ERIC C. SOHLGREN
ERIC C. SOHLGREN (Moderator) is a partner with Payne & Fears LLP in Irvine, and chairs the firm’s Employment Law Group. He has broad experience and expertise in employment law, representing companies, managers and employee benefit plans in litigation matters in state and federal courts, and in administrative proceedings. With an executive background in human resources, Mr. Sohlgren frequently advises employers on legal compliance and preventative measures to minimize the risk of litigation. He also represents non-profit organizations in employment, property and business matters, and his representation with particular expertise in religious corporation structure and law. Mr. Sohlgren’s representation of religious corporations in property and corporate disputes in the trial and appellate courts, including before the U.S. Supreme Court and California Supreme Court, has received national recognition in the print, radio and television media. He is a frequent author and lecturer on employment law topics. He is the recipient of many professional awards, including being named to Southern California Super Lawyers List 2004-2015 and Best Lawyers in America 2011-2017. He received his B.A. from Whitman College, his M.B.A. from Pepperdine University, and his J. D. from Loyola Marymount University, where he graduate cum laude and is a member of Order of the Coif.
ROBERT D. COVIELLO
ROBERT D. COVIELLO is a full-time Neutral with Coviello Mediation Services in San Juan Capistrano. As a mediator he specializes in the resolution of employment related matters including the full spectrum of wage and hour disputes, EEOC and FEHA claims, commercial contracts, real estate, and a variety of class action litigation matters. Mr. Coviello has extensive jury trial experience and is a current member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He is also an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association on its employment law panel of Neutrals. As trial counsel he has achieved successful verdicts on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of business disputes and employment related claims including disputes involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, FEHA, FLSA and numerous wage and hour class action matters in both the state and federal courts. Now as a full-time mediator, this trial experience has proven to be successful in assessing the strengths and weaknesses associated with complex employment and business disputes and in assessing the reasonable settlement value of such matters. Mr. Coviello received his B.A. from Wartburg College and his J.D. from the Western State University College of Law.
AMY R. PATTON
AMY R. PATTON is an attorney with the Irvine office of Payne & Fears LLP, where she is a member of the Employment Law Group. Ms. Patton represents employers in state and federal court in a broad range of labor and employment law matters, including claims for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, trade secret misappropriation, and wage and hour violations. She handles both single-plaintiff litigation and class actions in state and federal court and has appeared before various administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Patton assists management in the development of sound workplace practices and policies. She counsels employers on compliance with family and medical leave laws, wage and hour compliance, and employee discipline issues. Ms. Patton received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington and her J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Houston Law Center. Ms. Patton is the 2015 Chair Elect of the Labor and Employment Section of Orange County Bar Association.
CURT L SURLS
CURT L. SURLS is the principal of the Law Office of Curt Surls in Manhattan Beach, specializing in employment law. Mr. Surls speaks and writes regularly on employment matters. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a nonprofit professional association honoring lawyers whose careers have demonstrated dedication to the welfare of the community and the traditions of the profession. Mr. Surls is a frequent speaker and author on employment law topics. He is on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section and currently serves as Secretary, and was formerly Chair of the section’s Labor and Employment Law Symposium. Mr. Surls also served on the Fair Judicial Election Practices Committee for 2012–2013 and was Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Disability Rights Legal Center from 2008 to 2010. He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), and the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). He has been named as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” and among the “Best Lawyers in Southern California” in multiple years. Mr. Surls received his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his J.D. from Loyola Law School.