AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given to an attorney by judges and attorneys nationwide, and he has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers. David is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
In addition to the Novartis gender discrimination verdict, David also was lead counsel in a $99 million dollar settlement against Novartis in a wage and hour class action on behalf of pharmaceutical representatives.
David has settled gender discrimination class actions with extensive class-wide relief against Daiichi Pharmaceuticals ($8.2 million), Qualcomm ($19.5 million) (named one of the top settlements in California in 2016 by TopVerdict.com), Sanofi Pharmaceuticals ($15 million), KPMG ($10 million), Alcon Pharmaceuticals ($8 million), and Western Digital ($7.75 million). Other gender discrimination settlements include matters against Merck, Publicis Groupe, Forest Laboratories, and General Electric. Most matters are settled before a matter is publicly filed.
David was lead class counsel in a $14.25 million class action settlement against Rabbi Freundel and other defendants on behalf of women surreptitiously videotaped while performing a religious cleansing ritual.
David has been lead counsel for more than 100 women general counsel and partners at BigLaw firms throughout America. For example, on behalf of three women partners, he recently settled a case alleging gender discrimination and pay inequity against Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbright). He also recently settled gender discrimination matters on behalf of woman partners at many AmLaw 100 firms. The vast majority of BigLaw cases have settled confidentially before a lawsuit was filed.
David was lead counsel in a $28 million wage and hour class settlement against Pac Bell, Bell South, and SNET; co-lead counsel in a $16 million race discrimination settlement against Kroger; class counsel in a $14 million settlement against Dartmouth in a Title IX and hostile environment matter; lead counsel in an $8.7 million settlement in a race discrimination class action against Cracker Barrel; and many other matters both public and private.
David was lead trial counsel for a professor at Columbia University Business School in a sexual harassment and retaliation matter, which culminated in a $1.25 million jury verdict after a three-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The verdict was named one of the top civil rights violation verdicts in the U.S. in 2018 by TopVerdict.com.
David was co-counsel in a $762 million settlement between the U.S. government and Amgen. Amgen allegedly defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and other governmental health care programs by promoting “off label” uses of certain prescription drugs and paying kickbacks to doctors and other health care providers.
David is class counsel in ERISA matters pending against Home Depot, General Electric, Walgreens, and Allstate. He was class counsel in ERISA matters that recently settled against Eaton Vance ($3.45 million) and Transamerica ($5.4 million).
David is also class counsel in Sanford Heisler Sharp's race discrimination class action against the U.S. Marshals Service. The class action is brought on behalf of over 10,000 current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals and Detention Enforcement Officers who have experienced racism in hiring, promotions, and headquarters assignments from 1994 to the present. The class also includes all African American candidates who applied for Deputy U.S. Marshal positions since 1994 but were never hired.
During David’s tenure as Chairman, the firm has tripled in size, opened four new offices, and it has been recognized for many awards, including:
- The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers’ Employment Rights Firm of the Year (2021)
- The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers’ Human Rights Firm of the Year (2021)
- The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers in Employment Rights and Discrimination (2019)
- Benchmark Litigation’s Labor and Employment Firm of the Year (2020 and 2021)
- Nationally ranked by Chambers & Partners since 2016
- Nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Best Law Firms in the U.S. since 2015
- Law360’s Employment Practice Group of the Year (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021)
- Lawdragon’s recognition of 17 of the firm’s attorneys as among the top 500 leading plaintiff employment and civil rights lawyers
- Benchmark Litigation’s recognition of 12 of the firm’s attorneys as Labor & Employment Stars
- Benchmark Litigation’s recognition of 2 of the firm’s attorneys as part of its inaugural list of the Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigators
- Law360’s recognition of 3 of the firm’s attorneys as MVPs
- Law360’s recognition of 3 of the firm’s attorneys as Rising Stars
- The National Law Journal’s recognition of 3 of the firm’s attorneys as Rising Stars of the Plaintiffs Bar
- Washington Legal Times’ Employment Litigation Department of the Year
- Law360’s recognition as one of the best firms in the nation for minority attorneys, female partners, and female attorneys
David has given yearly lectures at the Stanford Law School since 2005 and has routinely spoken at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, and NYU Law School. He has appeared often on television as a guest and commentator, including shows on Univision, NBC News, Bloomberg, ABC News, CGTN America, CBS, CNN, and Voice of America.
David has been a board member of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem since 2011; a board member of CorpsAfrica since 2010; an advisory board member of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession since 2014; an advisory board member of the Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion, and Resources, a non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the plaintiffs’ employment bar and raising public consciousness about workers’ rights, since 2011; and a member of the advisory board of AerNos.
