Our Team

Nancy Kawano

Of Counsel

Email: nkawano@rcllp.com
Office: 1-858-381-4890

J.D. cum laude, University of San Diego School of Law 1989
B.A. with honors, University of California, Riverside 1978



Nancy Kawano is Of Counsel in the San Diego office of Ricketts Case LLP. Nancy has over 30 years’ experience as a transactional employment law attorney.

Nancy advises companies on all aspects of employment law compliance with a keen focus on practical business solutions and litigation avoidance. Her extensive experience includes due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, conducting employment practices audits (including proper classification as exempt and evaluating independent contractor status), counseling on recruitment and hiring practices, performance management, discipline and termination, and reductions in force; advising on the interplay of FMLA, ADA, pregnancy disability, and workers compensation leave; and disability accommodation analysis. She assists employers in developing legally compliant employee handbooks, policies, notices, employment agreements, offer letters, commission and bonus plans, and other employment documents. She conducts workplace investigations and provides training on a host of employment issues (harassment and discrimination, wage and hour compliance, leaves of absence administration, and litigation avoidance for managers). Nancy is well-versed in COVID-19 protocols, writing COVID-19 Prevention Programs, and advising on COVID-19-related issues.

Prior to joining Ricketts Case, Nancy was a paralegal in the Labor Law Department of Gray Cary Ames & Frye, a predecessor firm to DLA Piper LLP (US). She subsequently attended law school while continuing to work and, after completing law school, joined the same firm as an attorney in the Employment Practices Group. Nancy successfully practiced law at the global DLA Piper firm for over 20 years. Nancy also clerked with Justice William Todd, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, during law school.

Representative Matters
  • Representation of property management and construction company with multiple properties in California and Arizona in providing day-to-day employment counseling and advice. Serves as advisor to the senior executive of the Company and the Human Resources team. Has assisted with the restructuring of the Human Resources department, development of new hire and recruiting processes, review and update of employee handbooks, development of leave of absence forms and assistance with administration of leaves, development of job descriptions, and advises on employee relations matters. Has also successfully resolved various administrative agency claims.
  • Representation of private equity company in due diligence reviews for several potential acquisitions of national and international companies and franchisors. Diligence focuses on labor and employment practices and exposure on wage and hour litigation.
  • Representation of high-end furniture company with design shops and distribution centers in California and several other states in employment counseling. Assisted with onboarding and off boarding employment documents, employee handbook updates, and counseling on COVID-19 return to work policies and procedures and COVID-19 Prevention Programs.
  • Representation of global manufacturer of surgical technologies in general employment counseling including advising on leaves of absence and disability accommodation issues.
  • Representation of charitable and philanthropic foundation in providing employment counseling and policy reviews, including internal nondiscrimination policies regarding transgender employees in the workplace. Drafted transgender inclusiveness policy and updated anti-harassment policy to include transgender employee issues.
  • Representation of global cybersecurity company in general employment issues, including religious and medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination policy and review of sales compensation plan.
Judicial Clerkship
  • Legal Intern, Justice William Todd, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, Summer 1988
  • “Don’t Let California’s New 2022 Employment Laws Haunt You,” RC, LLP E-Alert October 2021.
  • “California Supreme Court Proclaims That Employees Must Be Paid for Meal and Rest Break Violations At The Same ‘Regular Rate of Pay’ Used For Calculating Overtime Pay” RC, LLP E-Alert July 2021
  • “Employer’s Alert: New Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirements on the State and Federal Front,” RC, LLP E-Alert March 2021`
  • “COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards: What Do Employers Need To Know?” RC, LLP E-Alert December 2020
Presentations, Conferences, and Seminars
  • Leave of absence and disability accommodation training, management litigation avoidance training, and anti-harassment training provided multiple times to multiple clients, 2000 to present.
  • “Employment Law Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions Transaction,” DLA in-house presentation to Corporate group, June 2013.
  • “Wage and Hour Compliance: The Seven Deadly Sins – Costly Mistakes Employers Should Avoid,” DLA Webinar, November 14, 2012.
  • “Reductions in Force: Minimizing Your Legal Exposure,” presented to National Asian Pacific American Bar Association National Conference, November 2008.
  • “Corporate Counsel’s Most Important Weapon: the Employee Handbook,” Association of Corporate Counsel, April 5, 2007.
Courts and Forums
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • State of California
  • State Bar of California
Civic & Charitable
  • Election Protection, Volunteer.
  • Arthritis Foundation, Volunteer. Past executive member of Board of Directors of local chapter and past member of Human Resources Design Team for the national reorganization of the Foundation.


Favorite quote: “If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.”—Proverb.