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Paul Hastings Scoops Up Ropes & Gray Employment Leader (1)

May 5, 2020, 4:06 PMUpdated: May 5, 2020, 5:47 PM

Jeffrey Webb, former national head of Ropes & Gray’s labor and employment practice group, has decamped to Paul Hastings in Los Angeles, deepening the firm’s bench as Big Law addresses increased employment questions from clients prompted by coronavirus.

Webb’s practice is focused on class actions, collective actions, and representative actions involving wage and hour, discrimination, ERISA, and WARN Act claims. He also represents companies in trade secret claims and disputes with highly compensated executives.

“The current global pandemic has reinforced the importance of employment law advice for our clients around the world,” Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary said in a statement. “Now more than ever, our clients are coming to us for advice on navigating workforce challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and we expect that to continue even as the crisis abates.”

Webb has been living in Los Angeles for more than two years, commuting to the Ropes & Gray offices in San Francisco and Boston. He said he was looking for a firm with an office closer to home.

“I was talking to a handful of elite firms, and Paul Hastings really stood out for its premier, top tier employment practice,” Webb said. “And the firm is financially strong, has been on an upward trajectory, and has a track record of investing in laterals.”

Webb said much of his practice, like his work involving disputes with highly compensated individuals, is unlikely to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are many areas where clients have already come to him seeking new advice.

“There’s been a lot of interest in getting employment advice on things like layoffs and terminations, but also a thirst for keeping up with day to day changes from the government on various legislation and orders that have come down,” he said.

Webb also expects a “surge” in Covid-related litigation, including discrimination, privacy, and trade secret claims.

Before joining Ropes & Gray in 2013, Webb led the Fair Labor Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. During that time, he led prosecutors and civil enforcement attorneys in holding companies compliant with employment laws.

He’s a veteran of several large law firms, including McDermott Will & Emery and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He also served as vice president of legal affairs for Fox Entertainment Group, where he led a team of in-house lawyers who litigated employment cases filed against the company’s film, television, and sports subsidiaries.

“We wish Jeff well in his new role,” a spokesman for Ropes & Gray said via email.

(Added information and quotes from Webb's interview in paragraphs four through eight. Deleted previous paragraphs 11 and 12, which contained written statements from Webb.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com