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When lawyers and judges were asked to name top employment attorneys, the name Lindbergh Porter Jr. came up several times. Typically, the next word was “gentleman.” Like Wilson Sonsini’s Fred Alvarez, Porter is considered both a top-notch attorney and a class act. “Both of them raise the bar on how a lawyer should act,” says an in-house attorney at a Fortune 500 company. “He’s a first-class guy and a first-class lawyer,” says a mediator who knows Porter’s work. Porter came to the employment law field by chance. While attending University of San Francisco School of Law he was mistakenly signed up for a clerkship interview at Littler Mendelson. It turned out he loved the firm. “It was really happenstance,” he says. “I got a job offer and then took employment law courses.” After nearly 20 years at Littler he joined Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory in 1999 to launch the firm’s San Francisco employment practice. It now numbers six attorneys. “I try to approach things recognizing that there will be a resolution, and hope that everyone’s reputation will be left intact, not left in shambles,” Porter says. Although he personally enjoys being in the courtroom, “it’s not the height of my aspiration to use a court for resolving things.” “I prefer a good negotiated resolution whenever I can get that.” Recently, Porter took an extended leave of absence to donate a kidney as part of a “paired exchange” — a procedure that expedited a kidney transplant to his wife, who had been on a waiting list for several years. He said he was gratified that “my clients were willing to wait for me for a couple of months.”

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