One client shared that “as a corporate employment attorney myself, I can say that David is the most skilled plaintiff’s lawyer I’ve ever met. He is caring, humble, ever graceful and unwavering in character. Defense counsel know that David has the skills and the bench strength to follow through with demands.” Another client wrote that “there is a reason that this is one of the best rated law firms in the country. I am forever grateful for Mr. Sanford’s sage advice, the hard work and patience demonstrated by his team, and the final outcome of my case.” A former female Partner at an AmLaw 100 firm related that “[t]he care [David has] taken to date has been outstanding and second to none! It has been truly valued and appreciated.” Another client wrote that “David Sanford . . . provided me with endless support and careful guidance through one of the most challenging chapters of my career.”
A senior executive expressed that “David and his team built a strong case and ultimately managed to reach a successful outcome through mediation that not only sent a strong message on wrongful termination but it gave me my credibility and confidence back. David and his team are competent, strategic, and a powerful opponent.” Another client commented that “David Sanford is simply the best attorney I have ever worked with. I’ve never seen anybody handle depositions and mediation as masterfully and skillfully as David Sanford does.”
Another client wrote that “David Sanford got my former employer’s attention and confidentially resolved my employment matter in a very thorough and efficient manner. He was steady throughout the entire process and it was extremely reassuring to see him fight for me.” Another client related that “David Sanford and his team achieved a tremendous result in obtaining a confidential seven-digit settlement from my company, and measurable change. We held a confidential mediation and settled the case without filing a lawsuit.” Another client commented that “Led by David Sanford, . . . this firm has proven again and again it has the necessary talent, experience, intelligence, creativity, and resources to represent workers and whistleblowers successfully against the country’s largest employers.”
The former head of Health Care for General Electric in Latin America shared that “David dedicated a large amount of time to know me and the circumstances of my case. He helped me maintain balance throughout the process. He always demonstrated clear thinking, self-confidence, and strength. He is extremely smart, experienced and a great strategist.” Another client wrote that “David Sanford is an awesome attorney, down to earth and has a big heart. I think he is a wonderful person and has a great team. I loved working with him and I am so grateful for him and his team for all the time, effort, and support they gave me.”
The former CEO of General Electric Aviation Materials described the result David achieved as “extraordinary.” The former CFO of Proskauer Rose commented that “David is very warm, he’s very smart, he made me feel like I was his only client. We never rushed when we had a conversation. He runs a fantastic firm.”
A former employee of a Fortune 500 company expressed that “the care, concern, and understanding from David Sanford and the team at the firm was so supportive. They also knew exactly how to make the company pay attention, resolve the issues, and compensate the victims. I was able to leave with my dignity, my pride, and a future that has been wide open with new possibilities.” A former director in a tech company wrote that “David exemplifies how a great lawyer and human being should behave and conduct business. The firm he built is wonderful and I would recommend anyone who has any doubt in their workplace to contact David and Sanford Heisler Sharp.”
Exceptional advocates throughout my case.
“Sanford Heisler Sharp brings a ferocity and dedication to their work that cannot be understated. David Sanford, Saba Bireda, James Hannaway, Madison Zucco, and Niamh Lang were exceptional advocates throughout my case, who fought to ensure that I would receive the best result possible while showing empathy during a very trying time. If you are looking for a set of attorneys who will work tirelessly to achieve justice, I would recommend this firm to the highest degree.”
– Professional Sports Head Coach and Former Client
Thank you to David Sanford and his excellent team of attorneys.
“Thank you to David Sanford and his excellent team of attorneys. They are top-drawer advocates who are passionate about helping students who find themselves in adverse situations with universities and their hard-lined policies. Our student faced discrimination by peers and potential civil rights violations ultimately by the school. Sanford Heisler Sharp was there to help guide our student and provide a voice when they needed it. Mr. Sanford personally stepped in and cared. He and his team showed remarkable compassion and support to help effect a positive outcome with pushing for safety measures so that our child could finish on time and earn their degree. We are deeply appreciative of their guidance and for being our child’s advocate.”
– Former Client
I couldn’t have done these things without you.
“David, Russell and Clare – thanks very much for your wise counsel and unflagging support. David, I turned to you for help during what was, without question, the worst experience of my professional life, and thanks to you and your colleagues, we achieved a successful resolution, restored my reputation, and enabled me to return to a fulfilling and challenging position. I couldn’t have done these things without you and am grateful for your support.”
– Senior In-House Counsel
You owe it to yourself to reach out to David Sanford and his eminent team.
“It was indeed a great pleasure for me to work with David Sanford and his team of eminent lawyers. David has a great pulse on legal matters related to discrimination, harassment and retaliation and takes time amidst his busy schedule as head of one of the best law firms in the US to talk to his clients. He puts his clients at ease with his crystal clear understanding of the big picture and advises them on all options available to them throughout the process. He is an expert in both ethics and employment laws while being very empathetic at the same time. If you think you have been a victim of any kind of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you owe it to yourself to reach out to David Sanford and his eminent team of lawyers without delay. Thanks.”
