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Steven M. Chanley

Employment and labor Attorney at San Luis Obispo, CA

5.0   16 reviews
  • Licensed for 33 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1989
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Steven

Learn Steven’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Employment and labor
    Employment litigation; advice and counsel; contract preparation.

    34 years, 1,000 cases

  2. Lawsuits and disputes
    Trade Secret and business litigation.

    34 years, 1,000 cases

Steven M. Chanley has over 25 years' experience representing businesses in employment and business litigation matters exclusively. His practice focuses on litigation and legal advice regarding Wage-Hour Claim Defense; Wrongful Discharge; Retaliation; Employment Discrimination; Trade Secret Misappropriation; Harassment; and Commercial/Business Disputes.

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Contact Steven

Employer Advocates Group
735 Tank Farm Road
Suite 224
San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401-4804
Employer Advocates Group
23832 Rockfield Blvd., Suite 260
Lake Forest, CA, 92630
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5.0 / 5.0
  16 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | May 17, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Every employer needs a Steven, better yet Steve!
Steve has bailed us out of several bs claims and helped us out a ton with our small family run business. Our co has used his expertise in handling everything from discrimination claims, false termination claims and employee theft. If I ever need any employee advice Steve is always quick to respond and very sharp. Like I said previously, every business owner needs a Steve!
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Posted by anonymous | February 27, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional, Efficient, and an Excellent Advocate
Mr. Chanley has provided legal counsel to my business for over a decade and I have found him to be consistently responsive to my firms needs. He is very experienced and pleasant to work with, and we have found him to deliver value that far exceeds his fees.
Posted by Dustin | September 25, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Master of His Craft
Steve has been assisting us in various business endeavors for nearly 15 years. He has always been our sole resource on employment law matters, but has also been incredibly helpful in lending his broad legal understanding to explain general business law. When we've had needs outside his area of expertise, he has referred us to some equally brilliant attorneys in their respective specialties. Steve treats every matter with the care and effort that makes you feel like family. He has also always billed very generously and far more fairly than most attorneys we've engaged. Steve gives me the confidence to trust his advice and removes the stigma of needing to hire an attorney. I can't recommend him highly enough!
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Posted by anonymous | May 1, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Brilliant and always on top of things.
I was introduced to Steve by a counsel at Morrison & Forrester. Over the past few years, Steve has been representing me in an employment dispute involving equity compensation. Steve’s understanding of the nuances of the law is truly exceptional. His dedication to advocate and fight for your rights and the attention to detail is noteworthy. Moreover he is very honest, forthright and very persistent. He will keep things rolling and coming up with new ideas to tackle problems despite the pressure. I can always count on him. Highly recommended!
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Posted by Mark | February 12, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great service to even small clients
We have a small business in San Luis Obispo with about 8 to 10 employees at any given time. Upon the recommendation of another attorney, we retained Steve to represent us when an employee claimed we had discriminated against them. I appreciated that Steve was aggressive in his strategy without incurring excessive hours. I feel that he always explains the options available to us at each step and respects our direction. Steve was sensitive to the small size and limited resources of our company, but I have never felt that I got less than his best service because of our company size. In fact, Steve has responded very quickly when we have had minor employee issues. Steve’s counsel is spiced with just a bit of wit and humor, which helped us get through emotionally charged issues. In my previous career, I had to work with several major law firms and internal corporate counsels. I find Steve’s professionalism and service to be on par with any of the attorneys I have worked with.
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Posted by Pete | March 29, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
A fine attorney
I have worked with Steve for about ten years on employee litigation and personnel practices matters. I recommend him highly. On the litigation front we have been involved with cases in which the matters have been withdrawn, settled and gone through trial and judgement. I found Steve to be knowledgeable about the law, thoughtful and creative about case management strategy and tactics, and having a keen insight into dealing with both federal and state labor agencies. He has advised us on our personnel practices. His advice enabled us improve the quality and fairness of our staff administration and positioned us well in cases in which our employer/employee relationship became adversarial. Steve is thoughtful, calm and persuasive. These are valuable traits when dealing with issues of fairness, the letter and spirit of the law and the “settle” vs. litigate decision.
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Posted by anonymous | March 18, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Simply the best
My team and I have turned to Steve Chanley's expertise for nearly 7 years for our various employment law needs. I consider him a vital partner in our organization's due diligence process in all areas of employment law, whether it is for consultation regarding labor law practices or representation for pending/potential litigation. Steve has always been exceptionally knowledgeable, strategic, and provides realistic advice. Whenever another organization seeks a referral for employment law services, I always refer Steve's services without any hesitation. He is truly among the best in his field.
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Posted by Marla | March 12, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
We hired Steve to negotiate and resolve a contract/labor dispute with a portfolio company. Steve was very responsive, listened well, and provided sound, practical counsel. His ability to de-escalate situations with the opposing party was one of the most valuable aspects of his help. This was a situation that involved several legal parties. Steve was able to work well with both our legal teams and the other company's legal teams. The contracts Steve wrote were concise, efficient, and foresightful. We would not hesitate to hire Steve again if such a need arose for us.
