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David Wachtel

Employment and labor Attorney at Washington, DC

5.0   33 reviews
  • State Years
    Maryland - MD 27 years
    Dist. of Columbia - DC 32 years
    California - CA 34 years
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State MD
    Acquired 1997
    Status
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 32 years
    State DC
    Acquired 1991
    Status
    Good Standing No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 34 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1990
    Status
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About David

Learn David’s areas of practice.

5
Practice areas
  1. Contracts and agreements
    20%
    Negotiating employment agreements and severance agreements, from basic to complex

    31 years

  2. Discrimination
    20%
    Race, sex, age, disability, national origin and religion

    31 years

  3. Employment and labor
    20%
    Discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of employment contract, workplace torts, and whistleblower protection

    31 years

  4. Sexual harassment
    20%
    Quid pro quo and hostile work environment

    31 years

  5. Wrongful termination
    20%
    Whistleblower retaliation and discrimination

    31 years

David Wachtel has practiced employment law for individual employees in Washington, D.C. since 1993. Recently, he has been selected by colleagues as a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and by Law Dragon as one of the Top 500 Plaintiff's Employment Lawyers in the country. 

Dave's work includes trial court and administrative litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He has successfully represented employees with claims of race, sex, age, and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, violation of civil service rights, interference with FMLA rights, and retaliation on the basis of whistleblower activity in the nuclear, aviation, defense, and finance industries.

Dave offers individuals suffering job loss or workplace harassment individual attention, lean, versatile strategies, and a calming influence on (almost) every stressful situation.

Since joining Trister, Ross in February 2016, Dave has broadened his practice to advise dozens of non-profit organizations on all manner of employment law policy and compliance questions. He offers organizations an especially informed and experienced understanding of employment policy and how to achieve resolution of workplace disputes.

Location

Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC
1666 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 500
Washington, DC, 20009

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Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  33 customer reviews
5 Star
 
