Nakabayashi, who started her new role on April 30, was previously a senior attorney in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ labor and employment practice, where she has represented employers in all stages of litigation. Johnson’s practice, meanwhile, has focused on employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Before joining Jackson Lewis last week she was an of counsel at Morrison & Foerster, where she spent nearly the past 15 years.
“I was really excited to join the San Francisco office because of all the recent growth and the expansion; the office also added so many great female partners recently, so it was really an exciting opportunity for me,” Nakabayashi said. Theresa Mak, Nakabayashi’s former colleague as a senior attorney at Morgan Lewis, left the latter for Jackson Lewis in January.
Nakabayashi joined Morgan Lewis’ Bay Area base in 2003 when the firm absorbed a large group of lawyers from now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Over the years, she has represented clients in the technology, retail, financial services and health care industries. She also briefly worked as an employment compliance attorney for SolarCity Corp. in 2015 before the solar energy company merged the following year with fellow Elon Musk-owned Tesla Motors Inc.
“Another part of my practice is doing counseling, and I focus particularly on Northern California compliance issues, so being at SolarCity was actually really helpful for me because I was able to understand exactly what the clients need in real time, and to understand how internally they prioritize their issues,” said Nakabayashi about her in-house experience.
Nakabayashi said she looks forward to helping Jackson Lewis grow its complex litigation group on the West Coast with her experience in employment litigation and compliance matters. Her enthusiasm is shared by Johnson, who has spent most of her 20-year legal career in Big Law.
Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster in 2003, Johnson briefly worked as an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and at Trucker Huss, a San Francisco-based employee benefits specialty firm.
“It was just a very great opportunity to build a West Coast compensation and benefits practice here at Jackson Lewis,” said Johnson about her move to the firm, which according to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data saw its gross revenue hit nearly $420.5 million in 2017.
Jackson Lewis has more than 30 lawyers in its employee benefits practice firmwide, and Johnson said she is the first partner that the firm has hired to help build out its practice on the West Coast. Last summer, Jackson Lewis hired D’Anne Gleicher from her own shop in the Bay Area to bolster its workplace investigations expertise, and last month the firm brought on labor and employment litigation partner Kathleen Hurly from Kaufman Dolowich Voluck. Hurly’s practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling.
In a statement, Jackson Lewis’ San Francisco managing partner Fraser McAlpine, who helped Hunton & Williams open its office in the city a decade ago before jumping to Jackson Lewis in late 2013, praised his firm’s two new hires.
“Shannon and Yana are exceptional attorneys who are well-known in the Bay Area for their extensive experience in complex cases, making them valuable additions to the San Francisco office,” McAlpine said. “We have recently added several attorneys to our bench and we are thrilled Jackson Lewis is their choice firm to expand and strengthen their practice. We could not be happier to welcome Shannon and Yana to the team.”
Jackson Lewis, which built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management, opened its San Francisco office nearly three decades ago. The firm said the office currently has 33 lawyers, 18 of whom are partners.