– S K
Sanford was very helpful to me in quickly and competently dealing with a complex legal matter.
“Sanford was very helpful to me in quickly and competently dealing with a complex legal matter. He cogently organized and summarized the legal and practical matters involved and quickly guided me towards an effective resolution.”
– Joseph Banks
David Sanford & Deborah Marcuse provided me with support and guidance.
“David Sanford, as well as Deborah Marcuse and the entire team at the firm, provided me with support and guidance while protecting my interests aggressively. I will never stop thanking them.”
– Suzy Reingold
I can’t thank you enough for your support, guidance, and advocacy.
“I can’t thank you enough for your support, guidance, and advocacy throughout this process. While there technically may be no “winners” in a mediation, I do feel like I won. I meant what I said in my opening statement that, regardless of the outcome, I would find closure in having shared my truth. And I have. You gave me the space and confidence to do so, and it means so much to me and my family. This experience would not have been the same way with any other attorney. The firm is lucky to have you as is every past and future client. Thanks for believing in me and fighting for me!
Simon and David – thank you both as well. Grateful for this firm and what it’s given me.”
A tremendous result.
“David Sanford and his team achieved a tremendous result in obtaining a confidential-seven-digit settlement from my company, and measurable change. I had approached my former company through its internal channels about the stark gender pay disparity. Unfortunately, my concerns went unanswered. That is until David Sanford and team reached out to them. We held a confidential mediation and settled the case without filing a lawsuit. All the while David and team were professional, attentive, passionate, and wicked smart. As a corporate employment attorney myself, I can say that David is the most skilled plaintiff’s lawyer that I’ve ever met. He is caring, humble, ever graceful, and unwavering in character. Other lawyers may huff and puff, but defense counsel know that David has the skills and the bench strength to follow through with his demands. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. And having put the episode behind me, I accepted a position at a new company in a better role for fair pay.”
– Former Client
Sincere Passion for Their Work.
“I could not have been more fortunate to have come across the law firm of Sanford Heisler Sharp. After a desperate search on the internet for national employment firms when employment lawyers in my own state left me incredibly disappointed, they responded in less than 24 hours, and arranged a phone conversation with Mr. David Sanford shortly thereafter. Even the young intake specialist understood the details of my case better than experienced lawyers at other firms. Throughout the process, I was impressed by the level of commitment, legal knowledge, analysis, thorough research and review, confidence, and strong document preparation by this firm. Most importantly, this is a firm that practices law ethically. What sets them apart is their sincere passion for their work – from the firm’s intake coordinators all the way up to the partners.
The discrimination that I as a woman of color faced at work had left me emotionally and physically distressed, and I was so appreciative of their genuine empathy and concern around my health. Moreover, they are not deterred by large and influential employers, and have experience across a wide range of industries. They evaluated the merits of my case, examined the evidence and made a compelling argument that completely disarmed the defending party. At the end, I was able to get my former employer to agree to a majority of my terms in the settlement. There is a reason that this is one of the best rated law firms in the country. I am forever grateful for Mr. Sanford’s sage advice, the hard work and patience demonstrated by his team, and the final outcome of my case.”
– Former Client
Amazing efforts and results.
“I turned to Sanford Heisler Sharp after numerous unsuccessful efforts of sharing my concerns of bias and gender discrimination to my management. The discrimination continued for many years. I had a long successful career, a Masters degree in Organizational Management, with numerous awarded accomplishments. So, I decided I was no longer going to allow the discrimination to continue to myself or others. David Sanford and his team took on this giant international company, with concern and respect, diligence, detail, and an in-depth understanding of the numerous levels of inequities of gender discrimination from training, promotions, salaries and harassment within the company’s culture. They achieved both a great outcome of compensation for the victims, and helped insure a plan of corrective measures for the company. I would highly recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp their amazing efforts and results made such a positive difference to so many, and could do the same for you. It certainly did for me.”
– Deborah Doak Davis, Plaintiff in Novartis Gender Discrimination Matter
Superbly trained and accomplished.
“David Sanford is simply the best attorney I have ever worked with. His team of lawyers and staff are superbly trained and accomplished. David represented me and family members and we settled during the litigation. I’ve never seen anybody handle depositions and mediation as masterfully and skillfully as David Sanford does. I highly recommend this world class firm to everyone.”
– Former Client
A great strategist.
“David dedicated a large amount of time to get to know me and the circumstances of my case. He helped me maintain balance throughout the process. He always demonstrated clear thinking, self-confidence, and strength. He is extremely smart, experienced and a great strategist.”
– Claudia Goulart, Former Head of Health Care for GE in Latin America
“My experience with Sanford Heisler was truly transformative. Through our litigation against Columbia University, David Sanford. . . helped me reclaim not only my professional standing but also my dignity. Together, we set a precedent for accountability in the academy of which I could not be more proud. From beginning to end, I was awed by Sanford Heisler’s tireless commitment to civil rights and their clients’ well-being. I think of my attorneys and the extraordinary impact they have had on my life every day.”
