Apalla U. Chopra

Partner

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Apalla Chopra is Chair of O’Melveny’s Labor and Employment Practice, and a member of the Firm’s Executive and Policy Committees. She specializes in litigating complex multi-plaintiff and class action discrimination and wage and hour cases. Her experience is broad as she has represented clients in cases regarding employee allegations of invasion of privacy, wrongful discharge, and discrimination based on age, race, sex, national origin, physical handicap, and related matters. Apalla also has represented clients in traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act and Educational Employment Relations Act, and has experience negotiating collective bargaining agreements and executive employment contracts. Apalla is also among a handful of lawyers colleges and universities turn to for their most complex and high profile legal challenges, including Title IX and Clery Act investigations and follow-on litigation into their handling of sexual assault allegations.

Apalla’s industry experience is likewise broad, as she has represented companies in the biotechnology, manufacturing, utility, health, retail, hospitality, private and public schools, and entertainment sectors.

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Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© for her Labor and Employment work (2010-2018) and named the 2017 and 2018 Los Angeles Labor Law - Management "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Selected by Legal 500 as a Leading Lawyer in Labor and Employment Disputes - Defense; and Labor - Management Relations (2017)
  • Ranked by Legal 500 (2011-2015, 2017)
  • Ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2011-2017)
  • Selected to the National Law Journal’s “Trailblazers - Litigation” list (2016)
  • Selected by the Daily Journal as a Top Lawyer (2015-2016)
  • Selected by the Daily Journal as a Top Labor and Employment Lawyer (2010-2015, 2017)
  • Selected by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Most Influential Minority Lawyers” (2016)
  • Selected by Best Lawyers as Los Angeles’ Lawyer of the Year in “Employment Law - Management” (2016-2017)
  • Selected by HRE Executive and LawDragon to its “Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” list (2014-2017)
  • Selected by the Daily Journal as a Top Woman Lawyer (2012, 2013, 2016)
  • Selected by Los Angeles Magazine as a Top Woman Lawyer (2016)
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Labour, Employment & Benefits 2016 & Who’s Who Legal – Compendium Edition as being among the world’s leading Labor and Employment Lawyers (2016-2017)
  • Named to the Southern California Super Lawyers lists via surveys conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles magazine (2004-2018)
  • Recognized as “Women Worth Watching” by Diversity Journal (2011)
  • Recognized as a “Rainmaker” by Diversity & the Bar (2011)
  • Ranked by PLC’s Which Lawyer? (2011)
  • Selected as one of California’s leading lawyers in the area of Management Labor & Employment by Who’s Who Legal (2015)

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Court for the Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of California

Education

  • University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D., 1992: cum laude; Thurston Society; Senior Note Editor, Hastings Law Review
  • University of California at Irvine, B.A., Political Science and Economics, 1988: magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities

Member

  • Employers Group: Legal Committee (Chair, 2016)
  • American Employment Law Council (Advisory Committee, 2016)
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • American Employment Law Counsel
  • California Bar Association 
  • California Employment Law Counsel
  • Institute for Corporate Counsel, Board of Governors (President, 2008; Secretary, 2007)

