Our People

Labor, Employment, and Education Law Experts. 

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Jolina A. Abrena

Associate
Jolina A. Abrena
Jolina A. Abrena, Associate

Jolina Abrena, an Associate in the Los Angeles office, represents Liebert Cassidy Whitmore clients in all matters pertaining to labor and employment law.  An experienced litigator, Jolina has extensive experience in all aspects of the litigation process, including trials and appeals.  Jolina was second chair in the underlying case of Benach v. County of Los Angeles (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 836, and has presented oral argument before the California Courts of Appeal.  Jolina also represents clients at administrative hearings, and advises clients about compliance with employment discrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, regulatory requirements and labor agreements.  She has conducted thorough investigations, and provided harassment trainings. 

Linda K. Adler

Senior Counsel
Linda K. Adler
Linda K. Adler, Senior Counsel

Linda Adler, Senior Counsel in LCW's San Francisco Office, represents clients in all matters pertaining to education, labor, and employment law. Well versed in the litigation process, Linda has successfully represented colleges and universities throughout California in disputes regarding employment and student matters. Prior to joining LCW, Linda represented colleges and universities before administrative agencies and in mediations, arbitrations, jury and bench trials. In addition, Linda has served as general counsel for colleges without in-house legal departments.

Todd O. Akin Jr.

IT Manager
Todd O. Akin Jr.
Todd O. Akin Jr., IT Manager

As LCW's IT Manager, Todd manages all aspects of the Firm's technology, which includes network infrastructure and security, document/records/email management systems, desktop applications, VoIP unified communications, litigation support systems and mobile technology. He is also responsible for establishing the Firm's IT policies and procedures, systems documentation, IT best practices, data backup and disaster recovery strategy, IT department budgeting and supervises application training for LCW attorneys and staff.

Elizabeth Tom Arce

Partner
Elizabeth Tom Arce
Elizabeth Tom Arce, Partner

Liz is an accomplished advocate with experience litigating a wide array of labor and employment cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Liz has successfully represented employers in matters ranging from single plaintiff lawsuits to wage and hour class and collective actions. Her litigation experience includes numerous successful summary judgment motions, defeating class certification, and decertifying collective actions. Liz's litigation practice also includes handling matters in arbitration and before administrative agencies where she has been effective at obtaining favorable results for the firm's clients.

Bruce Barsook

Partner
Bruce Barsook
Bruce Barsook, Partner

Bruce Barsook has been with the firm since 1981 and has concentrated in education and public sector employment and labor law for more than thirty years. Bruce has extensive expertise in education and employment law issues including traditional labor relations, discipline, conflicts of interest, retirement, open meeting laws and employment discrimination.  He has a wealth of experience in collective bargaining, fact finding hearings, court litigation, arbitrations, and other employment law administrative proceedings. In negotiations, Bruce excels in forging strong, effective relationships both with clients and with employee organization representatives. Additionally, Bruce advises schools and community colleges regarding board, faculty, staff, and student issues, including discipline, leaves and contractual issues.

Shelline Bennett

Partner
Shelline Bennett
Shelline Bennett, Partner

Shelline Bennett has represented management in labor and employment-law matters for over 20 years. She has worked with both private and public employers, including cities, counties, special districts, housing authorities, and community colleges, as well as nonprofit organizations. She has an extensive litigation background in both federal and state courts.

Steven M. Berliner

Partner
Steven M. Berliner
Steven M. Berliner, Partner

Steve has developed an extensive labor relations practice since joining the Firm nearly twenty years ago and has unparalleled retirement law expertise. Steve has acted as chief negotiator for many public agencies in labor negotiations with their employee groups, helping them reduce payroll and other costs. He also advises clients on contract interpretation issues and represents clients in grievance matters and is frequently called on to assist agencies in times of fiscal crisis.

Janae Biers

Manager, Litigation Support
Janae Biers
Janae Biers, Manager, Litigation Support

As Manager of Legal Support Services, Janae is responsible for hiring, training and supervising the secretarial staff and the legal records department in the Los Angeles office.  She also assists in the development and application of firmwide procedures in these areas. 

Michael Blacher

Partner
Michael Blacher
Michael Blacher, Partner

Michael Blacher is the Chair of the firm's Private Education Practice Group.  He represents educational institutions in all aspects of labor, employment, and education law. Michael has successfully defended claims involving alleged harassment, discrimination and retaliation, disability accommodation, First Amendment, and alleged violation of wage and hour laws.  Michael also advises educational institutions in Office of Civil Rights investigations and has handled a number of Title IX cases.  Michael often advises boards on governance and other issues, including updates to bylaws. He works extensively on contractual matters such as employment and enrollment agreements as well as employee and student handbooks. Michael also represents clients during arbitrations and administrative hearings.

Richard Bolanos

Partner
Richard Bolanos
Richard Bolanos, Partner

Richard (Rick) Bolanos has an exclusive practice representing California cities, counties and special districts in labor relations, negotiations, representation in disciplinary proceedings, arbitration of grievances, investigations, mediations, fact-finding hearings and specialized representation in investigation of employee discipline, harassment and discrimination matters. In addition, Rick provides special counsel to public agencies concerning public safety department formation, consolidation and dissolution procedures and he is one of the firm's specialists in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) consultation and litigation.

Awards & Involvement
Feb 6, 2017 Press Release

Six LCW Attorneys Selected to the list of 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers

Six LCW Attorneys got selected to the list of  2017 Southern California Super Lawyers.

Oct 3, 2016 Press Release

LCW is Proud to Announce New Partners - Judith Islas and Oliver Yee

We are pleased to announce that Judith Islas and Oliver Yee have been named Partners effective October 1, 2016.

Jul 20, 2016 Press Release

Four LCW Partners Have Been Named "Top 75 Labor & Employment Lawyers" by the Daily Journal.

July 20, 2016 - We are proud to announce that four LCW Partners have been named California's "Top 75 Labor & Employment Lawyers," by the Daily Journal. Peter Brown, Morin I. Jacob, Laura Kalty, and Brian Walter have been honored by this prestigious recogniti

Jul 8, 2016 Press Release

Seven LCW Attorneys Selected to the 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

July 8, 2016 - Seven LCW attorneys were selected to the 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Jun 13, 2016 Press Release

James E. Oldendorph Jr. Selected to the 2016 Southern California Rising Stars

June 13, 2016 – We are proud to announce that James E. Oldendorph Jr. has been selected to the 2016 Southern California Rising Stars list, published bySuper Lawyers. This is his second consecutive selection in the area of Labor and Employment law. Each year, no more th

May 16, 2016 Press Release

LCW is Named A Top 15 Law Firm for Minority Attorneys

On May 15, 2016, Law360 published their second annual The Top 100 Firms For Minority Attorneys list that surveyed law firms across the United States. We are proud to announce that Liebert Cassidy Whitmore was listed in the #15 spot of this ranking. 

Apr 18, 2016 Press Release

LCW is Named A Top 5 Best Law Firm for Female Attorneys

On April 17, 2016, Law360 published their second annual 100 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys and The Best Law Firms For Female Partners lists that surveyed law firms across the United States. We are proud to announce that Liebert Cassidy Whitmore was ranked in the

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