– Jane Doe
A powerful opponent.
“I contacted David Sanford based on a recommendation when I was wrongfully terminated from my executive-level role. The case was complex since it involved a well-known and high-powered attorney that was threatening to ruin me and my reputation if I proceeded with the case. David . . . [was] extremely classy, professional, and level-headed throughout the entire process and brought a tremendous amount of comfort and support to me. My opinions were valued, my doubts always heard, and I was always reassured with full transparency, integrity, and partnership. David and his team built a strong case and ultimately managed to reach a successful outcome through mediation that not only sent a strong message on wrongful termination but it gave me my credibility and confidence back. David and his team are competent, strategic, and a powerful opponent. They fought for me and were the voice I needed and wanted to represent me through this time.”
– Former Client
A fantastic firm.
“David is very warm, he’s very smart, he made me feel like I was his only client. We never rushed when we had a conversation. He runs a fantastic firm.”
– Elly Rosenthal, Former CFO at Proskauer Rose LLP
Down to earth.
“David is an awesome attorney, down to earth and has a big heart. I think he is a wonderful person and has a great team of personnel. I loved working with him. I am so grateful to him and his team for all the time, effort and support they gave me.”
– Donna Bryan, former client
Professional and even-tempered.
“David has the largely unique ability to be extremely aggressive and, at the same time, both very professional and even-tempered. Defendants who have a claim asserted by David Sanford and his firm know they have their hands full. You know you’re going to have a real fight on your hands.”
– Glen Nager, Partner at Jones Day
“When it comes to qui tam it would be hard to find a more dedicated team Sanford Heisler Sharp. They worked tirelessly to ensure my claim was filed swiftly and effectively. Years later, I remain in contact with David Sanford and continue to appreciate his consistent efforts to exceed all professional expectations. I highly recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp.”
– Angie Silva, Whistleblower
Record of success.
“Even among the nation’s top tier class action and plaintiffs law firms, Sanford Heisler Sharp stands out in its record of success. Led by David Sanford and Jeremy Heisler, this Firm has proven again and again it has the necessary talent, experience, intelligence, creativity, and resources to represent workers and whistleblowers successfully against even the country’s largest employers.”
– Lorene Schaefer, Esq., President of WinWinResolve.com and Former GC of GE Transportation
Strength and courage.
“I built my professional reputation on putting company interests first, so I was blindsided when my company threatened to terminate me in a visible and unfair fashion. I was terrified to take legal action, but I’m so glad I did. . . . Felicia. . . and David protected my role and reputation, secured a financial settlement >10x the company’s original offer, and, most importantly, gave me the strength and courage to stand up for myself. Their professionalism, candor, and warmth kept me sane through one of the darkest times in my life, and I can’t imagine going through that without them.”
– Former Client
A winning team.
“David Sanford and Danielle Fuschetti helped me with two cases with great results. They were attentive to detail from the first call and assisted me every step of the way with an unbelievable work ethic. It took David and every brilliant team member’s hard work to achieve a satisfactory outcome. I am forever grateful for being able to find such a great team to work with. The team at Sanford Heisler consists of great people who are not only very skillful in the legal domain, but are also wonderful human beings with the highest degree of empathy for their clients. They helped me to go through the process of a lengthy legal battle with relative ease because I was confident that they were behind me to support, to consult, to help. David exemplifies how a great lawyer and human being should behave and conduct business. The firm he built is wonderful and I would recommend anyone who has any doubt in their workplace to contact David and Sanford Heisler Sharp.”
– A Female Director in a Tech Company
“David Sanford, Deborah Marcuse, and the Sanford Heisler Sharp team are worthy advocates for anyone needing help in navigating the path to justice.”
– Alexander Prout, Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific at Deutsche Asset Management
Outstanding legal service.
“Based upon Sanford Heisler’s reputation, I expected outstanding legal service. However, I cannot express how much I respect and appreciate the skill and compassion David, Russell, and Nicole demonstrated every single day. With their expert guidance and attention, they made an otherwise very difficult process tolerable. The Sanford Heisler team always made me believe the fight was worthwhile! Thank you all so much!”
– General Counsel
“Thank you to Melinda, David and the Sanford Heisler Sharp team for your outstanding and winning counsel, powerful support and true humanity. It was a real privilege to work with such a professional and caring group of people. I am particularly grateful for Melinda’s hard work, sharp mind and empathy throughout the process during a very difficult time.”
– Former Marketing Executive
A Successful balance of tenacity.
