Founding Partners Stewart Boxer and Michael Gerson celebrate Boxer’s retirement—a remarkable milestone in their firm’s 40-year history
Family and friends of Stewart Boxer gathered last month to celebrate his retirement from the firm he co-founded in 1977 with his colleague and friend Michael Gerson. The event drew some 200 people from throughout the Bay Area’s legal community. Prominent among them were the 20+ attorneys now associated with the firm that Boxer helped grow into a widely respected regional powerhouse protecting the rights of injured workers, accident victims, and the disabled.
Boxer will be joined in retirement by his wife of 55 years, the former United States Senator Barbara Boxer, who retired earlier this year after four terms representing California in the United States Senate and five terms in the House of Representatives. The couple’s children, Doug and Nicole, two of their three grandchildren, and other family members, all of them found in the photos below, lent greatly to the celebratory mood as the large crowd offered Boxer a fond farewell from the joys and rigors of the legal profession he served with such distinction over 40+ years.
Stewart and Barbara, flanked by Stewart’s brother Harold, daughter Nicole, grandchildren Reyna and Zain, son Doug and his wife Amy
Gersons & Boxers: Michael, Barbara, Stewart, Jamie
On both the short- and long-term agenda: more time with the grandchildren
The son and daughter offer a few words
Son Doug with wife Amy and children Reyna and Zain
Enjoying the fruits of many years’ good labor
With firm colleagues Warren Pulley, Bert Arnold, Dikla Dolev and Hillary Nakano
With longtime labor leader Chuck Mack
With Boxer & Gerson Partner Gary Lee and his wife, Lisa Oyama
Pat Woodward, Jim Beno, and Jesse Juarez of the IAM Lodge 190
Harold Boxer, artist
Stewart, the son of a Teamster, with Teamsters Rome Aloise, Chuck Mack, and Joe Silva
With Boxer & Gerson Associate Deirdre Mochel
With Steve Kazan, founding partner of Oakland law firm Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood
With the evening’s entertainment, longtime musician and former client, Lloyd Gregory
Managing Partner John Harrigan, the evening’s MC
With humor and heart: fellow Founding Partner Michael Gerson at the podium
Final toast to a job and a career well done…
Boxer & Gerson, LLP has once again earned top Tier 1 rankings for Oakland law firms in two different practice areas by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the Eighth Edition of “Best Law Firms.” The firm earned Tier 1 recognition in the workers’ compensation area for the third consecutive year, while its product liability services earned Tier 1 ranking for the first time.Product liability is a subset of the firm’s personal injury practice area, headed up by Partners Gary Roth and Associate Attorney Eric Ritigstein.Meanwhile, the remaining nearly 20 attorneys in the firm practice in the workers’ compensation area, making it the largest worker’s comp firm in Northern California.
In addition, three of the firm’s attorneys—Co-Founding Partner Michael Gerson, Managing Partner John Harrigan, and recently retired Partner John Anton, were honored individually as Best Lawyers® for 2018. Gerson and Harrigan were named on the claimants’ side in workers’ compensation, while Anton was honored on the plaintiffs’ side in personal injury and product liability.
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. This year, the rankings incorporated 7.3 million evaluations of more than 54,000 individual leading lawyers collected by Best Lawyers® in its most recent annual survey.
The survey solicited feedback from clients on firms’ practice groups, level of expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm.
Boxer & Gerson Managing Partner John Harrigan once again noted the firm’s appreciation for the recognition by a respected third party.
“The fact that these awards recognize specific feedback from clients and peers in the legal profession is of course gratifying,” he said. “No one ever thinks about winning awards when they’re faced with the challenge of simply handling cases for clients one by one. The most important award is when we have simply done collective good work for our clients.”
Boxer & Gerson, LLP’s Justin Litvack recently celebrated a couple of banner days with the California State Bar, where he has been a member since 2005. On September 30, he made a presentation to the bar’s annual meeting in San Diego, where he spoke on the subject of, “Mastering the MSC” (mandatory settlement conference). His talk offered in-depth discussion and tips on how to best prepare for such conferences. Effective framing and presentation to the judge is one critical component, as is making certain one’s client is fully apprised and updated on the nature of the conference and what might be expected of him or her.
The following day, Litvack became a member of the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Executive Committee, which governs the organization’s Workers’ Compensation Section. The committee meets approximately six times per year and performs a number of tasks, including outreach and education to the public and production of a quarterly newsletter. Litvack joins his Boxer & Gerson colleague Maria Sager on the committee, giving the firm a solid presence in this active force in the workers’ compensation community.
