On an epic trip to Scotland with a group of close friends a few years back, Bill Cole was set to tee off at the temple of golf, the legendary St. Andrews. Taking in the smell of ocean air and freshly cut grass and looking around him at the historic surroundings, Bill thought back at how lucky he was that his then 13-year old son had urged him to try golf during a vacation in Hawaii, only a short eight years prior. He was immediately bitten by the golf bug and this round at the famed “Old Course” was a celebration of what had become and continues to be his second avocation.
Though he did not start playing until he was almost 50, Bill has attacked golf the same way he has attacked his legal career—practicing and playing whenever and wherever possible in an attempt to reach perfection. And while that goal can never be reached in golf, any more than in life, Bill has experienced glimpses of perfection with three holes-in-one, including two within a one month period. That puts him in great company with professional golfers like Arnold Palmer, who never tallied more than two holes-in-one during a single PGA season. More importantly, golf has introduced Bill to new groups of friends who share his love for the game and has provided many great experiences, as he and his buddies travel the country and the world in search of the perfect round.
While the pursuit of perfection in golf proves elusive, Bill has practiced law much longer than he has played the game and the professional accolades he has amassed and continues to garner in that arena demonstrate that fact, as he has become known as one of the very best.
Serving as lead counsel in numerous employment discrimination, whistle blower, ERISA, LMRA Section 301 and wrongful termination cases, labor arbitrations, National Labor Relations Board hearings, and other administrative proceedings. Serving as lead counsel defending multiple employers in wage and hour and employment discrimination actions. Chief negotiator in numerous private and public sector collective bargaining negotiations. Representation of multi-employer Taft-Hartley Benefit Plans. Representation of and advising employers regarding ERISA issues.
- Representation of major motion picture studios and producers in several industry-wide arbitrations with the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild and Writers Guild.
- Ongoing representation of several significant benefit plans providing both day-to-day and litigation counsel.
- Represented major motion picture and television companies in class action wage and hour and age discrimination cases.
- Represented a large aerospace corporation in several wrongful discharge and employment discrimination litigation and arbitration matters.
- Successfully represented major motion picture company in jury trial of Federal Section 301 action.
- Successfully represented employers in numerous arbitrations including industry-wide cases for multiple employers.
- Chief negotiator for a major beer distributor in talks with the Teamsters union.
- Negotiating national collective bargaining agreements for a group of television producers.
- Successfully represented all of the major studios and networks in a closely-watched arbitration against the WGA in which it was determined that a portion of the 2008 New Media deal is not retroactive.
Honors & Awards
- "Los Angeles Labor Law- Management Lawyer of the Year," The Best Lawyers in America (2012)
- “Leading Labor & Employment Lawyers in California,” Chambers USA (2006-2007, 2009-2014)
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of:
- Employment Law - Management (2011-2015)
- Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television (2011-2015)
- Labor Law - Management (2011-2015)
- Litigation - Labor and Employment (2011-2015)
- "Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in California," Daily Journal (2011)
- "100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys," Human Resource Executive (2011)
- “The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys,” Lawdragon (2008-2015)
- "Top 5% of lawyers in Southern California," Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2017)
- "Top 100 Power Lawyers" list, The Hollywood Reporter (2008-2010)
- "Leading Management Labor & Employment attorneys in California," Who’s Who Legal: California (2008-2010)
- "Who's Who in Entertainment Law," Los Angeles Business Journal (2010)
- "Top Labor & Employment Attorneys," Los Angeles Business Journal (2009)
- "Top 3% of Attorneys Nationwide," The Legal News (2009)
- “Who’s Who in LA Law,” Los Angeles Business Journal (2007)
- AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- Former Management Co-Chair, American Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section (2001 - 2005)
- Executive Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor Law Section (1989-1990)
- Board of Directors, PBS Foundation
- Co-chair, MSK Labor Department
- MSK Governing Board
- MSK Executive Committee
- Former MSK Managing Partner (1991-1997)
- May 31, 2016
- January 20, 2016
- August 2015
- William Cole and Adam Levin Recognized in Lawdragon's 2015 Guide to Most Powerful Employment AttorneysJune 18, 2015
- May 2015
- November 21, 2014
- The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 Recognizes 21 Attorneys from Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp and Names 2 Attorneys “Lawyer of the Year”August 2014
- May 2014
- January 2014
- August 15, 2013
- May 2013
- January 2013
- August 24, 2012
- June 25, 2012
- June 18, 2012
- January 23, 2012
- October 5, 2011
- August 31, 2011
- Bill Cole, Samantha Grant and Adam Levin Named to Daily Journal's Annual "Top Labor & Employment Lawyers" ListJuly 14, 2011
- June 20, 2011
- June 10, 2011
- January 25, 2011
- October 12, 2010
- August 19, 2010
- July 1, 2010
- January 26, 2010
- Los Angeles Business Journal's 2009 "Who's Who in the Law" Lists MSK Attorneys Russell Frackman and Bill ColeOctober 5, 2009
- August 3, 2009
- The Hollywood Reporter Recognizes Bill Cole and Russell Frackman to its List of 2009 "Power Lawyers"July 29, 2009
- Bill Cole and Adam Levin Ranked Among the Nation's "Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by Human Resource ExecutiveMay 15, 2009
- March 23, 2009
- January 30, 2009
- September 17, 2008
- July 23, 2008
- January 30, 2008
- December 28, 2007
- August 20, 2007
- June 15, 2007
- July 2001
- The California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board Says that Employees on Leave Must Receive Full Benefits -- But There Is a Way To Fight BackJuly 2001
- U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Most Employment Agreements Requiring Arbitration of Claims are Covered Under the Federal Arbitration ActApril 2001
Events & Speaking Engagements
- December 9, 2015
- U.S. District Court
- Central District of California
- Eastern District of California
- Southern District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeal
- Fourth Circuit
- Fifth Circuit
- Ninth Circuit
Stanford University, J.D., 1977; Order of the Coif
University of California, Irvine, B.A., 1974; magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa