Adam Sugarman is Managing Partner of the firm’s San Francisco and Oakland offices. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
Mr. Sugarman has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star® in Employment Litigation for eight straight years (2010 – 2017). In 2013, The Recorder named him to its list of "Lawyers on the Fast Track," which includes 50 California attorneys likely to be tomorrow's top lawyers and leaders.
Mr. Sugarman represents large corporations, non-profits, and small businesses alike, focusing his practice on:
Wage and hour disputes
Strategic personnel decisions
General liability litigation
In addition to his employment, commercial litigation, and general liability practices, Mr. Sugarman acts as outside general counsel for a number of companies, advising Boards of Directors, executives and management on legal and business matters, including general risk management, mergers, acquisitions, venture capital, private equity funding, intellectual property issues, and a broad spectrum of other corporate transactions. He also serves as outside general counsel to property management firms, condominium associations, and building co-operatives.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Sugarman clerked for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League in the organization's front office. While in Detroit, Mr. Sugarman assisted with both legal and football operations, participating in several player contract negotiations and administering the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Mr. Sugarman also counseled The Detroit Lions, Inc. and subsidiary Ford Field LLC on a variety of employment and intellectual property matters.
While earning his B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Sugarman played both quarterback and defensive back on the Golden Bears' football team (1997-2001). Mr. Sugarman played in 25 straight games for the Golden Bears, earning three varsity football letters. In 2001, he was elected Team Co-Captain and won the Dink Artal and Cort Majors Awards.
Litigation & Counseling Experience
Mr. Sugarman regularly handles matters in state and federal courts, private arbitration, before the National Labor Relations Board, the California Labor Commissioner, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He has defended a variety of class action lawsuits, including claims of wage and hour violations, and unfair business practices. Mr. Sugarman has specific experience advising start-up companies and newly acquired businesses with initial human resources challenges. This includes crafting employment policies designed to maximize productivity, attract and retain talent, and lay the groundwork for innovation and growth. Mr. Sugarman’s corporate clients include companies in the grocery, retail, social media, medical, manufacturing, private equity, hospitality, construction, real estate, technology, auto, security, communications, and entertainment industries, among others.
Mr. Sugarman also has a growing sports law practice. In 2014, he represented a high-profile college football coach accused of making improper cash payments as part of the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete, a serious alleged violation of NCAA rules. The allegations were published by nearly every major sports media outlet in the country. In response to the allegations, the coach’s employer, a Pacific-12 Conference member institution, threatened to terminate his employment “for cause,” thereby voiding the final year of a lucrative contract. In addition to the employer’s actions, the NCAA launched its own investigation into the matter, placing the coach’s career in serious jeopardy. Over the next six weeks, Mr. Sugarman successfully defended the coach, resulting in an expedited finding from the NCAA that no rules were violated. Mr. Sugarman simultaneously negotiated a highly favorable separation package with the coach’s employer, including a substantial contract buyout and a release from previous non-competition restrictions. The coach was then hired by a Southeastern Conference member institution and one of the top college football programs in the country.
United States District Courts, California
State Bar of California, Employment Law Section