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Our Attorneys
Stephen J. Hirschfeld


Stephen Hirschfeld is a founding partner and co-managing partner with the law firm of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, in San Francisco, California.  He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA), the world’s largest network of labor and employment lawyers.  His practice involves labor, employment and higher education law on behalf of management in both the private and public sector.  Steve advises clients throughout the country on day-to-day legal issues affecting the workplace, including employee discipline  and terminations, union organizing, workforce reductions, discrimination claims, proprietary information and trade secrets disputes, substance abuse, workplace privacy, disability accommodations, executive employment contracts, overseeing and conducting internal investigations involving employee, student, and faculty misconduct, faculty tenure issues, and other human resources issues.  He regularly defends employers in state and federal courts on disputes involving discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, trade secrets/unfair competition and wage and hour law.  He successfully argued a seminal wage and hour issue before the California Supreme Court.  Steve has vast experience working with unionized businesses on matters including collective bargaining, union contract disputes, and labor arbitrations.  He has tried to verdict over 100 cases before courts, arbitrators, administrative law judges and government agencies with a 'win rate' of over 90 percent.  Steve has conducted and overseen hundreds of investigations involving allegations of employee misconduct.  He regularly assists multi-national clients by conducting worldwide employment law audits to ensure they are in full compliance with all applicable employment and labor laws.  Steve has experience working with Boards of Directors to improve their effectiveness and communications.  His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small, privately-owned businesses.  Steve represents over 100 colleges and universities throughout the United States.  He takes a proactive approach when advising clients, emphasizing creative solutions to employee relations problems.  He frequently represents employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies on a variety of litigation matters involving the employer-employee relationship.  Steve routinely counsels management about ways to prevent costly and protracted litigation.  He teaches clients’ executives, managers, and supervisors how to make sound human resource decisions, while at the same time minimizing wrongful termination, discrimination, and sexual harassment claims. 

Other Distinctions

  • Named by Lawdragon/HR Executive as one of America's 100 most powerful employment lawyers in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • Named by Who’s Who Legal – U.S. and International Management Labor and Employment Law and The Expert Guide as one of the world's leading lawyers in labor and employment law.
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Law.
  • Listed in Northern California Super Lawyers every year since 2007.
  • Listed in "Leaders in Their Field" in Chambers USA for the last six consecutive years.  According to Chambers, he is praised as "knowledgeable, smart and savvy - the lawyer to go to for sophisticated employment issues" and "passionate, energetic and intelligent, cost-sensitive and a delightful personality."  Further, "[t]he 'very pragmatic and commercial' Stephen Hirschfeld of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP is founding and co-managing partner of the firm.  He . . . elicits praise for being 'incredibly responsive and pragmatic, and understanding the needs of a dynamic business and taking ownership for his decisions.' " and "Stephen Hirschfeld, of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP has over 30 years' experience handling labor and employment concerns for clients. Clients value Hirschfeld as 'a no-nonsense guy who cuts through it and helps figure out a game plan very pragmatically.' "  In 2016, Mr. Hirschfeld is listed in Chambers & Partners USA as follows:  “Clients say that Stephen Hirschfeld of Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP is "extremely knowledgeable and quick on his feet" and "terrific to work with." He is well known for his work on traditional labor matters.”  
  • Named by the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the "California Lawyers Companies Turn to First."
  • Listed by AsiaLaw as one of America's leading Asia-Pacific focused employment lawyers.
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys' Distinguished Service Award, that organization's highest award which was established to recognize individuals who have given extraordinary service to higher education.
  • Mr. Hirschfeld is "AV" rated by Martindale Hubbell.


Professional and Civic Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • InterPacific Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • XBHR, A Global Think Tank for Cross-Border HR Experts

Representative Public Presentations and Articles



Stephen J. Hirschfeld


  • J.D. - The George Washington University Law School - 1982
  • B.A. - St. Lawrence University - 1979
    summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar/Court Admissions

  • California
  • Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th and DC Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Central Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Supreme Court