Steven   Drapkin


Law Offices of Steven Drapkin


Steve has exclusively represented employers for labor and employment law matters during his nearly 40-year career. Since 1995, he has been his own boss, one of the very few management lawyers in California successfully maintaining a high profile solo practice. Prior to this phase of his career, he was a partner for a number of years in a law firm with a nationally recognized labor and employment department. He is now winding down his career while living on the north shore of Kauai. 

One of Steve’s career highlights was representing the employer in Foley v. Interactive Data Corp., California’s landmark wrongful discharge case. In the 25 years since Foley, he has been extremely active in writing amicus briefs, and appearing at oral argument, in many of the most significant California employment law cases. His participation has been on behalf of the major employer and business associations, most often for the Employers Group. Among the cases for which he has acted as amicus counsel or co-counsel are: Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza (2014)(limiting franchisor liability under FEHA); Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013)(mixed motive FEHA cases), Amalgamated Transit Union v. Superior Court (2009)(PAGA); Arias v. Superior Court (2009)(PAGA), Etheridge v. Reins Int. (2009)(tip-pooling); Budrow v. Dave & Buster's (2009)(tip pooling); Jones v. The Lodge at Torrey Pines (2008)(manager liability), Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions (2007)(meal and rest breaks), Lyle v. Warner Bros. TV Productions (2006)(sexual harassment), Sav-On Drug Stores v. Superior Court (2004)(class actions), Guz v. Bechtel (2000)(at-will employment), Armendariz v. Foundation Health Pscyhare Services (2000)(arbitration), Kelly v. Methodist Hospital (2000)(religious employers), Jennings v. Marralle (1994)(small employers), Gantt v. Sentry Insurance (1992)(wrongful discharge), Rojo v. Kliger (1990)(wrongful discharge) and Newman v. Emerson Radio (1989)(Foley retroactivity).  Steve also represented the employer in Veronese v. Lucasfilm (2013), an important decision for the defense of pregnancy discrimination lawsuits. 

In addition, Steve has played a significant role in securing broad immunities against retaliatory lawsuits for ADR providers and participants, including the lead California case protecting mediators, Howard v. Drapkin, a meritless suit that a litigant had brought against his wife (a child custody evaluator/mediator), the Supreme Court litigation privilege decisions in Moore v. Conliffe and Silberg v. Anderson.

Steve is pleased to have been honored on many of the “Best Lawyer” lists. For 2013, he was Best Lawyers' lawyer of the year for employment litigation in Los Angeles and for 2015 has the same honor for management labor law. He has been one of the highest ranked California labor and employment lawyers in the Chambers USA survey (and the only solo practitioner on the list). In past yearly reviews, Chambers has described Steve as a “deep thinker,” a “brave and aggressive counselor,” a lawyer who delivers “relentless” representation and “a very good general employment lawyer with a brilliant sense for innovative solutions.”

Steve is very proud to be a part of the Employers Group Legal Committee.

Steve graduated Order of the Coif from UCLA in 1976 and served for six months as an extern to the Hon. Mathew O. Tobriner of the California Supreme Court.

J.D., University of California, Los Angeles

State Bar of California


Mr. Steve Drapkin