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While Lynne Hermle and Fred Alvarez get mentioned frequently as individuals, the San Francisco employment department of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker seems to impress as a team. “The Paul, Hastings firm has the best overall grasp of it all,” says one plaintiffs employment specialist. “They get the big cases. They litigate when they have to. They settle when they have to.” “That firm is very good,” says a judge who has seen plenty of Paul, Hastings’ employment work. When the people interviewed for this story were pressed for individual names, three came up most often: M. Kirby Wilcox, managing partner of the firm’s S.F. office; Paul Cane, an appellate specialist; and Jeffrey Wohl, who joined Paul, Hastings from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe a year ago. Wilcox confirms the firm’s team approach and also credits veteran labor partner Robert Kristoff. “There’s almost a studied attempt not be solo,” he says. “We often say to the client, if the question is sticky, �I’m going to run that by Jeff or by Paul.’ We want the client to have the benefit of a collaborative analysis.” Wilcox is known as one of the leading defense experts on wage-and-hour class actions. Cane is a big part of what the firm calls its “disaster relief” team — in 2000 he and Paul Hastings were brought in after trial and got a $130 million discrimination verdict reduced to about $27 million. Wohl is described as a consummate professional whom plaintiffs attorneys enjoy opposing. “He’s someone I can call and say, �Let’s get together and talk about this before we go to a mediator,’” said one.

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