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Paul W. Cane Jr.

Partner, Employment Law Department
T 1(415) 856-7014
F 1(415) 856-7114
Paul Cane is a partner in the Employment Law practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. Cane represents management in employment matters. His principal focus is major motions and appeals.


  • Argued and won a unanimous decision in the California Supreme Court for Forever 21 (Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc. (2016).) The Court enforced the company’s pre-dispute arbitration agreement and overruled several prior court of appeal cases that lower courts had used to invalidate such agreements.
  • Argued and won a unanimous decision in the U.S. Supreme Court for Sprint Nextel (Sprint/United Management Co. v. Mendelsohn (2008).) The Supreme Court then reversed a Tenth Circuit decision that had held that trial courts must admit so-called “me, too” evidence: witnesses who would testify that they believe that they, too, were discriminated against by the defendant, but who lack a close factual nexus to the plaintiff and plaintiff’s decisionmaker. (This case was Mr. Cane’s second U.S. Supreme Court victory. The Supreme Court earlier granted review, and then ruled in favor of his client, in a disability-discrimination case, Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez (2003).) In Sprint, on remand from the Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit in 2010 unanimously reinstated a jury verdict in Sprint’s favor.
  • Won a new trial for Lucasfilm in a pregnancy discrimination case, and in the process established the rule that defendants are entitled to a special instruction admonishing the jury not to second-guess the employer’s business judgment.  (Veronese v. Lucasfilm Ltd. (2012).)
  • Persuaded the California Court of Appeal to overturn a $12.9 million verdict initially awarded against a Sun Microsystems subsidiary, in a case tried by another firm. The plaintiff, a commissioned technology salesman, claimed he was owed back wages and had been wrongfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about the issue. The appellate court granted judgment as a matter of law to the defendant, and the plaintiff paid $110,000 in fees and costs to the defendant. (Marx v. Storage Technology Corp. (2006)).
  • Achieved a post-trial verdict reduction, from $18.4 million to $2.4 million, for Safeway, in another case tried by another firm. Plaintiff was a grocery clerk who claimed harassment and retaliation. (Stevens v. Safeway, Inc. (2007)).
  • Argued and/or briefed many well-known precedents in the California state courts (including the California Supreme Court) and federal courts of appeals around the country, including Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc., Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Harris v. City of Santa Monica, Chavez v. City of Los Angeles, Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., Rochlis v. Walt Disney Co., Foley v. Interactive Data Corp., Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc., Cotran v. Rollins Hudig Hall International, Inc., Richards v. CH2M Hill, Inc., Department of Health Services v. Superior Court, Green v. State of California, King v. United Parcel Service, Inc.Dotson v. Amgen Inc., and Rhea v. General Atomics.

Accolades and Recognitions

  • Honored as “California Lawyer of the Year” for Labor and Employment (California Lawyer magazine, March 2014)
  • Recognized as “an exceptional thinker and superior communicator” and “bright and pragmatic” by Chambers USA, which named Paul Hastings as its sole top-tier employment firm in California
  • Holds a place on the list of lawyers featured in the “Labour & Employment” chapter of The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 years

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Co-author of An Employer’s Guide to the Americans With Disabilities Act
  • Editor-in-Chief of Lindemann & Grossman’s Employment Discrimination Law (3d ed.), the American Bar Association’s treatise
  • Articles include “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: How The Peter Principle Warps Statistical Analysis of Age Discrimination Claims” (The Labor Lawyer); “Mixed-Motive Cases After Costa: Why The Judicial Council Jury Instruction Is Flat Wrong” (Matthew Bender); and “Decades of State Law Got It Wrong” (Daily Journal)
  • Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review, 1978-79

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Co-chair of the Paul Hastings Appellate practice group
  • Served as law clerk to Hon. Carl McGowan, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Hon. Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers


  • Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, 1979
  • Dartmouth College, summa cum laude, 1976