Common Sense Advice And Uncommon Legal Results
Photo of Laura C. McHugh

Laura C. McHugh

  • Senior Partner

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Practice Areas:

  • Employment Law Advice & Counsel
  • Employment Litigation - Employer
  • Labor Law – Employer
  • Mediation
  • ADA Access Litigation
  • Workplace Investigations


Laura McHugh has represented companies of all sizes in employment and labor law matters for over 25 years. Since 2018 she and her law partner Jennifer Duggan have been running their successful certified Women-Owned Business law firm based in Sacramento.

As a strategic litigator and adviser for employers, Laura works closely with her clients to provide cost-efficient and effective solutions to their workplace needs, whether it is an aggressive litigation defense to a hotly-contested employment dispute, or practical day-to-day guidance on workplace issues such as discipline and discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, wage and hour, prevailing wage, the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), meal period and rest break compliance, or trade secrets and unfair competition issues. Her expertise extends to traditional labor law matters including labor arbitrations, unfair labor practices, grievance resolution and collective bargaining.

Laura has argued before the California Supreme Court and Third District Court of Appeal, obtaining precedential, published decisions. She has also tried several cases, including individual and class actions.

Laura advocates for employers in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and mediations. She also represents clients in administrative proceedings and hearings before the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB), the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (OSHAB), and the California State Labor Commissioner. She serves as a mediator and investigator in employment matters and provides sexual harassment and other workplace training.

Since 2019, Laura has enjoyed serving on the board for the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada. She is currently on the Executive Committee and chairs the Employment Law Committee.

Laura graduated magna cum laude from University of California at Santa Barbara and then worked in corporate human resources for a large bank in Los Angeles.

During law school, she served on the Santa Clara Law Review and as a judicial extern for the Honorable Gerome Smith of the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

In her free time, Laura enjoys her family, her dogs, traveling, light surfing, and an occasional hack at the golf ball. She is honored to serve on the board of FosterHope Sacramento.


  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California
    • Editor, Santa Clara Law Review
    • Judicial Extern, Justice Gerome Smith, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District
  • University of California at Santa Barbara
    • magna cum laude
    • Senior Honors Program

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, pro hac vice
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, pro hac vice


  • AV Preeminent® rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Northern California Super Lawyers | Top 25 Sacramento Attorneys | Top 50 Women Attorneys in Northern California
  • Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal
  • Top Lawyers, Sacramento Magazine
  • Lawyers of Distinction, Top 10% Employment and Labor Law Attorneys

Professional Associations

  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, Executive Committee – Treasurer, Board Member, and Chairperson – Employment Law Committee
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Gordon D. Schaber, Mock Trial and Moot Court Volunteer Judge
  • Sacramento Professional Advisors Network
  • Sacramento Area Human Resource Association
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Communications Alumni Council, Founding Member
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento
  • Women Up, Sacramento, Founding Member
  • Presiding Judge Civil Advisory Committee, Sacramento County Superior Court
  • FosterHope Sacramento, Board Member

Published Decisions

  • Paratransit Inc. v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. (2014) 59 Cal.4th 551
  • Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc. (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1244
  • Valley Slurry Seal Co., 343 NLRB 233 (2004)
  • Paratransit, Inc. (ATU, Local 256) (2002) 116 LA 1448
  • Gawlik, et al. v. Diogenes Youth Services, Inc. (Arb. 2002) 2002 LA Supp. 109807
  • Taylor v. ScottPolar Corp., 995 F.Supp. 1072 (D. Ariz. 1998)