David Sanford

Top rated employment & labor attorney in New York, New York

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
David Sanford
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Practice Areas: Employment & labor, Civil litigation, Employment litigation; view more

Licensed in New York since: 2019

Education: Stanford Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2020, 2023
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Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

1350 Avenue of the Americas
Suite 3100
New York, NY 10019-4702 Visit website


Driven by his commitment toward representing clients against powerful entities, David Sanford co-founded Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, a well-known law firm with a presence in the states of New York, California, Tennessee, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is the chairman of the firm and offers top-quality services to clients in the areas of:

  • Employment law
  • Employment discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Whistleblower rights
  • Women’s rights
  • Workers’ rights
  • Civil litigation
  • ERISA class actions
  • Wrongful termination
  • Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
  • Wage and hour law

Mr. Sanford graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in 1980 and his master’s degree in philosophy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984. He then went to Stanford Law School to earn his Juris Doctor in 1995. He briefly worked as a clerk for Honorable Judge Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He has been admitted to the state bars of New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Sanford is allowed to represent his clients in the Supreme Court of the United States; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 2nd and 7th Circuits; the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida; the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois; and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Protecting his clients’ rights with utmost integrity, Mr. Sanford provides his clients with a high level of comfort and support throughout the process and a professional and levelheaded representation while ensuring confidentiality. A highly accomplished attorney and an energetic advocate, his clients range from C-suite executives to nonmanagerial hourly employees from various industries across the nation. He has served as the lead counsel in more than 50 class actions and numerous qui tam cases around the U.S.

Under Mr. Sanford’s leadership, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, has tripled in size, opened four new offices and received recognition from prominent legal media. Focusing on the clients’ welfare and the firm’s growth has garnered him many awards and recognition from various sources. He has been rated AV Preeminent* by Martindale-Hubbell since 2006. He has also been recognized by The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, the Benchmark Litigation and the Corporate Counsel. He has been listed in the Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 10 Wage and Hour Trial Lawyers and Top 25 Class Action Trial Lawyers, among others.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Employment & labor: employee, Civil litigation: plaintiff, Employment litigation: plaintiff

Focus areas

Employment law - employee, Wage & hour laws, Whistleblower, Sexual harassment, Labor law, Employment discrimination, Wrongful termination

  • 80% Employment & labor: employee
  • 10% Civil litigation: plaintiff
  • 10% Employment litigation: plaintiff

First Admitted: 1997, Maryland

Professional Webpage: https://www.sanfordheisler.com/team/david-sanford/

  • Lawyer of Distinction, 2018 - 2020
  • Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney, Super Lawyers, 2014 - 2021
  • Top 25 Class Action Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
  • Top 10 Wage & Hour Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
  • Washington, DC’s Best Lawyers: Employment Plaintiffs, Washingtonian, 2018 - 2020
  • Plaintiffs' Lawyer Trailblazer, The National Law Journal, 2018
  • Top Rated Employment Lawyer, The National Law Journal
  • Top Rated Employment Lawyer, The American Lawyer
  • Elite Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame Inductee, The National Law Journal, 2015
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for work in the field of “Employment Law – Individuals,” Best Lawyers, 2019 - 2022
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Labor and Employment Star - Northeast in the practice areas of Civil Rights and Human Rights, Energy and Natural Resources, Labor and Employment, and Product Liability, Benchmark Litigation, 2018 - 2020
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyer, 2018 - 2022
  • Leader in the Field, Chambers USA, 2017 - 2020
  • Labor and Employment Attorney of the Year, Benchmark Litigation, 2018
  • Employment MVP, Law360, 2014 - 2015 and 2018
  • Attorney of the Year Finalist, The American Lawyer, 2018
  • Top Rated Lawyer, Martindale-Hubbell, 2018
  • Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar, Law360, 2014 and 2018
  • Trailblazer Plaintiffs' Lawyer, National Law Journal, 2018
  • Employment Advisory Board, Law360
  • Top Rated Employment Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, National Law Journal
  • AV-rated every year since 2006 (highest rating given to an attorney by judges and attorneys nationwide), Martindale-Hubbell, Martindale-Hubbell
  • United States ex rel. Bennett v. AtriCure, Inc. (S.D.Tex.)
  • Velez v. Novartis
  • Novartis Pharmaceutical Wage & Hour Class Action The law firm of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (”Novartis”) have reached a $99 million settlement to resolve a nationwide wage and hour class action originally brought by Sanford Heisler in the Southern District of New York on March 23, 2006 on behalf of current and former Novartis sales representatives. In their class and collective action lawsuit, thousands of Novartis sales representatives claim they are owed overtime pay under state and federal labor laws because they work more than 40 hours during a work week
  • Norton Rose Fulbright/Chadbourne & Parke LLP Gender Discrimination Class Action
  • Novartis Pharmaceutical Gender Discrimination Class Action In the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial, Sanford Heisler Sharp successfully represented a class of 5,600 female sales representatives of Novartis Pharmaceutical Company in their gender pay and promotion and pregnancy discrimination claims. A unanimous decision by a jury of nine found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in pay and promotion and pregnancy-related matters and awarded 12 former Novartis sales reps $3.36 million in compensatory damages and the class of 5,600 women an additional $250 million in punitive damages In addition, the verdict from the jury meant that the remaining 5,600 women in the class were also entitled to additional awards of backpay and to seek compensatory damage awards up to $300,000 each. The verdict and the resulting monetary awards was the largest ever in the U.S in an employment discrimination case
  • Cracker Barrel Race Discrimination Class ActionDavid Sanford was lead counsel in a race discrimination class action suit against Cracker Barrel restaurants. The case concerned discrimination in pay and promotion, and also involved discrimination against African-American customers. The United States Department of Justice intervened in the case after five years of litigation and the suit settled for $8.7 million.
  • Qualcomm Gender Discrimination Class ActionSanford Heisler Sharp, LLP had reached an agreement with Qualcomm Incorporated in which Qualcomm will pay $19.5 million to settle a gender discrimination class action suit. In addition to monetary relief, the settlement requires Qualcomm to institute comprehensive programmatic relief, which will ensure that female employees working, for example, in STEM and related positions will enjoy equal job opportunities at the company. The settlement on behalf of a class of approximately 3300 women was reached before Plaintiffs filed suit. As part of the settlement process, Plaintiffs are required to file a class complaint and move for preliminary approval of the agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1998
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2016
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1998
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia

  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, 2006
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2017
  • District of Columbia, 1998
  • Maryland, 1997
Educational Background:
  • B.A. Vassar College, 1980
  • M.A. UNC, Chapel Hill, 1984
  • ABD UNC, Chapel Hill, 1985

Office location for David Sanford

1350 Avenue of the Americas
Suite 3100
New York, NY 10019-4702

Phone: 646-512-8609


8 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2020, 2023

Attorney resources for David Sanford

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