“Ali Harwin represented me in my action against my employer while I was still employed there. I had suffered almost five years of harassment and marginalization and, frankly, I had a very deep fear of retaliation from my manager. I felt absolutely powerless to defend myself. David Sanford and Ali took action to immediately legally protect me while I was in a very vulnerable position. Ali then guided me through the entire process, striking the right balance between providing transparency regarding what was happening and protecting me from the very negative aspects of the firm’s rebuttals. She held me up when I felt no strength to continue and fought hard to get me what I deserved. She is a successful balance of tenacity, integrity and a soft touch in her advocacy. I was very fortunate to have Ali on my side and I highly recommend her to those considering retaining Sanford Heisler Sharp!”
– Financial Services Professional
Endless support and careful guidance.
“David Sanford, David Tracey, [and] Kate MacMullin. . . provided me with endless support and careful guidance through one of the most challenging chapters of my career. After experiencing discrimination in the workplace, I felt helpless and afraid. The team at Sanford Heisler Sharp spoke with me for months to develop trust and share the information I needed to make a decision regarding legal representation. During this time, I never felt pressured to rush to an answer as my own interests and goals were always put first by the team.
Sanford Heisler Sharp gave me the courage to stand up for myself, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been represented by such sincere, talented and hardworking individuals. Thanks to the team, I have moved on to the next phase of my career with renewed confidence, inspiration and passion. I highly recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp to anyone navigating a similarly difficult situation. I’m so glad I went forward with the support of this group!”
– Former Client
Very good, patient listeners.
“I am so grateful to have had David Sanford, David Tracey, [and] Kate MacMullin. . . fight for me. They never once wavered in believing in my case and helped me not only settlement wise, but also in sending the long-coming message to my firm that their mistreatment of women was no longer tolerated, nor will we stay quiet any longer. The team clearly demonstrated their expertise in employment discrimination law throughout my case. I felt that they always had my best interests at hand. They were very professional but also very good, patient listeners. And just overall good, genuine people. I used to blame myself for what happened, but now I have clarity and closure about the reality of the situation and can confidently move forward with my life and my future endeavors.”
– Former Client
“David Sanford called me on Super Bowl Sunday (imagine that!) to let me know that SHS would represent me. From start to finish, my legal team, Russell Kornblith, [and] . . . demonstrated its intricate knowledge and interpretation of employment law, specifically the risks and psychology of my employer’s strategy. As the case progressed quickly and constructively, I felt understood and respected throughout each step of the journey. The outcome was beyond what I could have imagined! I thank SHS in my heart every time I read about them in the press. Just be thankful that they are on YOUR side and not the opposing counsel!”
– Former Banking Executive
Thorough, professional and efficient.
“I could not be happier with my Sanford Heisler Sharp experience. Confronting racial discrimination in the workplace was the hardest decision I’ve made in my 20+ year career. Vincent McKnight understood my situation immediately and helped me to clearly understand the pros and cons of my options. David Sanford got my former employer’s full attention and confidentially resolved my employment matter in a very thorough, professional and efficient manner. He was steady throughout the entire process and it was extremely reassuring to see him fight for me. Great attorneys who are also excellent at listening to the client.”
– M.B., Former Client
“I wanted to thank in particular Saba Bireda for her unwavering focus, patience, diligence and legal acumen. Excellent job … really well done. Many thanks to both her and Gabi Weldon for hanging in there with me. They are perfectionists and the result speaks for itself. And, of course, thanks to David Sanford for providing the strong foundation/strategy and for matching me with his team! Wow! I am still smiling with happiness from the result! I finally am sleeping at night and a huge burden has been lifted. Thank you … it means everything to me. I couldn’t be happier.”
– A Female Television Executive
Dedicated and knowledgeable team.
“Navigating a sexual abuse case against a well-endowed private school, I was fortunate to have Christine Dunn and David Sanford in my corner to determine the facts of my case, discuss possible strategies, and gather all the facts. If you are a survivor, you know this an emotional and brave journey that requires a great deal of support, time and resolve. Throughout my intense 10-month journey during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Sanford Heisler was available to guide me along the way, and was supportive of my experience. In the end, we came to a resolution. I was blind to the law, but my dedicated and knowledgeable team at this amazing law firm showed me the light and gave me power. Without hesitation I recommend Christine Dunn, Sophie Tohl and David Sanford, who will vigorously represent you as they fight for justice. In my experience, the team at Sanford Heisler Sharp know how to solve for the best possible outcomes.”
– Former Client
Concern and understanding.
“I worked with the team and Sanford Heisler Sharp in a class action litigation against a Fortune 500 company. A frightening thing for anyone to sign up for, let alone a middle-aged woman with more than 25 years at that same company. The care, concern, and understanding from David Sanford and the team at the firm was so supportive. They also knew exactly how to make the company pay attention, resolve the issues, and compensate the victims. I was able to leave with my dignity, my pride, and a future that has been wide open with new possibilities.”
– Margaret Harding, Former Client
Extraordinary counsel, concern, and attention.
