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Photo of Stephen A. Rossi

Stephen A. Rossi

Partner - los angeles


With the crisp sound of blades cutting through the ice, crouched down low, peering through the birdcage of his goaltender’s mask, Stephen Rossi sits in anticipation as two wingers head in his direction.  As they pass the puck back and forth he pivots from edge to edge of the goal waiting for the right moment to execute his signature move.

Known by his teammates for his aggressive defensive moves, Stephen loves coming out of the crease to intercept the puck mid-pass before the offense has set their shot.  It’s gutsy, but effective.  Catching the forwards off guard, Stephen regularly stops his opponents from scoring.

As a lifelong hockey player, Stephen relishes competition.  His natural ability to see the lines and angles develop on the ice has served him well as a litigator in the labor and employment practice.  Knowing where opposing counsel might take their case or anticipating the trajectory of a matter comes as natural to Stephen as his ability to read plays in hockey.

Stephen has enjoyed a successful career on and off the ice as a strategist and play maker.  He finds tremendous satisfaction in vociferously tackling the details of a case as he defends his clients while navigating the nuances and complexities of an ever-increasing labyrinth of labor laws.


Legal Expertise

Stephen A. Rossi represents employers across industries in all aspects of labor and employment law, with special expertise in issues arising in the motion picture, television, and commercial production industries. He takes a client-centered approach to all matters that focuses on efficiently achieving client objectives while tailoring strategies to meet their specific needs. Prior to specializing in labor and employment, Stephen litigated complex intellectual property and commercial disputes in many different industries, which honed his ability to quickly distill even the most complex disputes to their core issues, enabling early and effective resolutions.

Representative Matters

  • Brought an anti-SLAPP motion against a television composer’s discrimination claims at the outset of the case, which resulted in an order dismissing several claims and ultimately the plaintiff’s complete withdrawal of all claims following Defendant’s appeal on the remaining claims – all before any discovery was taken.
  • Regularly defends class and PAGA representative wage and hour actions and utilizes novel legal arguments to secure favorable settlements and court approval, including in many cases in the motion picture industry involving allegedly late payment of wages, missed or late breaks, and failure to reimburse business expenses. 
  • Won summary judgment in the Los Angeles Superior Court against a sexual harassment claim filed by a male employee against a female manager.
  • Second-chaired a three day arbitration regarding wage and hour claims arising from a motion picture production, which resulted in a complete defense victory.
  • First-chaired a four day arbitration, which resulted in a complete defense victory against claims of breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA. 
  • Secured early dismissal of a PAGA complaint with an award of attorneys’ fees to Defendant.
  • Won partial summary judgment in federal court against a motion picture industry union’s breach of contract claim regarding a popular television program.
  • In arbitration, successfully argued the Labor Management Relations Act preempted an actor’s claim attempting to invalidate his acting contract. 
  • Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, won affirmance of summary judgment against discrimination claims after raising an intricate legal argument related to summary judgment evidence, the standard of review, and appellate waiver. 
  • Regularly represents employers before the California Labor Commissioner through settlement and merits hearings, including securing a complete defense victory against a claim arising from alleged late payment of wages on a motion picture production.
  • Regularly resolves potential litigation claims before they can be publicly filed.
  • Regularly represents producers in guild disputes and arbitrations, including securing dismissal of several claims before the arbitration hearing began.
  • Regularly provides advice and counsel on labor and employment matters including layoffs, terminations, handbooks, policies, and cutting edge issues affecting employers.
  • Regularly provides anti-harassment training to client employees in multiple industries, including entertainment production staff members, writers, and other employees. 
  • Regularly investigates claims of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation before mediating the claims. 
  • Has extensive knowledge of employee arbitration agreements, has successfully enforced numerous arbitration agreements, and frequently writes on the topic of arbitration.
  • Litigated a wide variety of intellectual property and commercial disputes, including patent infringement cases and a patent license dispute, a procedurally complex action in state and federal courts relating to an arbitration award, an attorney disqualification case in a trade secret proceeding, class actions, a construction contract dispute, a breach of fiduciary duty case and various other commercial disputes. 

Honors & Awards

  • "Ones to Watch," Best Lawyers in America© in Labor and Employment Law - Management (2021-2024)
  • Selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star (2017-2019, 2021)

Professional, Business and civic Affiliations

  • Membership Chair and former Secretary, Howard T. Markey American Inn of Court
  • Member, Orange County Bar Foundation’s Associate Board, Building Committee and Grant Committee

Other Career Experience

  • Associate, Irell & Manella LLP
  • Law Clerk, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Intern, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit




  • California, 2012
  • U.S. District Court
  •       Central District of California
  •       Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
  •       Ninth Circuit
  •       Federal Circuit


University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 2011; Order of the Coif; magna cum laude

Senior Editor, University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Certificate in Public Policy & Planning, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Giles S. Rich Moot Court National Semi-Finalist

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, B.S., 2006; Trustee Scholar

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