97%
4 Star
 
3%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
0%
1 Star
 
0%
Posted by anonymous | September 28, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent compassionate service
I contacted Dave when my former employer violated my severance agreement. Dave helped guide me through a difficult negotiation, one in which I was forced to accept a "less bad" outcome for the sake of moving on with my life. David quickly assimilated the facts, worked with me in thinking through the trade-offs between litigating and settling, and helped me get the matter resolved through settlement before I incurred large-scale fees.
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Posted by anonymous | September 18, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent
Dave negotiated a settlement in a wrongful termination matter involving a family member. He quickly achieved an acceptable resolution and avoided legal proceedings. Dave was always available and responsive to questions, always thoughtful, always planning ahead. He is exceptionally good at explaining legal issues in plain language, and asking questions. Dave was always focused on getting a good result, and he did just that.
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Posted by anonymous | September 8, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very glad I found him!
Dave represented me in a complex and distressing issue and I am very grateful that I found him. Throughout the process, he listened to my concerns and always kept my goals at the forefront of the discussion. He was patient and responsive during a stressful and emotional time and this was a great comfort. He always gave me a clear picture of next steps and a realistic understanding of possible outcomes. Thanks to him, a difficult situation was resolved successfully. I would recommend him to others without reservations.
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Posted by anonymous | June 17, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Attorney
David helped me navigate the difficult process of separating from an employer that I had worked with for many years. While it was an amicable separation, it was also rather complex given certain unique aspects of my compensation structure. Throughout the negotiation process, David helped me focus on what was important and ultimately craft an agreement that all parties were pleased with. I highly recommend David to any executive facing a complex separation process.
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Posted by anonymous | April 25, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
David saved my health, my career, and my life!
I do not have enough words to describe the type of top notch lawyer Dave is, if he takes your case. I was in the unfortunate situation of facing consistent and cruel retaliation for having complained of discrimination. Someone told me Dave was the best lawyer I could get. I went through intense trauma, panic attacks, sleepless nights, and was even diagnosed as a result, with PTSD. I felt trapped. Stuck. My situation at times felt hopeless. Throughout this agony, Dave never failed to believe in me. He supported me. He also wrote the best briefs, researched the laws, updated what needed to be updated. He gave me hope when I had lost all hope. He went beyond the call of duty and even once, shortened his vacation to deal with a matter in my case. In the end, just as the agency was once again trying to terminate me wrongly, under the most adverse conditions for me, when I was literally at the end of my rope, Dave calmly and very smoothly, negotiated a miraculous settlement for me, identified future needs even I did not know I would have, which allowed me to leave under the utmost favorable conditions, regain my health, and start afresh somewhere else. Dave saved my life. If he takes your case, consider that you won the lottery. One way or the other, Dave will come through for you. You cannot find a better attorney: compassionate, calm with his client, knowledgeable about the law, supportive, and calmly aggressive with the other side when it comes to his client’s interests. The minute he steps, you finally get respect. I cannot recommend Dave enough.
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Posted by anonymous | April 17, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Attorney, Exceptional Person!
Dave Wachtel was a saving grace to me and my family during the most difficult time in our lives. He represented us in a highly complex case that was wrought with emotion; his earnest belief in the law, his patience, and work ethic were inspiring during a time of doubt and real despair. He not only achieved a victory for us in our lawsuit, but, more importantly, he inspired us as a person. It was a privilege to have him represent us. We will be thankful for the rest of our lives.
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Posted by anonymous | January 14, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Very Best
Dave is extremely smart, responsive, has a good sense of humor, and a good bedside manner dealing with people that, by definition, have had something bad happen to them. He's never condescending, actively solicited my input, and has an amazing way with words when negotiating with my ex-employer to achieve a just solution (for both parties) while politely laying out various bad scenarios that will occur without a just resolution. I felt afterwards that I achieved the best possible resolution, that we didn't leave a penny on the table, and we avoided a messy lawsuit. In my opinion, Dave Wachtel is a rock star and my ex-employer had to be impressed by his stature, his ability, and this positively impacted the end result. Hiring Dave Wachtel tells your ex-employer that you mean business, and he gives you the best chance to quickly achieve a fair solution for the employee without unnecessarily antagonizing the employer. It's a small world. Finally, Dave is fair with his billing, he's definitely not inflating his billable hours, he's a good human being.
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Posted by anonymous | November 26, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Exit Strategy
The letter you wrote is perfect. It sounds like me and is clear and reasonable - and not manipulative. You may consider yourself to be cynical but you have heart and humor and you've made a rough week feel like a victory. Send me your bill. It will be the first time in my life I've paid a lawyer and what you did for me and our family is priceless. Peace of mind is unquantifiable.
