About

A Fresh, New Voice

David Simpson has been resolving employment disputes since 1982, initially through advice and litigation, more recently as a mediator.

A graduate of UCLA (B.A. economics, phi beta kappa, summa cum laude ) and UCLA School of Law, David co-founded a labor and employment law firm in 1990 after four years at a downtown firm and four more at a labor law boutique.  Representing employers and employees, corporations and individuals, plaintiffs and defendants, David has litigated hundreds of cases, personally conducted 25+ trials, and handled numerous appeals in the state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court.  He’s recognized by colleagues, opponents and the bench for his wide-ranging employment law expertise in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage/hour, employee benefits, etc.

David’s 140+ hours of mediation training includes: Pepperdine’s Mediating the Litigated Case, Advanced Mediation Skills, Mediation Bootcamp; UCLA Extension’s Advanced Mediation Skills; Court of Appeal’s Fundamentals of Appellate Mediation, Advanced Mediation, various USDC programs and others.

David still sits on the USDC’s attorney settlement officer panel, where he has volunteered for nearly a decade.  Until they were taken in-house, he also conducted mediations for the Department of Fair Employment & Housing.  David is a member of the So. Calif. Mediation Association and several bar, human resources, and other associations.

David also is an Adjunct Professor at the Glendale University College of Law, teaching trial practice, pre-trial strategy and employment law, and he speaks and writes on employment law, civil practice, mediation and negotiation topics.  One of his Daily Journal articles, for example, borrowed from behavioral psychology to offer unique insights into why clients sometimes reject admittedly “reasonable” proposals, and what mediation counsel can do to in response.

Read, “In Mediation, ‘Yes’ Always Also Means ‘No’,” and more of David’s articles on his blog/articles page.

David's Mediation Approach

Experience, Expertise and Perspectives

David draws on a unique range of perspectives, personal experience, and expertise.  After 30+ years as a trial lawyer, he gets it.  He knows employment law.  He knows litigation.  And in his practice, he not only represented both sides, he’s lived the elation of the big jury verdict, the despair of calamitous defeat, and the vagaries of judicial inconsistence.  He’s taught law school, so he knows how to explain complex ideas to clients in understandable terms.  And he’s played in the World Series of Poker, so he understands the gamesmanship behind high stakes negotiations.

Flexibility

David does not believe in one-size-fits-all.  His approach varies with the issues, players and priorities of each particular case.  He is as comfortable challenging parties on their arguments or assumptions as he is frankly addressing and dealing with difficult underlying emotions.  His first pre-mediation question to counsel is always the same: “What role would you like me to play to best help you in mediation?”

Preparation

David’s fanatical about preparation. Not yours. His. He remembers how maddening it’d be to prepare a detailed mediation brief in anticipation of a hard-hitting evaluation, only to have the mediator ask: “So, what’s this case about?” Consequently, David reads and studies everything, sometimes conducting his own research, all so he can hit the ground running and engage with as much legal and factual detail as counsel may desire. David also conducts extensive pre-mediation calls and emails with counsel. If you mediate with David, expect the process to start well before you ever step into the mediation session itself.

Emotional Engagement

David’s known as a mediator with the patience and empathy to listen to and handle emotional parties, and the calm diplomacy to manage difficult counsel.  He also understands that intense emotions are not just about plaintiffs.  And he knows that if left unaddressed, egos and emotions can hijack the whole settlement process by swallowing all reason and common sense on both sides.

Persistence, Persistence, Persistence

David embraces today’s reality that many mediations “tee up” a settlement that can occur afterwards, provided there’s sufficient follow-up.  For his post-mediation efforts, David’s been called “just short of irritatingly persistent.”  He understands the delicate balance between striking while the iron’s hot and allowing the consequences of potential non-settlement to sink in, and continues to work with counsel through phone calls, emails and in-person meetings so long as a possibility of brokering a deal remains.