Skip to main content

Samuel J. Cordes

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA

Rothman Gordon, P.C.
Grant Building, Third Floor, 310 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-338-1163
Fax: 412-281-7304
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022
Licensed in Pennsylvania Since: 1989
Practice Areas: Employment & Labor: Employee, Employment Litigation: Plaintiff
Attorney Profile

Attorney Samuel J. Cordes is a partner with the Rothman Gordon, PC, law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nationally recognized as one of the leading trial lawyers in his state as well as the entire country, Mr. Cordes focuses his practice primarily on employment law. He serves the needs and interests of plaintiff clients throughout the state and the surrounding areas of Ohio who have experienced a violation of their civil and constitutional rights on the job, such as employment discrimination and harassment, ERISA issues, and other serious grievances.

Throughout his more than 30 years in practice, Mr. Cordes has achieved considerable success advocating on behalf of aggrieved employees. As lead counsel, he helped secure some of the largest verdicts ever awarded for age and pregnancy discrimination cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania. He also holds the distinction of winning the district's first Americans with Disabilities Act employment law case as well as the first case in the state that involved violations of the Title VII and Equal Protection Clause regarding spousal health care for same-sex couples.

Along with maintaining a successful trial practice, he has conducted numerous appeals across his region, and he has established himself as a leader in his field who has published dozens of articles on employment law along with conducting lectures and seminars for various professional legal organizations.

Recognized for his professionalism and service, Mr. Cordes holds an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell, and he has earned consistent recognition from the Best Lawyers in America**, including the organization's Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year recognition for 2021. Moreover, Chambers USA has voted him among America's Leading Business Lawyers, and he accepted an invitation as a Fellow with the prestigious National College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County.

Mr. Cordes earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication magna cum laude and his Master of Arts summa cum laude in Journalism from Point Park University, where he also teaches graduate courses in communications. He obtained his Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and served as editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce. He holds his license to practice in both Pennsylvania and Ohio.

*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 Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

**Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America© are registered trademarks of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC. The names, logo, and database are protected under the trademark, copyright, and fair use laws of the United States of America. Any use of name, including in electronic form, must be made only by permission and under the guidelines of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC.

Practice Areas
  • 50%Employment & Labor: Employee
  • 50%Employment Litigation: Plaintiff
Focus Areas

Employment Law - Employee, Labor Law


19 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022

About Samuel J. Cordes

First Admitted: 1988, Ohio

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Speaker, Employment Discrimination Law and Litigation, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, 1996 - 2015
  • Editor, Journal of Law and Commerce, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • "Employers Minefield, Employees' Opportunity; Courts Now Give Teeth to Employer's Burden in Employment Discrimination Actions", Pa. Law Weekly 12, July 3, 2001
  • "Replacement No Longer Element of Employment Discrimination Prima Facie Case", Lawyers J., Vol. 2, No. 22, 2000
  • "Third Circuit Slowly Expanding Scope of Relevant Discrimination Evidence", Pennsylvania Law Weekly, June 3, 1997
  • "Congress Overrules Leading Supreme Court Case on Admissibility of Evidence in Sexual Harassment Litigation, Pittsburgh Legal Journal, November 1, 1994