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Posted by anonymous | October 31, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Extraordinary Attorney !
Mr. Wachtel is an extraordinary attorney. He understands all of the nuanced details that matter in a case. His superb negotiating abilities and strategic skills make him a leading attorney. I would refer him to family and friends alike. Both my husband and I have hired him to manage complex legal issues.
Posted by anonymous | June 8, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Objective, direct, and supportive
I hired Dave to represent me in a dispute with my employer dealing with discrimination. As is the case with these kinds of disputes, I was emotionally drained and coming to terms with what it meant for me, as a person, to be in this situation. Dave was recommended to me by a friend who simply said, "Dave is the best. You can't get any better than that." My friend was right. Dave was extremely efficient with his time (and my money), he was professional and objective, he always considered my opinion and my feelings, and he was clear with me about his recommendations. Aside from his wealth of experience in tough negotiations, he has a gift for seeing through the noise, reading the opposition's position, and using it to his client's advantage. Because of Dave, we had a successful negotiation with my employer. What's more, I felt that I was supported by Dave through the whole process; he was always available when I needed him to be, he was ready with a quick joke or success story if I needed some cheerleading, and he was always thinking one step ahead about how he could get the best deal for me. Dave will not be your best friend but he will be your best advocate, no matter what, and that's priceless.
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Posted by Andrew | May 16, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Achieved positive outcome from a difficult employment situation
I hired David after I faced a retaliatory dismissal. He was diligent in learning the complex facts of the case and laying out a strategy to achieve my goals. He asked the right questions and knew the case law extremely well. He conducted himself in a very professional manner, advocating for me with my former employer and keeping me in the loop every step of the way. In the end, we reached an agreement that met my initial goals, and considering the inherent tensions in the matter it all went smoothly. I would definitely recommend working with him in similar situations.
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Posted by anonymous | October 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Assertive, intelligent and feared by opposing counsel
I was in an unfortunate situation on two occasions and needed a good attorney to go up against a bias filled agency in the powerful machine of the US government. I was a overachiever for decades and was viewed as a threat. David was assertive in landing a good settlement the first time and spoke truth to power. On the second settlement breach, David went after the agency with vigor and they wanted to quickly settle because they knew they were wrong and would lose. David would consult with me on each item and we had a understanding before he went back to the agency. The agency settled within 2 months unheard of. This largely due to his extensive negotiation experience in specializing in eeo discrimination and contract violation. I received a very good settlement and I retired because I didn't want to work for a backward organization anymore. David has an excellent reputation delivering for his clients. If you need a lawyer hire David because the government attorneys fear him.
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Posted by Lee | October 3, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thoughtful, strategic and effective
I engaged David twice - once when higher-ups in the association for which I worked were attempting to force me out while I wanted to stay, and again when the same situation occurred years later, and I wanted out. Both times he reviewed the chronology, looked at all the angles, and gave excellent advice before tackling the association on my behalf. David determined that they had been sailing close to the wind on a number of leave and disability issues, and that, combined with other issues, carried the day. I cannot thank him enough, and have recommended him to all my colleagues with workplace issues.
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Posted by anonymous | May 16, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
HIRE HIM!
Dave Wachtel has been my attorney for a long time. He is one of the smartest, toughest, and funniest lawyers you could find. I needed to find the best civil rights attorney to represent me in an EEO case against my employer and consulted with a friend who is a partner at well-respected firm that represents the employer in discrimination cases. Without hesitation, my friend recommended Dave Wachtel and stated he is one of the best discrimination attorneys in this country and one he wouldn’t want to be the opposing counsel for. Best advice I have ever received. My case involved claims of sexual harassment, retaliation and hostile work environment at a Federal law enforcement agency. We won a Final Agency Decision on all claims and during subsequent settlement discussions Dave’s negotiation skills and experience resulted in a very successful settlement that far exceeded my expectations and even my employer stated I had a great attorney. Dave is everything you need and want in a discrimination attorney: experienced, brilliant, responsive, genuine, dedicated, manages expectations, patient, and most importantly, he has a sense of humor and is witty. Navigating through the EEO process is difficult and taxing and there is only one attorney you want navigating that ship through the storm and that is Dave.
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Posted by anonymous | February 9, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I felt fortunate to have him on my side!
