Polsinelli Nabs Labor & Employment Duo Charles O. Thompson & Michele Haydel Gehrke from Seyfarth Shaw (San Francisco)

Polsinelli LLP has hired a pair of prominent former Seyfarth Shaw LLP employment attorneys, who bring wide-ranging expertise in labor law, to join its growing San Francisco office as shareholders.

Shareholders Charles O. Thompson and Michele Haydel Gehrke have joined Polsinelli in its year-old San Francisco office, where they will bring to bear years of expertise relating to employment law. Thompson joins the firm as vice chair of its California labor and employment practice group and as leader of its west coast labor and employment practice, according to the firm. Polsinelli’s national labor and employment practice now has more than 50 attorneys thanks to the duo, the firm said in its announcement of their hiring.

“Chuck is a great well-rounded labor and employment lawyer who brings valuable experience advising and representing clients in California,” Nancy Rafuse, chair of Polsinelli’s labor and employment practice group said in a statement. “Both he and Michele are highly respected attorneys in the San Francisco-area representing top-tier companies and we are excited to have them on our team and expanding our labor and employment practice in California.”

Thompson represents Fortune 500 companies in all aspects of employment litigation, and has handled more than a thousand employment matters, according to Polsinelli. He has extensive experience in litigation, and his practice is a blend of labor and employment and wage and hour class actions, according to the firm.

Gehrke represents employers on a wide range of labor and employment matters, including both litigation and actions before administrative agencies. She counsels clients on all aspects of employment law compliance, according to Polsinelli, and drafts employment documents such as employee handbooks and agreements. She also has years of experience representing airlines, according to the firm.

The duo joined Seyfarth Shaw together in November 2012, prior to which the pair practiced at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.

Thompson said in a statement that he and Gehrke were excited to join a firm that shares the same approach to serving clients’ needs as they do.

“When Michele and I met Nancy [Rafuse], we knew we were like-minded in our approach to serving clients,” said Thompson. “We are very excited about joining a firm that’s so dynamic in the market and expanding the firm’s West Coast presence in offering clients labor and employment services.”

Thompson received his undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and his law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law, according to the firm.

Gehrke received her undergraduate degree from the University of California Los Angeles and her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

The two attorneys join a firm with more than 740 attorneys providing a comprehensive set of legal services with 21 offices.