Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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Leon Dayan

Leon Dayan is a member of the firm and has represented clients in numerous appellate and trial-court matters. Leon has co-authored several briefs in the United States Supreme Court and has argued more than two dozen appeals. He has argued cases in nine different federal circuit courts as well as in two state supreme courts. At the trial-court level, Leon’s practice has included the representation of unions in First Amendment matters as well as in RICO, union-governance, election, and employment matters; the representation of retirees in complex employee-benefit class-actions; and the representation of employee benefit plans in ERISA breach-of-fiduciary-duty cases.

Leon’s practice also includes counseling national and local unions on a wide variety of matters. These range from union governance (including running fair elections and filing appropriate financial disclosures) to immigration (including conducting proper "know your rights" trainings for immigrant members) to compliance with Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act. In addition, Leon has represented numerous individual attorneys on matters pertaining to professional ethics and bar disciplinary proceedings.

Leon received his JD degree from the University of California, Berkeley Law School, where he was Order of the Coif. He received his A.B. degree in History from Stanford University, where he graduated with honors and distinction.

After completing law school, Leon served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Leon then practiced law in Los Angeles at a public interest law firm for three years before becoming an associate at Bredhoff & Kaiser in 1994. From 1999 through 2001, Leon taught employment law as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. He is an active member of the California and D.C. bars.

Representative Cases Argued:

  • McCutcheon v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 62 F. 4th 474 (2d Cir. 2023) (affirming $300 million judgment in favor of class of Colgate retirees and other former Colgate employees in complex ERISA pension plan dispute).

  • Brown v. AFSCME Council No. 5, 41 F.4th 963 (2022) (holding that a good-faith defense is available to private-party defendants under Section 1983 and that the defense extends to First Amendment “compelled subsidization of speech” claims)

  • Rozenblit v. Lyles, 243 A.3d 1249 (N.J. 2021) (state constitution’s “gift clause” is not violated by collective bargaining agreements that provide for paid leave to public school teachers who are elected union officers so that they can perform full-time work helping to administer a collective bargaining agreement and performing other representational functions on behalf of the union)

  • Ogle v. Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, 951 F.3d 794 (6th Cir. 2020) and Lee v. Ohio Education Association, 951 F.3d 386 (6th Cir. 2020) (unions need not refund fair-share fees collected from nonmembers during the period before the Supreme Court issued its 2018 decision declaring such fees to be unconstitutional).

  • SEIU v. NUHW, 718 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 2013) (upholding jury verdict finding that local union officials breached their fiduciary duty to their union by expending local union resources to plan the formation of a rival organization while they still were employed by the local)

  • United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners v. Bldg. & Constr. Trades Dep’t, AFL-CIO, 770 F.3d 834 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that the non-violent use of economic pressure, including “intense” economic pressure that may be tortious under state law, is not “extortion” under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO))

  • Wisconsin Education Association Council v. Walker, 705 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2013) (holding, over a strong dissent, that Wisconsin statute stripping “general employee” unions, but not “public safety” unions, of ability to finance associational activities through dues deduction was consistent with the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause)

  • AFL-CIO v. Chao, 409 F.3d 377 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (invalidating a Labor Department regulation requiring unions to file detailed financial reports on trust entities that are neither financed nor controlled by unions)

  • Smith v. District of Columbia, 413 F.3d 86 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (holding that the District of Columbia had been deliberately indifferent to the physical safety of youths placed by the District in “independent living” facilities)

  • Herman v. Springfield Mass. Area Local 497, 201 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 2000) (upholding validity of union election and rejecting Secretary of Labor’s position that a union rule setting forth a qualification for candidacy is per se invalid merely because a high percentage of members choose not to take the steps needed to qualify).

Leon can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..