- J.D., University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK, 2001, LLB honors
- United States District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of California
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Mr. Paul Cowie is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the Silicon Valley office and serves as the Leader of the firm’s Transportation Team. Paul focuses on defense work for a variety of industries, including retail, technology, manufacturing, and transportation related to a wide range of employment disputes, including discrimination and harassment, independent contractors and the sharing economy, wrongful termination and whistleblower complaints, as well as trade secret litigation. He is also a leader in Gamification to engage employees in the workplace. Paul also has a special interest in cyber-security, data privacy, social media and BYOD and is a member of the firm’s multi-practice group industry teams.
Paul also manages a wide range of class actions, related to all forms of wage & hour disputes, as well as they relate to independent contractors. He counsels clients on all aspects of employment, including compliance, workplace investigations, workplace violence, protecting intellectual property, and founder disputes. In addition, Paul has significant experience supporting M&A transactions and has worked closely with clients in structuring deals to minimize employment-related risks and to maximize the value of the transaction from an employment perspective.
Before practicing in the US, Paul practiced in the UK for approximately five years, representing and advising employers at all stages of employment litigation, including as lead counsel in UK Employment Tribunals. Paul has drafted hundreds of employment contracts and settlement agreements, negotiated warranties and indemnities in corporate transactions and is very familiar with the challenges faced by companies expanding into in the US.
Paul is a trial-ready litigator who knows how to resolve all forms of employment-related disputes efficiently and effectively.
- Top 40 Under 40, Daily Journal, 2018
- Northern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2013-2018
- Most recently, defeated class certification multiple times in 2017.
- Currently handling over twenty class actions involving claims for all variety of alleged wage and hour violations, including misclassification, meal and rest breaks, minimum wage, bag checks, expense reimbursement, uniforms, joint employment, piece rate, and PAGA. Paul also has several active single Plaintiff cases involving alleged discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.
- 2017: Defeated class certification for client Swift Transportation for wage and hour class action, convincing court to overturn 24-page tentative ruling issued at the hearing.
- 2017: Compelled individual arbitration of 24,000 person putative class in expansive wage and hour class action for client Smart & Final Stores.
- 2017: Defeated certification in wage and hour class action for client Swift Transportation alleging rest break violations, convincing court to overturn 36-page tentative ruling issued at the hearing.
- 2017: Defeated class certification despite facially unlawful policy for client Granite Rock.
- 2016: Defeated class certification in a 20,000 plus putative class member wage and hour (multiple causes of action) class action with exposure into the billions of dollars for client Swift Transportation.
- 2016: Defeated class certification of wage statement class for client Save Mart Supermarkets.
- 2015: Dismissal with prejudice without any payment for client Brookdale Senior Living with respect to a former employee’s age discrimination and wrongful termination suit.
- 2015: Dismissal for client Cox Communications without paying a cent on Plaintiff’s six causes of action including for Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy and Negligent Investigation.
- 2015: Represented Benchmark Electronics in defeating Plaintiff former employee’s claims for wrongful termination and retaliation under Labor Code section 1102.5 without paying a penny.
- Don’t Let Trade Secrets Walk Out the Door with Departing EmployeesDaily Journal, April 11, 2018
- Employment Law Daily, October 30, 2015
- "Arbitration Agreements and the Use of Electronic Signatures," Employment Law Strategist, Vol. 23 No. 2, June 2015
- "Litigating Trade Secret Claims," Employment Law Strategist, Vol. 22 No. 2, June 2014
- "Social Media: Protecting Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information," American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Vol. 12 No. 2, Winter 2014
- Featured in "Employee engagement programs come with warnings of liability," Daily Journal, January 6, 2014
- "Employment Litigation in the Age of Social Media," The Recorder, November 4, 2013
- "Gamification in the workplace and its impact on employee privacy," Westlaw Journal Employment, October 23, 2013
- "Survey of California Employment Privacy Law," MLRC Employment Survey, 2014
- "The Phenomena of Gamification - The Next Big Thing for Employers?" Bender's California Labor & Employment Bulletin, August 2013
- "Personal Tech Pitfalls at Work," California Lawyer, June 2013
- "Who Owns Your Online Persona?" The Recorder, March 22, 2013
- "Recordkeeping in Human Resources - Electronic Storage and the Use of Electronic Signatures," Bloomberg BNA, February 11, 2013
- "World Courier Settlement Is Reminder To All Employers To Be Vigilant," California Delivery Association, Autumn 2012
- "Paying A Price For Misclassifying Workers In Calif.," Law360, September 22, 2011
Labor & Employment Law Blog Posts
- "#MeToo Changes the Face of Sexual Harassment Litigation for Employers," November 19, 2018
- "Part Time Workers Must Be Offered Additional Hours: San Jose’s Opportunity to Work Ordinance (Effective March 2017)," December 8, 2016
- "Cyberattacks a mounting challenge for employers," April 9, 2013
- "California Legislature Passes "Worker Misclassification" Bill Creating Civil Penalties For Willful Misclassification Of Independent Contractors," September 15, 2011
Video Game Law Blog Posts
- "'Unlimited' Time Off Policies – Fad or Fun?" March 17, 2015
- Employment Law Update, Silicon Valley Chapter of Association of Legal Administrators, 2017
- Employment Law Update, Silicon Valley Chapter of Association of Legal Administrators, 2016
- Gamification – Benefits, Pitfalls and Legal Considerations, FX Conferences, 2015
- Structuring Independent Contractor Agreements to Avoid Costly Misclassification Liability, Strafford Webinar, 2014
- Blackbox Connect U.S. Employment Law for Start Ups, Palo Alto, 2014
- LebNet, Palo Alto, 2014
- PASCO HR, Santa Rosa, 2013
- Innovation Presentation Panel, Palo Alto, 2013
- CDA Lunch and Learn, Silicon Valley, 2012
- Doing Business in Europe, Los Angeles, 2011
- Class Actions in the Financial Industry, San Francisco, 2010
- Restrictive Covenants in the UK, Washington D.C., 2009
- Sheppard Mullin Chicago, November 28, 2018
- Sheppard Mullin San Francisco, May 23, 2018
- Spring 2017 Seminar SeriesMay 16, 2017
- Fall 2016 Seminar SeriesOctober 25, 2016
- Spring 2016 Seminar SeriesApril 19, 2016
- Fall 2015 Seminar SeriesOctober 7, 2015
- Spring 2015 Seminar SeriesJune 3, 2015
- January 27, 2015
- Fall 2014 Seminar Series - Palo AltoOctober 8, 2014
- Third Thursday Emerging Company Webinar Seriesvia WebEx, June 19, 2014
- June 13, 2014
- Spring 2014 Seminar SeriesApril 16, 2014
- SVForum Marketing SIGApril 14, 2014
- Sheppard Mullin, November 2013
- Sheppard Mullin Palo AltoOctober 24, 2013
- Hosted by Sheppard Mullin & Payroll Resource GroupMay 7, 2013
- Hosted by Sheppard Mullin & Payroll Resource GroupApril 25, 2013
- Sheppard Mullin Palo Alto Office, October 16, 2012
- Hyatt Regency San Francisco, March 15, 2011
- State Bar of California
- UK Licensed Solicitor