Representative Clients

  • E.E.O.C. v Aldi, Inc., 2008 WL 2329603 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Bradley v. Kemper Insurance Co., 121 Fed. Appx. 468 (3rd Cir. 2005)
  • Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, 849 F.3d 61 (3d Cir. 2017)
  • Risk v. Burgettstown Borough, PA, 364 Fed.Appx. 725, 2010 (3rd Circuit 2010)
  • Lennex v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, 2008 WL 763740 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Armour v. County of Beaver, 271 F.3d 417 (3d Cir. 2001)
  • Kellerman v. UPMC St. Margaret, 317 Fed.Appx. 290 (3rd Circuit 2009)
  • Wargats v. Pittsburgh Technical Inst., 2007 WL 81056 (W.D.Pa. 2007)
  • Boyle v. Allegheny County, 139 F.3d 386 (3d Cir. 1998)
  • Trefelner ex rel. Trefelner v. Burrell School Dist., 655 F.Supp.2d 581 (W.D.Pa. 2009)
  • Pennsylvania v. Ostrosky, 909 A.2d (Pa. 2006)
  • Murphy v. Dalton, 81 F.3d 343 (3d Cir. 1996)
  • Jarzabek v. UPMC Passavant Hosp., 2009 WL 693251 (W.D.Pa. 2009)
  • Heller v. Elizabeth Forward School Dist., 182 Fed.Appx. 91 (3rd Circuit 2006)
  • Pennsylvania v. Flaherty, 983 F.2d 1267 (3d Cir. 1993)
  • Stager v. Beverly Health and Rehabilitation Services, Inc., 2008 WL 3165837 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Kreger v. Baldwin Borough, 2006 WL 456249 (W.D.Pa. 2006)
  • Seech v. Gateway School District, GD16-05672 (C.P. Allegheny June 23, 2017).
  • E.E.O.C. v. Aldi, Inc., 2008 WL 859249 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Fiscus v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 385 F.3d 378 ((3rd Cir.) 2004)
  • Salisbury v. City of Pittsburgh, 2010 WL 654490 (W.D.Pa. 2010)
  • Stewart v. Amazing Glazed, LLC, 2007 WL 3334973 (W.D.Pa. 2007)
  • Pivirotto v. Innovative Systems, Inc., 191 F.3d 344 (3d Cir. 1999)
  • Kirby v. J.C. Penney Corp., Inc., 2009 WL 5206027 (W.D.Pa. 2009)
  • Heller v. Elizabeth Forward School District, 182 Fed. Appx. 91 (3d Cir. 2006)
  • Sherback v. Wright Automotive Group, 987 F.Supp. 433 (W.D.Pa 1997)
  • Truman v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc., 2009 WL 2015126 (W.D.Pa. 2009)
  • Colussi v Woodruff Family Services, 173 Fed. Appx. 91 (3d Cir. 2006)
  • Defranks v. Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, 66 Fair Emp. Prac. Cases (BNA) 1306 (W.D. Pa. 1995)
  • Smith v. Specialty Pool Contractors, 2008 WL 4410163 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Kaufer v. UPMC Health Plan, Inc., 2006 WL 1984636 (W.D.Pa. 2006)
  • Patterson v. American Bosch, 914 F2d 384 (3d Cir. 1991)
  • Day v. Bethlehem Center School Dist., 2008 WL 2036903 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Straub v. First Media Radio, LLC, WL 3158042 (W.D.Pa. 2005)
  • Robinson v. Pittsburgh, 120 F.3d 1286 (3d Cir. 1997)
  • Davila v. Victory Sec. Agency, 2010 WL 2636067 (W.D.Pa. 2010)
  • Conto v. Norfolk Southern Corp., 2007 WL 4370906 (W.D.Pa. 2007)
  • Hopp, et al. v. City of Pittsburgh, 194 F.3d 434 (3rd Cir. 1999)
  • Snooks v. Duquesne Light Co., 314 Fed.Appx. 499 (3rd Circuit 2009)
  • Fowler-Nash v. Democratic Caucus of Pa. House of Rep., 469 F.3d 328 (3d Circuit 2006)
  • Ryder v. Westinghouse Elect. Corp., 128 F.3d 128 (3d Cir. 1997)
  • Dohner v. Clearfield County, Pa., 2009 WL 2762548 (W.D.Pa. 2009)
  • Roach v. American Radio Systems Inc., 80 F. Supp 2d 530 (W.D. Pa. 1995)
  • Brewer v. Quaker State Oil Refining Co., 72 F.3d 326 (3d Cir. 1995)
  • Risk v. Burgettstown Borough, Pa., 2008 WL 4925641 (W.D.Pa. 2008)
  • Greene v. MPW Indus. Services, Inc., 2006 WL 3308577 (W.D.Pa. 2006)
  • Quirin v. City of Pittsburgh, 801 F.Supp. 1486 (W.D. Pa. 1992)

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • U.S. Army, SP4, 1970 - 1972
  • Ohio, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, 1988
  • Chair of Amicus Committee of Pittsburgh Chapter of National Employment Lawyers Association, 2000-2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1989
  • Member, Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Schwartz Kelm Warren & Rubenstein
  • Ohio Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania, 1989
  • Member, Ohio Bar Association
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1989
  • Vice Chair, the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee, 1996-1998
  • Co-Chair, Trial Practice Committee, National Employment Lawyers Association, 2005-2015
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
  • Pennsylvania, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (Court of Military Appeals), 1990
  • Member, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Litigation Education Advisory Committee
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1998


  • Herman L. Forman Award for Highest Grade in Labor Law
  • Academy of Trial Lawyers Allegheny County
  • Top 100 Lawyers in Pennsylvania, 2011 - Present
  • , Employment Law Lawyer of the Year-Pittsburgh, Best Lawyers of America, 2021
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, Employment Law and Litigation, 2004 - 2011
  • AVVO. Highest Possible Rating, Superb
  • Named Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lawyer of the Year, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Best Lawyers in America, 2012
  • Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2004-2017
  • W. Edward Sell Award for Highest Grade in Corporations
  • Top 50 Lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011
  • Fellow of National College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2017

Educational Background

  • Point Park College, M.A. (Summa Cum Laude), 1985
  • Point Park College, B.A., Journalism and Communication (Magna Cum Laude), 1980
Show More
Office Location for Samuel J. Cordes

Grant Building, Third Floor
310 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-338-1163

Fax: 412-281-7304

Last Updated: 5/17/2022

Page Generated: 0.57263398170471 sec