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Posted by Michael | April 15, 2014
I highly recommend Steve Chanley for legal counsel...
Steve Chanley has been my attorney for over 10 years. From our initial meeting I felt a great deal of confidence and trust in Steve. While over the years he has advised me on many human resource issues, his most significant work with me was defending my company in a large wage-hour class action suit. He worked closely with me for months and ultimately traveled to San Francisco to represent me. Steve settled the case ethically and professionally. I have enormous respect for Steve Chanley and I have never doubted his advice or counsel. He listens attentively and gains a clear understanding of every issue we have discussed. Based on his experience and knowledge he is always concise in his practices and his responses to me have always been timely and thorough. I highly recommend Steve Chanley for legal counsel on employment and human resource matters.
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Posted by Francis | August 15, 2013
I recommend Steve Chanley
I have worked with Steve since 2002 and I can't say enough good things about him . He represented me in a trade secret case filed in Superior Court against a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time I did not think there was much hope but Steve successfully opposed every motion the opposing attorney filed in the case. He had the opposing attorney on his heels the whole time and was able to achieve a very favorable outcome.
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Posted by Heather | April 16, 2013
If you have to hire an attorney...he's the one!
I am an independent contractor working as the Controller for small business manufacturing company. In this capacity I frequently have human resource issues come my way. It is never pleasant to need legal help but when this company found itself the target of serious employment allegations I was incredibly grateful they hired Steven Chanley to represent them. I was heavily involved in the process and found Mr. Chanley to be extremely knowledgeable in employment law and very personable to work with. (He even has a sense of humor!) The outcome was better than the Company could have hoped for due to Steven's expertise and experience. The Company now engages him ongoing to head off any potential issues it identifies and to strengthen it's policies. It is not an understatement to say that my client Company would have suffered greatly without Mr. Chanley's support and guidance.
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Posted by Segismundo | March 28, 2013
Excellent service, focus, and commitment--highly recommended
I solicited Steve Chanley’s services on the advice of a business associate who had a positive experience with him. This was after trying two other lawyers in my area. So, my review here is based not only on Steve's performance in and of itself, but also as it compares to others in his field with whom I have had direct experience. Simply put, Steve's performance is heads and shoulders above the others, and in fact the best experience I have ever had with any lawyer. I highly recommend Steve Chanley--and no, we are not related nor am I being paid for this review! He is just very talented, and an overall great guy- and I simply desire for him much continued success.
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Posted by Rakan | March 22, 2013
Not Your Typical Attorney!
I am the President and co-owner of an Aerospace Corporation. I hired Mr. Chanley to represent the Corporation against a class action claim with the EEOC (total of 9 claims). l was extremely impressed with Mr. Chanley communication ability, responsiveness, attention to detail, competency, and professionalism. From the inception to resolution of my legal cases, Mr. Chanley took the lead in every little detail of the cases (preparation of interview/investigation questioners to meeting out of state with federal investigators). Mr. Chanley kept me always informed and I was extremely pleased with his results. Mr. Chanley is a very intelligent professional attorney. He continues to provide me with great insight on a wide variety of legal matters and has helped guide me in the right direction. I would highly, without hesitation, recommend hiring Mr. Chanley for all your employer legal matters.
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Posted by Charles | December 17, 2009
Talk about being there for me!
I am a financial planner and left my job after 8 years to start my own practice. I was referred to Steve from one of his existing clients who was also very pleased with Steve's expertise. Steve was prepared, available, informative, strong, clear and absolutely decisive at my most critical points. He guided me every step of the way, communicated with the opposing attorneys, and made sure I was completely prepared for how to legally and competently defend of my interests. I would recommend Steve to anyone who needs employment and trade secret-related legal work and who wants a good connection to a real and caring attorney
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Posted by Theo | December 17, 2009
Caring, exceptionally sharp and balanced
Mr Chanley is a top notch lawyer. I've had to work with lawyers many times in litigious matters and nobody has filled the role with such a great combination of care and intelligence. I immediately built a trust that he was not in it simply to pad his billing hours. Rather, he wanted to find a resolution to the matter that made the most sense for me by being pragmatic. He always kept in mind the bigger picture of solving the dispute with the least amount of heartache and time if this made the most sense, but also pushing hard against the opposition if this made the most sense. And I had this strong sense of confidence in Mr. Chanley's knowledge and clarity in what was the right path to take, yet I always knew that the choice was mind to make ultimately. He is very intelligent, and resourceful. But for me, most importantly, I always felt safe, cared about, and represented very professionally. In short, I WAS IN VERY GOOD HANDS.!
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Posted by anonymous | January 28, 2008
Client Review
Steven Chanley is an outstanding attorney. I have complete faith that when legal issues arise within my company, he will provide me with sound legal solutions. Steve is extremely easy to talk to and fully explains, to my understanding, the procedures and processes involved in the issues. I highly recommend his services.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 360-450 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Shareholder
  • Employer Advocates Group LC
  • 2002 - Present
  • Shareholder
  • Sinsheimer, Schiebelhut, Baggett & Tangeman
  • 1999 - 2002
  • Attorney
  • Sinsheimer, Schiebelhut, Baggett & Tangeman
  • 1995 - 1999
  • Attorney
  • Morrison & Foerster (Palo Alto)
  • 1990 - 1994
  • Attorney
  • Littler (San Francisco)
  • 1989 - 1990
  • Law Student Intern/Board Agent
  • National Labor Relations Board, Region 20 (San Francisco)
  • 1989 - 1989
  • Summer Associate
  • Cotchett & Illston
  • 1987 - 1987
  • Paralegal Clerk
  • Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (San Francisco)
  • 1984 - 1985
View all work experience


