Erin Kunze

Erin Kunze Associate

Erin provides representation and legal counsel to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore clients on a variety of employment and education law matters including retirement and healthcare benefits, labor relations in the public and private nonprofit sectors, public safety, and safety planning in schools. 

Erin regularly audits collective bargaining agreements and personnel rules to advise clients on current legal standards and best practices.  She additionally represents clients in labor negotiations and in labor disputes, providing legal counsel through mediation, arbitration and before administrative agencies.  

A member of the Retirement, Health and Disability Practice, Erin regularly advises clients on issues pertaining to retirement, health care benefits, and related taxation issues.  She has advised clients on pension system member enrollment obligations, employer and employee pension contribution issues, the disability retirement process, retired annuitant issues, and issues pertaining to Public Employees' Medical   Hospital Care Act (PEMHCA) compliance.  She also advises clients on responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act, including the employer's status as an applicable large employer under the Act, employee eligibility, and the employer's year-end reporting obligations.

As a member of the firm's Business & Facilities Practice, she provides advice and representation on the variety of issues encountered in day to day operations, including reviewing and drafting vendor and service contracts, negotiating contract terms, leases, and other business arrangements. She also helps clients in matters involving real property, including construction matters, project delivery methods, agreements to acquire or sell property, the use and operation of facilities, easements, and related laws. Through the Business & Facilities Practice, Erin assists academic institutions and nonprofit clients in complying with foundation, donation, and exempt organization issues.  She also regularly advises clients on issues specific to community college district foundations, including those with auxiliary organization status.

Erin also provides advice and training to LCW clients in the areas of performance management, harassment and discrimination, and mandated reporting. Erin assists academic institutions with Title IX compliance and brings to her work valuable insight and expertise from her prior work with the Hastings College of Law's Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project.

Prior to joining the firm, Erin developed diverse legal experience through her work with various philanthropic organizations doing human rights and immigration work, including serving as a Legal Intern in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands. Erin has worked with nonprofit arts organizations including California Lawyers for the Arts, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. With those agencies, Erin worked on issues relating to nonprofit incorporation, governance, and development. She remains passionate about human rights issues and now enjoys working through legal issues relating to these subjects with LCW clients.

Erin was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars in 2017 and 2018. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University (magna cum laude) and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School (cum laude).


BART v. BART POA (2013) - Represented BART Police Department as first-chair in a final and binding arbitration proceeding. Successfully upheld the termination of a police officer who had been terminated by the police chief after it was discovered he had been drinking while on duty, had recreationally used drugs with a neighbor, and was subsequently accused of rape by the neighbor the same evening he used drugs with her.


Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District - Fire and Administrative Units.

Escuela Bilingue Internacional - Teacher and Non-teaching Units.


SEIU v. County of Mendocino (2016) - Represented the County in a bench trial and secured a judgment on the claims before the court wherein SEIU alleged that the County had illegally contracted out for mental health services with private providers. The court found that the County was legally authorized to contract out with private providers for mental health services in an attempt to provide such services to a vulnerable sector of the community, and denied SEIU's request for a writ of mandate and injunctive relief.

Dennis Wallace v. Stanislaus County, Jury Trial #2 (2013) - Represented the County in a 4-week long jury trial and obtained a unanimous defense verdict on both claims before the jury: failure to accommodate a disability and failure to engage in the interactive process. Deputy Wallace, who had filed 15 workers' compensation claims while on duty, had a list of physical restrictions that were established by his doctor, and as a result was re-assigned to "light duty" as a bailiff. Wallace refused the re-assignment, and after saying that he did not agree with doctor's restrictions, asked for a different assignment.  When his request was denied, he sued the County. 

Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers - Rising Stars (2017, 2018, 2019)

Jan 10, 2017

Six Statutes for the New Year

As 2017 kicks off, employers should be aware that a number of new state-wide laws and local ordinances begin taking effect.  In this blog, we highlight just a few that California’s public employers should now be implementing.

Sep 6, 2016

Do You Have Seasonal Workers? What To Know About Health & Retirement Benefit Obligations

As the summer season winds down, so do public agency departments that hire seasonal workers to staff summer camps, pools, extended park and recreation hours, and a myriad of season-specific facilities and activities. But, just how do seasonal workers impact the agency’s health and retirement benefit obligations?

Aug 23, 2016

Courts Continue to Chip Away at Vested Rights

In the past few years, the courts have made it more difficult to establish a vested right to retiree medical benefits. We now have a decision that greatly reduces employee / retiree defenses that a change in benefits is unconstitutional.  The First District Court of Appeal last week upheld the Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association’s (“MCERA”) decision to prospectively limit the forms of pay and benefits included in the definition of “compensation earnable” and “pensionable compensation” – used to determine an employee’s final compensation for the purpose of determining pension benefits, finding that the change did not substantially impair current employees’ vested rights to a “reasonable” and “substantial” pension. Under this decision, the change was, thus, constitutional under state and federal law.

Feb 3, 2016

Pension Reform Follow Up

In December, we reported on renewed proposals to amend California'...

Jul 2, 2015 Business & Facilities

Is your Contractor Licensed? Protections Against Unlicensed Contractors Abound Under California Law

In accordance with Business and Professions Code section 7031, a contractor m...
Oct 23, 2014 Business & Facilities

Districts Entering into Lease-Leaseback Agreements May Validate the Action by Not Filing a Validation Action

In June 2012, the Los Alamitos Unified School District filed an action, pursu...
28 October 2020
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