Lawrence M. Pearson is a Partner at Wigdor LLP. Mr. Pearson is a leading labor and employment attorney with over 17 years of experience in the field. He has represented thousands of employees in legal matters and cases involving discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, whistleblowing, wrongful termination, breach of contract, wage and hour violations, entertainment law, civil rights law and class actions. Mr. Pearson concentrates his practice in litigation of discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation claims, as well as in severance negotiations and contract law, having successfully negotiated scores of seven- and six-figure severance agreements on behalf of senior-level executives in the financial services, legal, technology, real estate, media and entertainment, and other industries. He has litigated many cases concerning termination of employment, contracts and torts to resolution in both federal and state courts. Mr. Pearson has also conducted arbitrations through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and American Arbitration Association (AAA), among other forums. Mr. Pearson has represented clients from a wide array of fields including, but not limited to, financial services, law, technology, media and entertainment, publishing and journalism, medicine, hospitality, education, government, architecture, and many others.
In addition to counseling employees, Mr. Pearson also is a trusted advisor to businesses and has extensive experience advising employers on dispute resolution, workplace policies and compliance, internal investigations, leaves of absence and disability accommodation, restrictive covenants, recruiting and hiring practices, and many other issues. Mr. Pearson also develops and implements employment policies, employment handbooks and agreements, and partnership and independent contractor agreements. He also conducts training seminars for management and employees on employment law compliance and avoidance of discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Mr. Pearson has successfully defended numerous management‐side clients from various employment, contract and tort claims.
Mr. Pearson has handled numerous high‐profile cases that have garnered significant media attention and been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Law Journal, CNN, TIME, Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Magazine, New York Business Journal, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, and Law360, among others. He also has appeared as a commentator on legal matters on CNBC and his cases have been covered on CNN, WABC, WNBC, WPIX and TMZ.
Mr. Pearson currently represents the plaintiff in the widely publicized discriminatory termination and breach of contract lawsuit against novelist Nicholas Sparks. He also represents the plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination (including unequal pay) and whistleblower retaliation against Autonomous Research, a global financial research firm. While the vast majority of matters litigated by Mr. Pearson on behalf of plaintiffs have resulted in confidential settlements totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, Mr. Pearson’s recent notable public case outcomes include:
- $1.34 million default judgment on behalf of a former accounts payable manager and executive assistant in a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against New York’s so-called “Taxi King” and Taxi Club Management, Inc.;
- Won an arbitration award dismissing breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims brought by an employer who sought to claw back $2.5 million in compensation from a former executive employee;
- $400,000 jury verdict in favor of a former Director of Business Development / Warehouse Manager in a disability discrimination lawsuit against medical supply company Maxi-Aids, Inc. and its owner, Elliot Zaretsky;
- $580,000 settlement agreement on behalf of a class of current and former service employees in a lawsuit alleging wage and hour violations against popular New York City restaurant Ippudo Westside; and
- Successfully argued two appeals in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a former private wealth manager in connection with her Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation claims regarding her termination by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Experience and Types of Cases
Mr. Pearson has been involved in the litigation of many complex and high-profile matters involving discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, LGBTQ status, disability and national origin, as well as cases involving retaliation, sexual harassment, whistleblower complaints, wrongful termination, breach of contract, wage and hour violations, contract violations, defamation, torts, civil rights violations, and class actions.
Before joining the Firm, Mr. Pearson was an attorney at Jackson Lewis LLP, where he counseled and represented employers in labor and employment matters, as well as at Morgan Lewis LLP, where he was an associate in the Labor & Employment Practice Group.
Mr. Pearson’s recent representative cases include:
- Multiple settlement agreements in individual and class-action wage and hour lawsuits against prominent New York City restaurants and other companies;
- Successful representation of numerous doctors, surgeons and nurses in individual matters including disability discrimination, FMLA violations, whistleblower retaliation, and breach of contract claims;
- Successful representation of numerous attorneys in individual matters involving sexual harassment, pay discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and discrimination (including termination) based upon gender, pregnancy, LGBT status or disability;
- Successful representation of a senior-level employee in a whistleblower retaliation action against a global investment bank;
- Successful representation of a human resources director in a sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation matter against a global advertising company;
- Successful representation of a general manager in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against a well-known global restaurant brand;
- Successful representation of a senior-level female employee in a sexual harassment and retaliation matter against a large real estate firm;
- Successful representation of a financial analyst in a sexual harassment matter against an investment management firm;
- Successful representation of a senior-level executive in a gender/pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against an international investment bank;
- Successful representation of a high-level executive in connection with claims of discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and religion, and retaliation against a hedge fund;
- Successful representation of a wealth manager in a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against a large financial services firm;
- Successful representation of a hairstylist in a sexual harassment and retaliation matter against a well-known hair salon;
- Successful representation of a female journalist in a lawsuit alleging race, gender and national origin discrimination and retaliation against a well-known media company;
- Successful representation of plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging discrimination and breach of contract against a large wholesale clothing company;
- Successful representation of plaintiff in whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against international investment bank;
- Successful representation of a female manager in a pregnancy discrimination case against an international beverage company;
- Successful representation of a female security guard in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against a large security services firm;
- Successful representation of a senior-level employee in an age discrimination case against a global consulting firm;
- Successful representation of a senior-level employee in a wrongful termination lawsuit against a well-known electronics company;
- Successful resolution of a wage and hour class action lawsuit against a limousine company;
- Successful representation of a portfolio manager in an age and disability discrimination lawsuit against a large bank; and
- Successful representation of a female senior-level employee in a gender/pregnancy discrimination action against a large advertising company.
Mr. Pearson has been recognized by Best Lawyers, a widely regarded peer review service, as a leading attorney in the area of Labor and Employment Litigation. He has also been selected to the Super Lawyers list for five years in a row (2014-2018).
Mr. Pearson received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was Book Review Editor of the Journal of Labor and Employment Law and won a Public Service Award for his work with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from The George Washington University, where he also was a member of the Honors Program, minored in Philosophy and received a merit scholarship.
Admitted to Practice
Mr. Pearson is admitted to practice in the New York State courts, and in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.