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Labor and employment Star

Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigator

Practice area:

Civil rights and human rights
Labor and employment
Product liability and recall

David Sanford is the Chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP. He has served as lead counsel in more than 50 employment class actions around the country and has represented scores of general counsel and attorneys in employment matters. He also represents C-suite executives and non-managerial hourly employees from coast to coast. David has recovered more than one billion dollars for individual clients through trials and settlements and for the U.S. government under the False Claims Act statute over the past 15 years. 

Recently, David has brought gender discrimination class actions against BigLaw, including Jones Day, Ogletree, MoFo, Chadbourne, Proskauer, and Sedgwick. These matters have heightened public awareness about gender discrimination in BigLaw and its negative effects on women’s advancement to roles of leadership and influence in law firms. His innovative approach of filing employment claims under the Equal Pay Act, state and city Civil and Human Rights Acts, and/or the California Labor Code’s Private 

Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has been influential in discrimination and class litigation. 

David has also brought Title IX and Equal Pay Act cases against universities, including Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, NYU and the University of Arizona. 

In 2010, David was lead counsel for a class of women pharmaceutical sales representatives against a major pharma giant. After a six-week trial in federal court in New York, the jury returned a verdict of $253 million. Today it still stands as the largest gender employment discrimination class action verdict in the U.S. David was invited to speak at the United Nations in 2011, as the UN recognized the Novartis matter as one of the top ten matters in the world advancing women’s rights. 

Recently, David tried and won the first “Me Too” case tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in a gender discrimination matter against Columbia University. 

David was inducted in The National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame; was an American Lawyer 2018 Attorney of the Year finalist; was the 2018 and 2019 Benchmark Litigation Employment Attorney of the Year; and has been recognized by Law 360 as an Employment MVP and Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar, and by The National Law Journal as 2018 Plaintiffs’ Trailblazer. He has been recognized by Chambers USA as a Leader in the field for Labor & Employment for the past four years. David has also been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for the past 17 years and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 

David has been chairman of the Firm since 2012, during which the Firm has been recognized as the National Law Journal Employment Rights Firm of the Year (2021) and Human Rights Firm of the Year (2021); Benchmark Litigation’s Labor and Employment Firm of the Year (2020 & 2021); nationally ranked by Chambers & Partners since 2016; nationally ranked by U.S. News since 2016; and for many years has been recognized by Law360 as Employment Practice Group of the Year. 

Updated Sep 2021