Image: Nancy L. Abell

Nancy L. Abell

Partner, Employment Law Department


Nancy Abell is a partner in the Employment Law Department of Paul Hastings. She previously served as the global chair of the firm's Employment Law Department. Resident in the firm’s Los Angeles office, Ms. Abell is a trial lawyer who works exclusively in the representation of private and public employers in all aspects of employment law and litigation, including discrimination, fair pay and wage and hour class actions; trials of statutory and common law claims; Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs systemic cases and affirmative action compliance reviews; unfair labor practice charges and other proceedings before the NLRB; organizing campaigns; labor negotiations; arbitrations; systemic charges and complaints before the EEOC, state anti-discrimination agencies, the Department of Labor and state wage and hour compliance agencies; and disability access cases under Title III and state laws.

Her clients include major technology companies, defense contractors, manufacturing companies, law and other professional firms, entertainment companies, financial institutions, and retailers. She has successfully defeated numerous high-profile discrimination and wage-hour class actions, represented numerous leading national law firms in partner and glass ceiling cases and defended members of the judiciary.


  • The Legal 500, Hall of Fame for Labor & Employment Disputes (Including Collective Actions): Defense (2021)
  • The Legal 500, Hall of Fame for Labor & Employment - Workplace and Employment Counseling (2021)
  • The Lawdragon Hall of Fame
  • Long recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Labor and Employment Disputes and one of America’s top Workplace and Employment Counseling attorneys by The Legal 500 US
  • Consistently recognized as one of the top employment defense lawyers in California by Chambers USA
  • One of 50 lawyers recognized on The National Law Journal’s inaugural "Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers" list of professionals who have changed the practice of litigation through the use of innovative legal strategies
  • Named as one of the decade’s 40 most influential lawyers (one of three employment lawyers) by The National Law Journal
  • Recipient of the Learned Hand Award for professional achievement and contributions to the community and human rights
  • Named in The Best Lawyers in America for more than 35 years and for many years by Lawdragon as one of America’s 500 leading lawyers
  • Named in Who’s Who Legal: Labour Employment & Benefits 2022


  • UCLA School of Law, (Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers), 1979
  • Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges, 1972

Engagement & Publications

  • Author of "An Employer’s Guide for Preparing Affirmative Action Programs"
  • Author of the Federal Contractor Affirmative Action Compliance chapter of Employment Discrimination Law
  • Lectures extensively on a variety of employment matters for a wide range of professional associations
  • Writes for several legal and personnel publications
  • Regularly presents training sessions for justices and judges, including the Council of Chief Judges, representatives of the United States Courts and the Justices of the California Supreme Court, California Courts of Appeals, and the Connecticut and Washington judiciaries on employment issues
  • Co-author of An Employer’s Guide to the Americans with Disabilities Act (1991)


  • Co-Founder and Co-Chair of UCLA Law Women LEAD
  • Member and past chair, Board of Governors of the Institute for Corporate Counsel
  • Board of Advisors Member, UCLA School of Law
  • Board of Advisors Member, National Employment Law Institute and American Employment Law Council
  • Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Practice Areas


Employment Litigation

Appellate Litigation

Workplace Retaliation and Whistleblower Defense


Employment Counseling and Preventive Advice

Employment Law




California Bar


UCLA School of Law, J.D. 1979

Pitzer College, B.A. 1972

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