A few years ago, I found myself in a complicated dispute with my employer, and it was not easy for me to secure legal representation. Most of the lawyers I consulted did not understand my case fully or else did not want to take my case given the amount of work involved and the still unpredictable outcome. My prospects looked bleak, and I was scared and worried. Fortunately, I ended up in the most capable hands of David Wachtel. He took over my complex case in the midst of the ongoing mediation process. This would have been a challenge for any attorney, particularly for the busy lawyer that Dave Wachtel is, juggling multiple clients and cases. But he quickly understood the facts of my case, cutting through the employer’s arguments and identifying the most important legal precedents to strengthen our negotiating position. It became clear that we would settle this case well, and so we did, to my satisfaction. I am not sure we would have settled so well if it had not been for Dave Wachtel’s persuasive skills and creative arguments. David Wachtel represents his clients with honesty, integrity, and dedication. He will not tell you that you have a good argument if you don’t. But he will have patience if you need time to come to terms with some difficult points, and he will carefully guide you while you take in his views on the matter based on his realistic assessments grounded in his long experience as an employment and civil rights attorney. Responsive and conscientious, he has always found time to get back to me, responding to my mails late at night, on weekends and holidays, and during his trips, especially if the matter was urgent. I highly recommend David Wachtel for any type of employment dispute and even beyond. He is knowledgeable, talented, absolutely brilliant, and deeply committed to the cause of his clients. I feel fortunate to have had this excellent, compassionate attorney on my side in the difficult situation, and I am happy with the outcome.
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Posted by Steve Whiteley | January 25, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Job discrimination Nuclear power industry unjust discharge
David is very professional, extremely intelligent and an expert in employment law. My case was against nuclear power industry employer. David is knowledgeable in all aspects of it's many regulations and prior court rulings. David asks and respects your input while treating you with the upmost respect. He evaluates your case carefully and thoroughly and explains everything. He then works relentless through completion. He surroundes himself with colleagues of the same values. I respect David and consider him a credit to his profession. What made it easy for me as a client he truly cared and involved you in any settlement of legal decisions. I'm very happy with the outcome.
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Posted by martin l epstein | January 21, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Rose Colored Glasses
Initially had Consult w/Mr. Wachtel to review my situation and the pros/cons of hiring legal council or working through situation. Mr. Wachtel after hearing the issues, suggested I stand pat as the situation evolved to see if what was stated by employer would in fact occur. As time passed and employer became more and more out of communication, I thought my best strategy in dealing ww situation was to hire legal representation. Mr. Wachtel took my issue, did continual research, not stopping w just scratching the surface and used this information to better educate me as well as not allow my employer to throw its' weight Mr. Wachtel and I met several times reviewing my current situation and what I was led to believe would occur. He brought me to realize, as the saying goes, there are "thrre sides to every story" Mr. Wachtel took over ALL communications w/employer and basically "drove the ship." In the end, approximately seven [7] months transpired before ties w/employer were completely severed. During this period Mr. Wachtel was successful in negotiating, as we both agreed, an arrangement that was acceptable. He did not make any decisions w/o first checking back w/me to explain and develop responses which were fair and reasonable. In the end, while I came seeking advice to a situation in which I saw things through "rosey glasses" I was quickly made aware, my employer had a different set of these proverbial glasses and as such either I needed to see my ophthalmologist or I was going to have blurry vision for a long time. Mr. Wachtel was excellent in what he did for me - he was personable, friendly, attentive and very understanding - for this as well as the outcome, I am very appreciative and would recommend him highly.
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Posted by Andy | November 18, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Non-Profit work
I am a fellow attorney who had the privilege to work with Mr. Wachtel when dealing with issues involving a non-profit I am associated with. Mr. Wachtel was extremely easy to work with and very knowledgeable in the law. As an attorney I respected the fact that he gave clear and concise opinions and was very responsive to my organization. As a representative for the organization, I would recommend him highly in his area of expertise.
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Posted by anonymous | August 10, 2015
Fantastic Firm
David Wachtel is a very knowledgeable attorney and his professional shows in every aspect of his work. He stood by me during an OSHA case lasting 4 years. Always on the offensive, his efforts and that of his team kept me appraised of my AIR21 case as we methodically moved through each level of the case. I believe his attention to detail is unmatched in the industry. I highly recommend him!
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Posted by anonymous | August 7, 2015
Highly recommended attorney
David was instrumental in my achieving a successful outcome for my legal matter. Mine was a complex issue (technical, organizational, and legally) and David quickly understood the issues and developed a strategy to get to the best result. He is a very effective communicator with both his client and with the opposing party. David keeps a cool head during tense negotiations and ensures his client remains focused on the ultimate goal. An added benefit is David's style, he is easy to work with, is very accessible and responsive. The quality of David's legal was impeccable and was the key to my success. I researched my attorney selection very carefully and was very happy with my choice. I highly recommend David.
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Cost

