Wendy L. Hillger

Wendy L. Hillger

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Ad Astra Law Group, LLP
 | 582 Market Street, 17th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-795-3579
Fax: 415-276-1976
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2018
Licensed Since: 1995
Practice Areas:
  • Business Litigation (60%),
  • Real Estate: Consumer (20%),
  • Employment Litigation: Defense (10%),
  • Employment Litigation: Plaintiff (10%)
Attorney Profile

Wendy L. Hillger is a partner and co-founder of Ad Astra. She represents both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state court, primarily in the areas of breach of contract, partnership or company ownership disputes, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets, real estate (including landlord-tenant) and employment issues.

 

About Wendy Hillger

Admitted: 1995, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.astralegal.com/attorney/wendy-hillger-partner/

Honors/Awards:

  • Super Lawyers is a Thomson Reuters rating service that ranks outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. No more than 5% of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers.

    , Northern California Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2018

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Ms. Hillger has been a member of the California State Bar since 1995. She is admitted to practice in all of the California state courts, the U.S. District Court Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court Eastern District of California.  Ms. Hillger is also qualified to perform Fee Dispute Arbitrations as established by the State Bar.

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Ms. Hillger has volunteered her time for pro bono matters, most recently with the Bar Association of San Francisco's Justice & Diversity Center, at its Unlawful Detainer clinic.  Ad Astra encourages all our attorneys to provide 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year through accredited nonprofit organizations.  The firm gives these hours full credit towards the attorney’s compensation.

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • In a two-hour live webcast, a panel of thought leaders and practitioners discussed the significant issues and latest to Safeguard Against Employment Retaliation Claims.

    Key topics included:

    • Assessing the Rise in Employment Retaliation Claims
    • Proving Retaliation Claims At Trials
    • Protected Activity
    • Adverse Action
    • “But for” Causation
    • Retaliation Claims under Federal Statutes
    • Litigation Strategies for Defending Against Retaliation Lawsuits
    • Strategic Ways to Prevent Retaliation
    , Speaker/ panelist, Safeguarding against Employment Retaliation claims, The Knowledge Group CLE, Employers, 2016
  • Ms. Hillger set up a case study and distributed practice facts.  In this live presentation, the participants were able to practice their deposition questions on live witnesses. We also discussed how to deal with disruptive opposing counsel and witnesses.

    , Presenter, How to Effectively conduct an Adverse-party Deposition, Ad Astra Law Group CLE, 2015
  • In this presentation, Ms. Hillger outlined how a California employer can comply with the myriad of "wage & hour" laws, concerning industries such as technology, retailers, and business/offices.

    , Presenter, Employer Compliance with Wage & Hour laws, Filice Insurance, 2015
  • One of the most expensive threats to any business is a lawsuit for discrimination or retaliation. These kinds of lawsuits strike at the emotions of those involved, and can attract a lot of negative publicity that can result in further harm to a business. While the burden of proof on plaintiffs is great, California law provides a prevailing plaintiff with significant damages and other remedies. Ms. Hillger discussed principles and practices that will help companies avoid getting sued-, including guidance about employment practices to help companies avoid these kinds of lawsuits and, in worst case scenarios, how to navigate a lawsuit most effectively. 

    Highlights were:

    – Effective employment policies & practices;

    – Proper workplace investigation procedures;

    – Employer Practices Liability (EPL) Insurance;

    – Strategies for defending a lawsuit;

    – Managing the costs of legal counsel; and

    – Discussion of the mechanisms of an employment lawsuit (discovery, settlement, trial).

    , Speaker, Mitigating the Risks of Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuits, Filice Insurance, 2015

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Ms. Hillger worked with her employer client to secure over 100 "Pick up Stix" settlements with employees.  These are claim releases which helped reduce a putative class action for claims of "wage & hour" violations.  

    , 2018
  • Wendy Hillger can celebrate her fourth appellate victory in a row. In this appeal, she argued on behalf of our client, a landlord whose tenant forced an unlawful detainer trial in Alameda County after not paying rent for 4 months. At the trial (which Ad Astra did not handle), the tenant made a habitability defense claim, but the judge ultimately ruled in favor of the landlord, granting possession and a money judgment for back rent. The tenant appealed, arguing that the reduced judgment correlated to a 25% monthly rent reduction and thus demonstrated habitability issues at the home. On appeal, Wendy Hillger argued that there was no proof of the habitability issues at trial; and, if the trial judge made an error, it favored the tenant who benefitted from a lesser monetary judgment. Wendy’s arguments won the day. Our client is thrilled to finally end the saga with his difficult tenant.

    , 2017
  • On October 31, 2014, the Ad Astra Law Group trial team of David Nied and Wendy Hillger won a substantial jury verdict in a plaintiff’s employment retaliation/discrimination case. Following a two week trial in San Mateo County Superior Court, the jury found that the employee’s supervisor retaliated against her for filing complaints about the supervisor with the company’s HR department. An Executive Committee of the employer terminated the plaintiff’s employment on charges of workplace violence and insubordination, and the employer argued that the Executive Committee was insulated from the supervisor’s retaliatory intent. The jury disagreed, however, and found that the supervisor’s retaliatory acts set in motion the series of events that led to the Executive Committee’s decision. The jury also found that the employer had failed to protect the employee from the supervisor’s retaliatory acts. The jury awarded the employee all of her economic damages plus an additional amount for her non-economic losses. 

    In 2017, Ms. Hillger briefed and argued the case before the First Appellate District in the Court of Appeal for the State of California. In another appellate win for her clients, the trial court judgment was affirmed.

    , 2014

Transactions:

  • Ms. Hillger’s client, a finish carpentry company, was sued following an unfortunate industrial injury to an employee working for another company on the site. Ms. Hillger was able to convince counsel for the injured worker to dismiss her client carpenter. No money was exchanged and the client did not have to spend money appearing in Court.

    , 2015

Newsletters:

  • Ms. Hillger published a discussion of the recent California Supreme Court decision concerning the state’s “day of rest” statute for employees.  California Labor Code sections 551 and 552 entitle employees to one day’s rest in seven and to not be caused to work more than six days in seven.  The question before the Court in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc. was whether this protection applies on a week-by-week basis or on a rolling basis. 

    , 2017, Restaurants/bars, Retailers, Technology
  • Proposition 65 requires the State of California to maintain a list of chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.   These warnings apply to landlords, business owners, bars/restaurants, and other retailers.  Businesses with 10 or more employees that expose individuals to listed chemicals through their products or operations generally must provide warnings.  Ms. Hillger provided information concerning the new changes to the Proposition 65 warnings, which were required to be in place by August 30, 2018.

    , 2018, Bars/restaurants, Business Owners, Employers, Landlords., Retailers
  • Ms. Hillger published a newsletter post about how and why the California Trial courts are chronically underfunded.

    , 2017

Industry Groups

  • Breweries
  • Legal Cannabis
  • Professional Service Firms
  • Retailers/ Suppliers
  • Technology
Office Location for Wendy L. Hillger

582 Market Street
17th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Wendy L. Hillger:

Last Updated: 11/29/2018

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