Recent Speaking Engagements/Papers

  • "In Clery's Cross-Hairs: Real Life Problems and Solutions," NACUA CLE Workshop in Washington, DC. (November 2017)
  • “Managing Crises Created by Employees,” ABTL 44th Annual Seminar (October 2017)
  • Moderator, “Pay Equity” and “Labor & Employment Law in the Trump Era - A View From DC,” California Lawyer Employment Law Forum (July 2017)
  • “Precedents and Predictions: A Review of 2016's Significant Labor and Employment Law Developments and What to Expect in 2017,” O'Melveny's Employment Law Update (January 2017)
  • “Changing Standards for Determining 'Who is the Employee?,'” Edison Electric Institute - Fall Legal Conference (October 2016)
  • “Telling Your CSR Story on Social Media -  How To Not Get Yourself Sued,” ACCP Webinar (August 2016)
  • “Precedents and Predictions: A Review of 2015’s Significant Labor and Employment Law Developments and What to Expect in 2016,” O’Melveny’s Employment Law Update (February 2016)
  • “The Practical Implications of Recent Federal and California Arbitration Decisions for Employment and Consumer Litigation,” Judicate West’s Arbitrating in 2016 (January 2016)
  • “Current Issues in Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims and Internal Investigations,” CELC Annual Meeting (November 2015)
  • “Title IX & K-12 Schools,” UCLA Law Symposium (November 2015)
  • “Whistleblowing: Avoiding Million Dollar Judgments,” 5th Advanced Wage & Hour Conference and 32nd Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Meeting (July 2015)
  • “Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire: Legalized Marijuana and Its Direct Impact on Laws and Lawyers,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers (January 2015)
  • “Class Action Waivers and State Laws: What Happens After Concepcion,” ABA’s Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference (November 2014)
  • “Lessons Learned from Navigating Landmines of a Contingent Work Force,” American Employment Law Council Conference (October 2014)
  • “An In-House Perspective: Handling Labor and Employment Matters Effectively, Efficiently, and Imaginatively,” California Employment Law Council, Annual Meeting (November 2013)
  • “Overcoming Hurdles in Class Certification,” ABA (November 2013)
  • “7th Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference,” ABA (June 2013)
  • “Cutting Edge Class Action Defense Tactics,” California Employment Law Council Annual Meeting (November 2012)
  • “Emerging Issues in Pattern and Class Actions,” Practising Law Institute (September 2012)
  • “Company & Employee Use of Social Media: Using Social Media to Your Advantage While Maintaining Privacy and Protection,” ACI’s 12th National Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information Conference (July 2012)
  • “Company & Employee Usage of Social Media,” ACI’s 11th Annual Legal and Compliance Forum on Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information (February 2012)
  • “Precedents and Predictions: A Review of 2011's Significant Labor and Employment Law Developments and What to Expect in 2012,” O'Melveny Seminar (January 2012)
  • “Non-Exempt Employee Compensation: Traps For The Unwary,” Bloomberg Labor & Employment Reports (December 2011)
  • “Class Action Litigation and Arbitration After Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion,” California Employment Law Update 2011 (November 2011)
  • “California Employment Law Update 2011,” PLI (November 2011)
  • “13th National Wage & Hour Conference,” ACI September 2011)
  • “Strategic Issues Related to Employee Exemption Review,” Bloomberg Labor & Employment Reports (August 2011)
  • “Navigating the New Federal Regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” O'Melveny Seminar (June 2011)
  • “Inside the New FLSA Amendments,” Law360 (May 2011)
  • “Getting Choosy: How to find (and Be) the Right Neutral for the Job,” Los Angeles County Bar Association's 30th Annual Labor and Employment Law Symposium (March 2010)
  • “Regular Rate, Donning & Doffing and Audits: Missing the Basics Can Cost Dearly,” 38th Annual Institute on Employment Law, Practising Law Institute (October 2009)
  • “Strategically Managing Your Workforce—Adjusting to Changes on Wall Street and in Washington,” California Employment Law Council Conference (June 2009)
  • “Employment Law in a New Business Era,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, Corporate Law Roundtable (March 2009)
  • Four-part O'Melveny & Myers Labor and Employment Seminar (January and February 2009)
  • “Tips and Tactics for Responding to Threatened or Suspected Employee Theft of Trade Secrets,” O’Melveny Seminar (May 2009)
  • “Ethical Issues in Class Action and Other Settlement Negotiations,” LACBA’s 29th Annual Labor and Employment Law Symposium (March 2009)
  • Master of Ceremonies, Institute for Corporate Counsel (December 2008)
  • “Applicant Screening: Legal Issues and Practical Solutions to Vetting Applicants in the Brave New World of Google, Facebook, and You Tube,” American Employment Law Council Conference (October 2008)
  • “The Viability of Non-Compete Clauses Post Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP,” California Employment Law Council Conference (September 2008)
  • “How to Conduct Internal Investigations: Lessons Learned From Recent Corporate Scandals,” California Employment Law Council Conference (June 2007)
  • “Recent Developments in California and Federal Employment Law,” Los Angeles County Bar Association Symposium (March 2007)
Wage & Hour
  • Representing a major investment bank in a putative wage and hour class action alleging the bank failed to reimburse employees for necessary business expenditures
  • Represented Coldwell Banker in a class action challenging whether the company's sales agents (or brokers) should be classified as independent contractors (as they are) or as employees.  By working with the company to issue new independent contractor agreements, significantly reduced the potential class and negotiated a favorable settlement agreement
  • Represented ConAm Management in two putative wage and hour class action complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging failure to pay minimum wage and overtime wages.  Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement 
  • Represented DeVry Inc. in a number of cases, including a class action alleging class room facilitators were improperly classified as independent contractors. Secured dismissal of class action through negotiation and settled Plaintiff's individual claim on favorable terms
  • Neutralized a wage and hour class action on behalf of DIRECTV when a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court granted DIRECTV's motion to compel arbitration. This was a significant win for our client, allowing DIRECTV to arbitrate with the plaintiff on an individual basis and not face a class action lawsuit in court
  • Represented DIRECTV as lead defense counsel in 10 mass actions alleging independent contractor misclassification.  Successfully avoided multi-district litigation and secured dismissal of all claims
  • Represented Home Office Box (HBO) in a PAGA action where the plaintiff alleged violations of California wage-and-hour laws.  Successfully dismissed the representative action and favorably settled the individual claims

Discrimination

  • Representing a multinational technology company in a pay equity class action alleging that the company discriminated against women employees in terms of pay and promotions 
  • Representing a major movie studio in an investigation brought by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) alleging that it discriminates against women in the hiring of directors
  • Represented a major Hollywood motion picture and television studio in a class action race discrimination lawsuit brought by an African American director; successfully moved to dismiss lawsuit
  • Represented a major Hollywood studio and network in a class action age discrimination claim brought by television writers; successfully moved to dismiss lawsuit multiple times
  • Represented a public school district in successfully resolving a discrimination complaint filed against the District by a parent under Title VI. The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), found no violation. Assisted the District in complying with OCR's training and informational requirements. Provide the District with day-to-day labor and employment counseling on various matters
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