James Y. Wu, Attorney, California Labor & Employment Chair


For over 24 years, James Wu has been an invaluable resource to companies regarding their employment law and human resources needs. Central to his practice is James' focus and dedication to every client's unique circumstances, becoming a trusted advisor and partner. For many clients, he serves as an "in-house counsel working remotely."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, James has advised employers on the full range of issues impacting their employees and business operations. He has provided counsel regarding remote workforce policies, procedures and training; employee safety; reductions in force, furloughs, layoffs; family and medical leave due to coronavirus or childcare interruptions; ADA accommodations; return to work issues, including temperature testing, wage and hour issues, social distancing in the workplace, and preventing discrimination and harassment related to COVID-19; among many others challenges. 

Throughout his career, James has built strong and sustained client relationships by providing strategic, thoughtful and straightforward legal advice and counsel on a myriad of issues employers face, including wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, defamation, leaves of absence, alternative dispute resolution, class actions, RIFs and breach of contract.

James works with clients of all sizes and in diverse industries. He helps develop strategies to avoid time-consuming, costly and stressful litigation and to minimize employment-related exposure through compliance counseling for the complexities of federal, state and local employment laws. When litigation is required, James has a strong record of vigorously representing clients in all levels of state and federal courts in California. He also has a proven ability to handle claims in federal and state administrative agencies including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor (DOL), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and the California Labor Commissioner's office, including the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). James has defended single-plaintiff claims, as well as large class and/or collective actions and claims brought under California's Private Attorneys General Act.

James has significant experience conducting both internal investigations as well as investigations prompted by a government agency regarding allegations of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation based on protected characteristics, and wage and hour allegations.

Through comprehensive, customized, on-site training in areas of employment law, James helps employers comply with California law and prevent claims. Training sessions include wage and hour practices, social media in the workplace, as well as the required interactive sexual harassment prevention training for employers with 5 or more employees.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Boston College (J.D., 1996)
  • Stanford University (M.A., 1993)
    • Higher Education Administration
  • Stanford University (B.A., 1992)
    • Political Science

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Colorado (inactive)
  • Illinois (inactive)

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) - President, Board of Directors (2018, 2019); Board of Directors Member (2012 - present)
  • Northern California Employment Roundtable (NCERT) of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) - Board of Directors Member; Former President, Board of Directors
  • California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) - Member
  • National Employment Law Council (NELC) - Member
  • California State University - East Bay - Former Asst. Professor in Paralegal Program
  • Walnut Creek Little League - Board of Directors Member and Former President

Professional Recognition

  • Northern California Super Lawyers®: Labor & Employment, 2019-2021