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Quarles Joins Forces With Paul, Plevin, Expands Into California

News Release

San Diego – The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP announced today its combination with Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, a premier management-side labor and employment law firm in California, effective January 1, 2023.

The expansion establishes Quarles’ presence in California – bringing its national footprint to more than 500 attorneys across 11 U.S. offices – and further strengthens its Labor & Employment Practice Group. Likewise, Paul, Plevin’s team of 30 San Diego-based attorneys gain a national platform that provides a broad array of resources and services for its clients and attorneys.

The two firms share a strong cultural alignment, along with in-depth experience in key industry sectors, including life sciences, technology, research institutions, health care and higher education. The opening of a San Diego office also builds on Quarles’ deep-rooted history and significant presence in Phoenix and Tucson – bolstering its platform at a time when business connectivity and opportunities between Arizona and California continue to rise.

“We have had a California strategy in play for a long time – driven by the interests of our clients and attorneys, as well as the significant business potential in the region – but we only wanted to enter the market with a best-in-class partner,” said Michael Aldana, firm managing partner and chair of the executive committee at Quarles. “We found that in Paul, Plevin, a firm with a signature practice area, a strong and cohesive institutional history, and an iconic California brand. Just as important to us, however, are the relationships we’ve formed along the way, which have reinforced our shared values and cultures that guide how we serve our clients, colleagues and communities.”

Paul, Plevin was formed in San Diego in 1998 by its four founding partners – Richard Paul, Fred Plevin, Michael Sullivan and Joe Connaughton – and has since developed a deep bench of leading labor and employment attorneys. The firm’s lawyers advise and defend employers in a range of matters, including those involving discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour compliance, employee mobility, whistleblowing and retaliation, and unfair competition and trade secrets. The team also brings a successful track record litigating and resolving disputes – having represented clients in jury trials, appeals, class actions, arbitrations and agency proceedings – and regularly counsels on labor management relations, conducts employment-related audits and provides workplace training.

“In our firm’s nearly 25 years, we have grown strategically while maintaining our collaborative culture and high standards of excellence,” said Connaughton. “The Quarles culture is grounded in the same traits that have been essential to our success. The opportunity to combine with a firm that shares our commitment to delivering superior services to clients at a great value, as well as investing in the growth of its talent, was too good to pass up. With a 130-year history of providing extraordinary legal representation and a national network of smart legal minds, we are excited about the many opportunities the Quarles platform brings to our clients and our people.”

Attorneys from Paul, Plevin will play a critical role in the combined firm’s leadership. Sandy McDonough – who is currently Paul, Plevin’s managing partner – will co-chair the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, along with Sean Scullen, who is currently national chair of the Quarles Labor & Employment Practice Group. Connaughton will serve on the firm’s governing executive committee and Plevin will be office managing partner in San Diego. The combined firm’s Labor & Employment team will now boast more than 70 highly skilled attorneys across the country. In California, the combined firm will operate under the name Paul Plevin Quarles through 2024.

“In joining forces with Quarles’ exceptional Labor & Employment group and multi-practice team, we’ve created a sophisticated offering for delivering both premium services for high stakes matters like national class actions and trusted day-to-day advice on workplace issues,” said McDonough. “This is especially important now, given that the volume, urgency and complexity of this legal work has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic. I couldn’t be more excited to enter this next phase in our firm’s journey.”

“We’re thrilled to start working with our new colleagues and bring together our respective resources and approaches to benefit our clients and team members,” said Brad Vynalek, firm president at Quarles. “This combination further differentiates and empowers both our firms in the marketplace, and we look forward to laying the foundation for continued growth in California and further building on Paul, Plevin’s success across the state.”

This announcement comes on the heels of last week’s unveiling of Quarles’ new brand, logo and state-of-the-art website.

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