Litvack is a Bay Area native who went north to the University of Washington for his undergraduate degree before returning to enroll at the Santa Clara University School of Law. He came to many of his insights on the workers’ comp system by spending the first seven years of his career on the defense side of the table, representing insurance companies and large self-insured employers contesting workers’ comp claims. Over time, he grew uncomfortable with instances in which companies attempted to deny claims to workers who were clearly injured and in need of redress. That is when he decided to join Boxer & Gerson and align himself with bringing justice to injured workers.
Some 500 people turned out to honor retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer on November 10 at a special banquet at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The event was sponsored by the Bay Area Union Labor Party, a political action committee and forum for the cause of working people and unions. The party is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 7.
Boxer, wife of Boxer & Gerson Co-Founder Stewart Boxer, was presented with the group’s Robert “Bob” Morales Leadership Award in recognition of her 24 years’ service representing California in the United States Senate. Morales was a longtime labor leader in the Bay Area who died in 2015.
Senator Boxer was also noted for her previous service in the House of Representatives and the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
Boxer & Gerson staff members were well-represented at the event. The group flanking Boxer in the photo below includes (l-r): attorneys Warren Pulley, Gary Lee, Dennis Popalardo, Stewart Boxer, Julius Young, Michael Gerson (with his wife Jamie to his left), Jenny Jerez, Justin Litvack, John Harrigan, and Lee’s wife Lisa Oyama on the far right.
Stewart Boxer and Michael Gerson founded Boxer & Gerson in 1977. The firm has earned a reputation over the years in the Bay Area and beyond for aggressive and intelligent representation of injured and infirm clients who often had little other recourse in pursuing a just settlement of their claims.
The firm is also recognized by peers and media, most recently earning U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” awards as Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” for metropolitan Oakland for workers’ compensation and personal injury.
In a repeat of its performance ratings last year from the prestigious U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings, Boxer & Gerson, LLP has again been named a Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” for the metropolitan Oakland area in two of its specialty practice areas: workers’ compensation and personal injury. The awards are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the respective fields, and other factors.
This year’s rankings attracted the highest-ever number of participating firms and client ballots. More than 10,000 attorneys provided some 800,000 law firm assessments, and 10,000 clients+ provided more than 90,000 evaluations.
“We’re pleased again to be recognized in a well-respected national selection process, and the combination of peer and client reviews make these awards particularly meaningful,” said Boxer & Gerson Managing Partner John Harrigan. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about showing up every morning and doing your best to serve the needs of your clients. Whatever awards come from those efforts are just icing on the cake.”
Michael Gerson, co-founder of Boxer & Gerson, LLP, will be honored tonight by the California State Bar with a “lifetime achievement” award at its 89th Annual Meeting in San Diego. The festivities will take place on the conference’s second of four nights at the Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel. Gerson will be one of six legal professionals presented with “Steve Jimenez Memorial Special Recognition Awards” in a variety of fields.
Gerson launched Boxer & Gerson with partner Stewart Boxer in 1977 with the express purpose of providing high quality, compassionate legal representation to personal injury clients and injured workers, who had often been maligned or forgotten by employers and left to fend for themselves in an unfamiliar and daunting legal system. Over the years, the firm added Social Security disability representation to its practice areas and became a dominant and widely respected force in representing injured and disabled workers and accident victims.
Gerson has earned the respect of clients, peers, and judges and even opposing counsel over a 42-year legal career that has come to be defined by his great integrity, preparation, and commitment to the law. He has been recognized since 1995 as among the “Best Lawyers in America,” and as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” since 2005. Recently, he earned “Best Lawyers®” recognition as 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” for workers’ compensation in the Oakland metropolitan area.
A certified workers’ compensation specialist since 1980, Gerson has litigated thousands of claims before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. He has also argued cases before the California Supreme Court and the California Courts of Appeal.
His professional service activities have included a tenure on the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Legal Specialization Committee, which he has served as committee chair. He is also a past president of the California Applicants’ Attorney’s Association (1989-1990), where he continues to sit on the Board of Governors.
He has also been on the program faculty for the UCSF Medical School Department of Occupational Medicine and has lectured before UC Berkeley Extension, the Industrial Claims Association, the California Society of Industrial Medicine, the California CEB, and the Conference of California Workers’ Compensation Judges. He has also made countless appearances in front of trade union and other groups, advising them on their workplace rights.
Having harbored a longtime interest in both the performance and legal aspects of professional sports, Gerson was especially honored in 2012 to be selected by the NFL Players’ Association as its panel attorney for workers’ compensation, representing players on the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and all other association members with a claim in northern California.
A native of Alameda, Gerson earned his undergraduate degree in business from San Diego State University before returning to the Bay Area to earn a law degree from the University of San Francisco. He and his wife Jamie reside in the East Bay, where they raised two children, a son, Major Michael Andrew Gerson, USMC, and daughter, Carly Gerson Santos, RN.