Russell and David are extraordinary attorneys. Focused on detail but also the human side of events. Stellar in all regards. Extraordinary counsel, concern, and attention. Recommend with the highest possible rating.
– Former Client
- J.D., Stanford Law School
- ABD, UNC, Chapel Hill
- M.A., UNC, Chapel Hill
- B.A., Vassar College
- Honorable Gladys Kessler, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- New York
- Maryland, 1997
- District of Columbia, 1998
- U.S. Supreme Court, 2005
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1998
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2016
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2017
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2010
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, 1998
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1998
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 2006
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, 2006
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2020
- Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame Inductee, The National Law Journal, 2015
- Attorney of the Year Finalist, The American Lawyer, 2018
- Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year, Benchmark Litigation, 2021 and 2019
- Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar, Law360, 2018 and 2014
- Employment MVP, Law360, 2018, 2016, 2015, and 2014
- Top Rated Employment Lawyer, Corporate Counsel
The American Lawyer
- Top Rated Employment Lawyer, The American Lawyer
The National Law Journal
- Top Rated Employment Lawyer, The National Law Journal
- Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer, The National Law Journal, 2018
- AV-rated every year since 2006 (highest rating given to an attorney by judges and attorneys nationwide), Martindale-Hubbell
- Top Rated Lawyer, Martindale-Hubbell
- 2021 Benchmark Inaugural Top 20 Labor and Employment Litigators List
- Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year, Benchmark Litigation, 2021 and 2019
- Labor & Employment Star – Northeast, Benchmark Litigation, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018
Chambers and Partners
- Leader in the Field in New York for Labor & Employment: Mainly Plaintiffs Representation, Chambers and Partners, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for work in the field of “Employment Law – Individuals,” Best Lawyers, 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019
- Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers: Employment Plaintiffs, Washingtonian, 2020, 2019, and 2018
- The 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
- 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers, Lawdragon, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018
National Trial Lawyers Association
- Top 10 Wage & Hour Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
- Top 25 Class Action Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
- Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney, Super Lawyers, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014
American Bar Foundation
- Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
This class action accuses the fiduciaries of UnitedHealth’s 401(k) plan of violating their fiduciary duties under ERISA by keeping one of the worst-performing target date investment options in the entire market, the Wells Fargo Target Fund Suite, as the plan’s default investment for over a decade.
The lawsuit alleges that De Niro and Canal Productions subjected their longtime employee, Graham Chase Robinson, to a hostile work environment, including unwelcome physical contact, sexually-charged comments, verbal abuse, and sex-stereotyping.
Sanford Heisler Sharp represents Siddharth Breja in his whistleblower retaliation and wrongful termination claims against JUUL Labs, Inc.
David Sanford was lead counsel in a race discrimination class action suit against Cracker Barrel restaurants. The case concerned discrimination in pay and promotion, and also involved discrimination against African-American customers. The United States Department of Justice intervened in the case after five years of litigation and the suit settled for $8.7 million.
This gender discrimination class action against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. was originally filed by Plaintiff Kelli Smith in May 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In January 2014, four additional class representatives from around the country joined the suit as plaintiffs alleging pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination against the company.
The plaintiff is former Ogletree equity partner Tracy Warren, who filed the representative action on behalf of herself and other similarly situated current or former female attorneys employed in California at the storied defense-side labor and employment firm. Ms. Warren filed the action under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA).
The complaint asserts that Ogletree uses a number of tactics to shortchange female shareholders in pay and promotions. The firm manipulates allocation of origination credits by unfairly attributing such credits to male shareholders, even when women at the firm are the ones who bring in the client.
The complaint alleges Walgreens failed to remove from its employee retirement plan a suite of ten target retirement date funds that have underperformed their investment benchmarks.
Sanford Heisler Sharp brought a whistleblower/qui tam matter against AtriCure, Inc, (“AtriCure”), a medical device manufacturer. Subsequently, AtriCure agreed to pay $4.15 million to resolve all claims against it. The Complaint charged that AtriCure violated the Federal False Claims Act by using illegal kickbacks and an off-label marketing campaign to induce doctors and hospitals to perform AtriCure’s costly inpatient cardiac surgical ablation procedures rather than standard, and more effective outpatient catheter ablation procedures. As a result, the Medicare program faced substantially increased costs from AtriCure’s unnecessary and expensive procedures.
According to the complaint, the three student plaintiffs were groped at fraternity parties in their first semesters at Yale. The student plaintiffs know of other female students who experienced similar sexual harassment and assault during and after fraternity parties and at the hands of fraternity brothers.
This case has been settled and the class settlement is pending court approval. If the Court approves, Western Digital will make a non-reversionary payment of $7.75 million to settle class claims for gender discrimination and unequal pay for female employees.
The Complaint, which is filed on behalf of three female associates currently employed at MoFo, alleges the international law firm practices systemic gender discrimination against female lawyers, particularly those who are pregnant or have children.
