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 25 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).

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 HR Director. 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 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 a publicly traded ad technology company with locations in California and throughout the United States in providing employment counseling, including review of sales compensation plan, leave of absence and paid time off policies, and job classification review.
Judicial Clerkship
  • Legal Intern, Justice William Todd, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, Summer 1988
  • “Day of Rest Rule Clarified by California Supreme Court,” Firm E-Alert, May 12, 2017
  • “What Employers Need to Know for 2017, New Laws and Practical Strategies for Avoiding Employment Issues and Disputes” co-presenter to SHRM, January 12, 2017.
  • “San Diego Earned Sick Leave Update,” Firm E-Alert, November 29, 2016.
  • “Fall in Line: Multitude of New Laws for California Employers,” Firm E-Alert, October 6, 2016.
  • “Attention San Diego and Los Angeles Employers: Local Changes to Paid Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Obligations Imminent,” Firm E-Alert, June 14, 2016.
  • “Spring into Action: New Rules to Curb Workplace Harassment Become Effective April 1, 2016,” Firm E-Alert, March 29, 2016.
  • “California Fills Prescription for Sick Workers,” Firm E-Alert, September 12, 2014.
  • “The San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance: What San Francisco Employers Need to Know,” Firm E-Alert, April 18, 2014.
Presentations, Conferences, and Seminars
  • “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.
  • Leave of absence training, management litigation avoidance training and anti-harassment training provided multiple times to multiple clients, 2000 to present.
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, 2008 and 2012
  • Arthritis Foundation, Volunteer since 1993. 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.