A.B. Wellesley College, 1982
J.D. Boalt Hall School of Law, 1989
Over three decades ago, Jean Hyams left a successful career in high technology marketing to pursue her dream of becoming a civil rights lawyer. Jean believes that employers who institute good management practices can put a stop to discrimination, retaliation and harassment in the workplace. When they don’t, it is the job of employment lawyers to hold employers accountable for the damage and devastation that employees suffer when their civil rights are violated.
She is the recipient of the 2018 Leadership Award from the 1300-member strong California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization she headed as President and board Chair, and on whose board she served for twelve years. CELA also honored Jean and four colleagues with the “Strike Force 5” award for their leadership in pressing for legislative change to California’s sexual harassment laws, and particularly for their work on SB 1300. Jean testified before the first hearing in the California Assembly to address the reports of rampant sexual harassment in the California Capitol and she remains actively engaged in the effort to reform California’s employment laws to protect survivors of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
As active participants in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, Jean and the other attorneys of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP represent silence breakers and counsel women who are speaking out as part of this national cultural reckoning.
Jean trains lawyers, law students and judges on topics including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, disability rights, jury selection, mediation, and trial skills in California and around the country. In recent years, she has spoken at seminars and workshops presented by the Northern District of California Judicial College, California Applicant Attorneys Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyers Association, and Continuing Education of the Bar.
In 2017, the Daily Journal named Jean one of California’s “Top 75 Labor & Employment Lawyers.” For a dozen years, San Francisco Magazine has annually recognized Jean as one of Northern California’s “Super Lawyers” in the field of employment law, including many years as one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California.” Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine profiled Jean in a cover story in 2014, the same year that Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP was ranked by Super Lawyers as the Top Employment Law Firm among small firms in California.
Soon after graduation from law school, Jean opened her own law practice and began representing women who were sexually harassed and people with disabilities who faced discrimination. She then served as a Civil Rights Attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, the federal agency charged with enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in education. Following her time in public service, she returned to private practice with Boxer & Gerson, LLP, where she later became a partner. During her ten years at Boxer & Gerson, LLP, Jean developed a particular expertise in the complicated interplay between disability discrimination and workers’ compensation laws.
In 2010, Jean became a founding partner of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP, where she considers it a privilege to represent people with disabilities, older workers, women, gays and lesbians, whistleblowers, injured workers and people of color in lawsuits seeking vindication for civil rights violations. As trial lawyers, Jean and the other members of the firm have amassed an impressive collection of pro-worker jury verdicts and arbitration awards.
Although her litigation practice is devoted to representation of employees, Jean also enjoys the opportunity to serve as a mediator of employment claims and disability access cases through the U.S. District Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and through private mediations arranged by the parties. She brings her experience as a businesswoman and former manager and her perspective as a litigator to bear in assisting both sides to evaluate the case strengths and weaknesses during facilitated settlement negotiations.