Early in 2015, Freundel plead guilty in a criminal proceeding before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to numerous counts of illicitly filming women as they used the “mikvah”- a Jewish ritual bath frequently used by married Orthodox women as well as by women undergoing conversion to Judaism.
The complaint alleges that when Ms. Saltzman complained to EXL Board Member Clyde Ostler about the discrimination that she was personally experiencing, the company fired her.
The whistleblower alleged that the San Diego-based Scripps Health System unlawfully billed the United States Government for physical therapy services on behalf of a physician who was not present while the services were rendered. The case claimed that Scripps persisted in this conduct despite warnings from the whistleblower.
In a class action race discrimination case, Sanford Heisler Sharp is counsel for the class, which includes over 700 current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals and Detention Enforcement Officers who have experienced racism in hiring, promotions, and headquarters assignments from 1994 to the present. The class also includes all African American candidates who applied for Deputy U.S. Marshal positions since 1994 but were never hired.
- Adnan Syed case: New court brief seeks to uphold ruling for new hearing, WBAL-TV, August 28, 2023
- Maryland’s highest court to hear appeals in case chronicled by ‘Serial’ podcast, AP News, June 28, 2023
- Maryland Supreme Court agrees to hear appeals in Adnan Syed case, The Baltimore Banner, June 28, 2023
- Maryland Supreme Court agrees to take up Adnan Syed case, The Washington Post, June 28, 2023
- Family of Hae Min Lee asks Maryland Supreme Court to take up appeal in Adnan Syed case, The Baltimore Banner, June 8, 2023
- Family of ‘Serial’ podcast murder victim demands right to take part in hearings, AP News, June 8, 2023
- Adnan Syed case: Victim’s brother files appeal to Maryland Supreme Court, asks for more say in court proceedings, The Baltimore Sun, June 8, 2023
- VP’s Sex Discrimination Suit Against De Niro Partially Tossed, Law360, May 26, 2023
- Maryland Supreme Court halts Adnan Syed’s murder conviction, The Washington Post, May 26, 2023
- Maryland’s highest court prevents reinstatement of Adnan Syed’s conviction in ‘Serial’ podcast case, CNN, May 26, 2023
- Maryland Supreme Court holds off on reinstating Adnan Syed convictions as appeal continues, The Baltimore Sun, May 25, 2023
- Adnan Syed asks Md. Supreme Court to review decision that reinstated his murder conviction, The (Maryland) Daily Record, May 24, 2023
- Adnan Syed’s lawyer appeals to Maryland Supreme Court, AP News, May 24, 2023
- Adnan Syed asks Maryland Supreme Court to review lower court’s ruling that reversed his vacated murder conviction, CNN, May 24, 2023
- Adnan Syed’s counsel seeks Maryland Supreme Court to review ruling that reinstated murder conviction, NBC Baltimore, May 24, 2023
- Maryland appeals court denies Adnan Syed request to reconsider murder ruling, The Guardian, May 3, 2023
- Appellate court denies Adnan Syed’s motion to overturn reinstatement of murder conviction, CNN, May 3, 2023
- Maryland appeals court denies Adnan Syed’s motion to reconsider decision to reinstate conviction, The Baltimore Banner, May 2, 2023
- Adnan Syed’s attorneys plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of Maryland, CBS Baltimore, May 2, 2023 (video)
- Adnan Syed asks Maryland court to reconsider murder conviction ruling, Fox News, April 27, 2023
- De Niro Accuser in Sex Bias Suit Rips Grift Claims, Law360, April 20, 2023
- Murder conviction of “Serial” podcast subject Adnan Syed re-instated, CBS Mornings, March 29, 2023 (video)
- Serial’s Adnan Syed was finally free. Zoom got his conviction reinstated, Vox, March 29, 2023
- Court Reinstates Adnan Syed’s Murder Conviction in ‘Serial’ Case and Orders New Hearing, The New York Times, March 28, 2023
- Adnan Syed’s conviction reinstated by Maryland appellate court, CBS News, March 28, 2023 (video)
- ‘Without Fear Of Consequence’: University of Miami Sued Over Alleged Discrimination, Law.com, February 9, 2023
- Attorneys for Hae Min Lee’s family ask Maryland court for redo of hearing that vacated Adnan Syed’s conviction, CNN, February 2, 2023
- Maryland appeals court hears argument over whether Adnan Syed’s conviction should be reinstated, The Baltimore Banner, February 2, 2023
- Appeals court hears arguments on whether to reinstate Adnan Syed, The Washington Post, February 2, 2023
- Adnan Syed case: Attorneys for Hae Min Lee’s brother escalate allegations ahead of oral arguments in appeal, The Baltimore Sun, January 25, 2023
