Creative Representation | Expert Litigation

Areas of Labor & Employment Practice

Health Care Labor Law


Collective Bargaining

Employment Litigation

Labor and Employee Relations

Administrative Charges and Hearings

Employment Advice and Counseling

Outside General Counsel Services

Trade Secrets

BartkoZankel’s top-tier Northern and Southern California labor and employment practice group (“L&E Group”) is spearheaded by co-chairs Louise Ann Fernandez and An Nguyen Ruda whose clients include healthcare providers, technology companies, media companies, and small business owners. Ms. Fernandez, Ms. Ruda and their team, including Associates Elizabeth Ferguson and Ronnie Shou, both complement and bolster BartkoZankel’s complex litigation and real estate practices by providing additional vital services for corporate clients.

Labor Negotiation

At BartkoZankel, Ms. Fernandez and Ms. Ruda represent management in complex negotiations with labor. Ms. Ruda has served as the Chief Negotiator on many collective bargaining agreements for healthcare systems and media companies, while Ms. Fernandez—who started her legal career in the Advice Division of the National Labor Relations Board—has decades of labor experience. Their negotiating philosophy is respectful, leading to quick and fair negotiations that are sensitive to the ongoing relationship between management and labor.

The L&E Group have negotiated eight collective bargaining agreements in 75 days with six labor unions, as well as the negotiation of an initial labor contract for a major Southern California newspaper. The L&E Group also defeated an attempt to organize a client’s manufacturing unit—a decisive management victory.


The L&E Group knows when litigation offers clients the best business option—and how to win. They are seasoned trial lawyers in defense and on behalf of corporate clients, with a proven track record in employment and trade secret cases. The L&E Group compliments BartkoZankel’s industry-leading trade secret practice that resulted in the number one trade secret trial victory of 2018. Some of their successes include:

  • A 7-figure settlement and public apology on behalf of an entertainment executive wrongly accused of sexual harassment.
  • A defense victory in arbitration brought by the chief compliance officer of a financial services company.
  • Obtaining jurisdiction over Russian executives leading to resolution of a trade secret case and return of stock and IP from Luxembourg.
  • Defeating class certification and winning summary judgment in wage & hour class actions in the healthcare, multinational cosmetics, and tech industries.

The L&E Group prides itself on initial investigation strategies that create cost-efficient and favorable business-centric results for clients.

General Advice – Risk Avoidance

The L&E Group knows the importance of long-term client relationships—providing trusted advice on issues ranging from difficult personnel decisions to regulatory compliance. They have also counseled high-profile individuals in confidential matters like employment separations and allegations of workplace misconduct.

Investigation, Mediation and Arbitration

Due to her experience and reputation for fairness, Ms. Fernandez is often asked by firms and corporations to serve as an impartial investigator or mediator of complex disputes. She is also a volunteer mediator for the Central District of California.

Ms. Ruda is a shrewd management-side dealmaker, known for fashioning creative solutions that preserve labor/management relations.

The L&E Group share BartkoZankel’s philosophy that a huge team of lawyers is not needed for every case. Sophisticated clients hire lawyers—not law firms—and demand personalized efficient representation.

BartkoZankel is a California boutique law firm specializing in national and international complex litigation, investigations, and real estate transactions. BartkoZankel takes pride in advancing our clients’ business goals, which drives strategy and tactics in the important matters we handle. We are also an industry leader in partnering with clients on cost-effective alternative fee arrangements designed to align lawyer/client objectives through sharing of risk and reward.