Other than family and friends, an individual’s job can be the most significant relationship in a person’s life. Issues related to that employment relationship affect people on a very basic, emotional level. As employment lawyers, we need to be constantly aware of that fact. The emotional impact around employment decisions keeps our practice continuously intense and invigorating.
Reed E. Schaper is the senior litigation partner in the Los Angeles office. He sees his role as lawyer to be primarily a problem solver: “Employers call me when they are either facing a legal challenge or trying to avoid one. It’s my job to help them navigate sometimes counterintuitive laws and resolve issues to avoid problems in the future.”
His vast trial experience, in federal and state court, includes wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment and trade secret cases, and his clients span a wide variety of industries. “We fight hard for our clients, and we’re as aggressive as anyone, when that is needed,” Reed says. “But often, avoiding litigation – where a client may spend a significant amount to prove that they did nothing wrong in the first instance – can be far more satisfying and certainly more productive than a litigation success.”
Most satisfying to Reed are the numerous opportunities to work with clients on management and employee training, on topics as varied as managing within the law, how to conduct internal investigations on employment issues and sexual harassment and bullying prevention: “I’ve found that the employers we work with are consistently trying to do the right thing. There’s a great deal of motivation to get it right before issues arise and to make sure the solutions are incorporated in establishing best practices and procedures.”
He enjoys learning about all aspects of a client’s business. He focuses on an employer’s practices and procedures, of course, but Reed also strives to grasp the nuts-and-bolts of the business, whether it’s the complex campus dynamics of higher education, a unique manufacturing or assembly process, or back-of-the-house immersion in hotel or restaurant operations. He believes that this knowledge is essential to a successful relationship: “I don’t want to be the lawyer who simply tells clients what to do without understanding the context or their culture. Our relationship works best when it’s a true partnership between client and lawyer, and that’s my approach.”
Reed also has a thriving practice representing employers before the National Labor Relations Board, and he enjoys handling traditional labor matters, including union elections, contract negotiations, and strike management and response. He also handles complex compliance issues, such as affirmative action plan obligations for federal contractors and access and reasonable accommodation duties under disability laws. His pro bono work involves representing nonprofits, including clients in higher education.
Hirschfeld Kraemer has served as Reed’s professional home for more than 18 years. “This group is spectacular to work with,” he says. “I have every opportunity to be the kind of lawyer I want to be. We’re truly supportive of one another.” Because cases can often involve “bar exam-type” factual scenarios or raise issues of first impression, he especially enjoys the collegial, back-and-forth discussions with his colleagues.
Reed, raised in the Pasadena area, is immersed in the culture of the Los Angeles area, including the symphony, theater and jazz. He is a fan of all L.A. sports, but is a particularly proud L.A. Clippers fan. He has always loved living near the ocean and enjoys biking, walking, or just sitting in a beach chair. He and his wife also love to travel. He estimates they have visited at least 50 countries, and boasts he has put the most travel magnets on the office’s refrigerator.
2006 – 2019: Named a Southern California Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment
2012: BTI Client Service All-Star
Member, California, American, and Los Angeles County Bar Associations
Member, Board of Directors, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section, 2003
“Conducting An Effective Internal Investigation,” Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), Los Angeles, May 22, 2019
Contributing author to the initial edition of the CEB text, Advising California Employers
Frequent author for the Los Angeles Daily Journal
Multiple summary judgments obtained in discrimination and harassment litigation
Obtained attorney’s fee award after successful defense of national origin discrimination case
Appellate victory after three-month unfair competition/breach of fiduciary duty case after key employee defected to competitor
Representation at all phases of complex wage/hour class action litigation, including successful negotiation of settlements representing multiple millions of dollars in savings