- Hae Min Lee’s family files claim that court didn’t follow procedure for Adnan Syed’s release, CBS Baltimore, January 24, 2023 (video)
- Adnan Syed case: Maryland AG’s office backs Hae Min Lee’s brother in appeal; Syed’s lawyer says legal argument is moot, The Baltimore Sun, January 10, 2023
- Victim’s Family Wants to See the Evidence That Released Adnan Syed, Rolling Stone, October 28, 2022
- Ex-Kirkland associate’s bias case packs a punch, but will it succeed?, Reuters, October 20, 2022
- Dan Rodricks: Mosby off base with cheap criticism of ‘Serial’ victim’s family lawyer, The Baltimore Sun, October 14, 2022
- Murder Case Against ‘Serial’ Subject Dropped After DNA Tests, Law360, October 11, 2022
- Benchmark Litigation Names Sanford Heisler Sharp A Tier 1 Labor and Employment Litigation Powerhouse, GlobeNewswire, October 7, 2022
- Hae Min Lee’s family asks Maryland appeals court to halt Adnan Syed’s case pending appeal, ABC Baltimore, October 5, 2022 (video)
- Tech Employers Targeted as Plaintiffs Lawyers Hit Silicon Valley, Bloomberg Law, September 28, 2022
- A grand strategic plan to grow and develop the Palo Alto office, Law360 Employment Authority, September 27, 2022
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Launches Silicon Valley Office, Law.com, September 27, 2022
- Main subject of hit podcast set free after judge vacates murder conviction, CNN, September 20, 2022
- David Sanford Talks Social Justice, Judicial Credibility and the Never-Ending Fight Against Discrimination, Law.com, August 8, 2022
- Will We See Big Law Gender Parity in 20 Years? Dream On., Bloomberg Law, May 31, 2022
- Robert DeNiro’s $6 Million Lawsuit Against Ex-Employee Meant To Humiliate, The Richest, March 17, 2022
- ‘Brilliant,’ ‘Dynamic,’ ‘Fair’: Jackson’s SCOTUS Nomination Is Heralded by Legal Community, Law.com, February 25, 2022
- Law Firm Life in Beta: The Pandemic Is Making Leaders Experiment More, Law.com, September 15, 2021
- Law.com Trendspotter: Remote Work Could Shift Big Law’s Billable Hour Focus From Quantity to Quality, Law.com, September 14, 2021
- Diminishing Returns: How Many Billable Hours Is Too Many?, Law.com, September 14, 2021
- Litigation Firm Sanford Heisler Cuts Lawyer Billable Hours, Bloomberg Law, September 9, 2021
- Sanford Heisler raises salaries while lowering hour requirements, Reuters, September 9, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Reduces Billable Hour Requirement, Citing Pandemic Lessons, Law.com, September 8, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Reduces Billable Hour Requirements, Law360 Pulse, September 8, 2021
- Eight Sanford Heisler Sharp Attorneys Listed In 2022 Best Lawyers, August 19, 2021
- Weil, Dickinson and Sanford Heisler Update Office Policies Amid Shifting CDC Guidance, Law.com, July 28, 2021
- Big Law’s hybrid future will rely on honor system, for now, Reuters, July 17, 2021
- As Law Firms Plan Office Returns, Whole ‘Remote Weeks’ May Become Newest Benefit, Law.com, July 15, 2021
- What Key Legal Industry Leaders Said About Our 40 Under 40 Class, Bloomberg Law, July 14, 2021
- Home Depot, Workers Both Seek Early Win In 401(k) Class Suit, Law360, July 13, 2021
- Law Firms Monitor Delta Variant Spread, as Leaders Plan Office Return Policies, Law.com, July 9, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Uses Attorney Tenure in Setting Office Return Policy, Law.com, June 30, 2021
- Sanford Heisler, Dentons Reveal Return To Office Plans, Law360, June 30, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces $5.4 Million Settlement with Transamerica in ERISA Class Action, GlobeNewswire, June 23, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Will Join ‘Hybrid’ Work Bandwagon In The Fall, Law360, July 11, 2021
- Allstate Says Employees In ERISA Suit ‘Lost Nothing’, Law360, June 10, 2021
- Q&A: David Sanford on going back to his law firm’s office, Reuters, June 11, 2021
- Firms Face These Important Space Questions as Lawyers Return From Pandemic Wanderings, Law.com, May 10, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Requiring COVID-19 Vax To Return To Office, Law360, April 16, 2021
- Sanford Heisler to Require Vaccinations for Returning Lawyers, Bloomberg Law, April 16, 2021
- Robert De Niro Went to Manhattan D.A. Over Ex-Employee’s Spending, She Says, The Hollywood Reporter, April 15, 2021
- Am Law 100 Leaders in Texas Unite in Opposition to New Voting Restrictions, Law.com, April 14, 2021
- Robert De Niro reportedly claims ex-assistant threatened him before suing, FOX Business, January 22, 2020