Daniel Hutchinson, 34, partner
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
Hutchinson has participated in several high-profile class actions in the employment and civil rights arena, including last year's settlement of an employment discrimination suit on behalf of women and minority employees of Best Buy Co. Inc. that led to changes in the retailer's employment rules. He spent six years on the Best Buy case. His practice centers on actions combating unfair employment practices against foreign nationals and immigrants, workplace discrimination and abusive automated calls to consumers, and he's currently representing 13,000 Indian nationals working in the U.S. for Indian conglomerate Tata. Their lawsuit charges that the corporation required those employees to sign over their state and federal tax refund checks. After graduating from Brown University in 1999 with a degree in international relations, Hutchinson was a middle-school teacher in the Oakland school system for nearly three years before turning to the law.
Word that best describes you?
Most interesting place you've traveled?
After a semester abroad at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, I ventured off the Choco region expecting to spend a few days in a national park. An ex-paramilitary nicknamed Rambo convinced me I'd have more fun going off the beaten path with him as a personal guide. And I did.
Hours worked per week?
It varies, but I always work fewer hours and less hard than I did in my previous career as an Oakland middle-school teacher. Having been responsible for over 150 middle-schoolers each day, my current job is relatively easy and stress free.
Best advice you ever got?
A key mentor shared with me how, early in his career, he increased his effectiveness by picking up the phone to call opposing counsel when all other attorneys insisted upon communicating by letter only. I have been fortunate to work with attorneys who encourage me to take chances in seeking out the most effective solutions, rather than simply adhering to the same tactics in case after case.
Trial or deal you wish you could have worked on?
I would love to have worked on San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, where the plaintiffs brought an equal protection challenge to their state's school funding system. It would have been fascinating framing constitutional arguments based on wealth and class in the context of a triracial school district comprised of Latino, Caucasian and African-American students.