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Contact for Details

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC
  • 2016 - Present
  • Partner
  • Bernabei & Wachtel, PLLC
  • 2005 - 2016
  • Member
  • Rose & Rose, PC
  • 1993 - 2005
  • Associate
  • Weinberg, Bergeson & Newman
  • 1992 - 1993
  • Associate
  • O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
  • 1989 - 1991
View all work experience

Education

  • University of Texas School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor with honors
  • 1989
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1984

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Quindley v. Lynch (DOJ)
  • Final Agency Decision found discrimination and retaliation on all counts and awarded promotion, damages, and fees
  • Budzynski v. Burns (NRC)
  • After trial, awarding promotion, back pay, and attorney’s fees
  • Hilton v. Transcom, Inc. et al
  • Employer's partial motion to dismiss denied. Case has been resolved.
View all legal cases

Associations

  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1997 - Present
  • Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • 1996 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 1990 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Law Dragon
  • One of the 500 top employment lawyers for employees in the United States
  • 2020
  • Top Lawyer -- Employment Law
  • Washingtonian Magazine
  • 2020
  • 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
  • Lawdragon
  • 2018
  • Admitted to CLEL
  • College of Labor & Employment Lawyers (CLEL)
  • 2017
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Superlawyers
  • 2017
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Superlawyers
  • 2016
  • Civil Rights, Employment
  • Best Lawyers
  • 2016
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers
  • 2015
  • Client's Choice
  • Avvo
  • 2015
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Superlawyers
  • 2015
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2014
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2014
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2013
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2013
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2012
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2012
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2011
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2011
  • Employment Litigation -- Plaintiff
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2010
  • Civil Rights
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2010
  • Civil Righs
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2009
  • Best Civil Rights and Employment Lawyers in Washington
  • Washingtonian Magazine
  • 2009
  • Best Civil Rights Lawyers in Washington
  • Washingtonian Magazine
  • 2007
  • Best civil rights attorneys in Washington
  • Washingtonian Magazine
  • 2004
  • Outstanding Notes Editor
  • Texas Law Review
  • 1989
  • Outstanding Research
  • Texas Law Review
  • 1988
View all awards

Publications

  • Policy & Practice
  • Amended Disabilities Act Widens Protection
  • 2009
  • Policy & Practice
  • Interactive Process for Hiring the Disabled
  • 2007
  • The HR Specialist
  • What Does Broad New Definition of ‘Retaliation’ Mean to You?
  • 2006
  • You & the Law
  • Shop Smart for Insurance Against Employee Bias Claims
  • 1999
  • You & The Law
  • Managing Your Employees' Emotional Disability Claims,
  • 1999
  • You & the Law
  • Sexual Harassment: Supreme Court Says You're Safe if You Exercise "Reasonable Care." What Does That Mean?
  • 1998
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Annual Convention
  • Addressing Smart Technology: Ethical and Evidentiary Issues
  • 2015
  • Webcast
  • Sexual Orientation and Identity in Employment Law
  • 2014
  • Labor & Employment Section
  • Smart Phone Discovery, Privacy, and Practice -- a Braver Newish World
  • 2014
  • Webcast
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Drones and Privacy
  • 2012
  • Seminar on Issues in the Administration of Justice
  • Litigating a Civil Case -- Summary Judgment and Pretrial Issues
  • 2012
  • Seminar on Issues in the Administration of Justice
  • Summary Judgment Motions and Pretrial Issues
  • 2012
  • National Institute of Business Management
  • Age Discrimination--Supreme Court Spurs New Litigation
  • 2005
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (5)
Given (6)
Endorse David
Employment and labor Attorney | Feb 04
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I worked with Dave for several years and endorse him wholeheartedly. He treats each client as the unique person they are, and crafts his strategy and approach to match the client's unique needs and the specific facts of the employment problem."
Employment and labor Attorney | Jan 26
Relationship: Co-worker
"I worked with Dave for more than 10 years and have known him for 30. He is smart, honest, well versed in the law and dedicated to protecting employee rights"
Employment and labor Attorney | Oct 11
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Excellent lawyer, dedicated to his clients, zealous, and level headed."
Civil rights Attorney | Sep 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Dave Wachtel without reservation. He is an unusual lawyer insofar as he combines extreme intelligence, practical know-how and savvy, deep commitment to his clients, and remarkable efficiency. It is rare and invaluable to find a lawyer like him."
Employment and labor Attorney | Sep 12
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"David and I have both worked together and been opposing counsel. When I have a tough employment law issue I need to discuss, I call David. David is smart, tough, and hardworking. He gives his all for his clients. David is primarily an employee-side attorney, but also benefits from his representation of some management-side clients. David is my top choice for employment law referrals in the DC area. I endorse this lawyer."
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor

Avvo Contributions

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Washington Employment and labor Lawyer David Wachtel
David Wachtel
Employment and labor Attorney
Washington, DC
Licensed for 34 years