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1989
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1985


  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2020 - Present
  • SLO Bar Assn. Employment Law Section
  • Chair
  • 1999 - Present
  • San Luis Obispo County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1995 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1989 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 1989 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • French

Honors and Awards

  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2003
  • AV Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 1996
  • American Jurisprudence Award
  • Labor Law II
  • 1988
  • American Jurisprudence Award
  • Labor Law I
  • 1987
View all awards


  • San Luis Obispo County Bar Bulletin
  • "Rethinking The 'No Comment Rule' Rule in At-Will Discharges"
  • 2011
  • Short Story Criticism, Volume 103 (Thompson Publishing)
  • "Quest For Order in "Pigeon Feathers": Updike's Use of Christian Mythology
  • 2008

Speaking Engagements

  • Nat'l Assn. of Women Business Owners, Cental Coast
  • Avoiding Top 10 Problematic Employment Practices
  • 2018
  • Santa Maria Human Resources Assn.
  • Form I-9 Compliance
  • 2013
  • Dibuduo & Defendis Insurance
  • Employment Law Update 2013
  • 2013
  • Employer Advisory Council
  • Employment Law Update 2012
  • 2012
  • Mission Community Services Corp.
  • The Laws of Hiring
  • 2011
  • San Luis Obispo County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Current and Pending Supreme Court Employment Law Cases
  • 2011
  • Central Coast Human Resources Association
  • The Laws of Hiring
  • 2011
  • Santa Maria HR Association
  • Recent Developments in Employment Law 2008
  • 2008
  • Santa Maria HR Association
  • The Laws of Hiring
  • 2007
  • Human Resources Assn. of the Central Coast
  • Essential Recordkeeping
  • 2006
  • Employer Advisory Council
  • Selected Topics in Employment Law
  • 2002
  • Van Beurden Insurance Services
  • The Laws of Hiring
  • 2002
  • Santa Maria Personnel Association
  • Employment Law Update 2001
  • 2001
  • Institute For Management Accountants
  • Employment Law Update 2000
  • 2000
  • Central Coast Personnel Assn.
  • Pre-Employment Screening
  • 1999
  • Institute of Management Accountants
  • Recent Trends in Sexual Harassment Law
  • 1998
  • Rotary Club of Nipomo
  • At-Will Employment in California
  • 1997
  • Employer Advisory Council
  • Selected Topics in Employment Law
  • 1997
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (6)
Given (6)
Endorse Steven
Employment and labor Attorney | Jan 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Sometimes a single Avvo answer reveals a lot. The answer of Mr. Chanley was not only accurate and analytic - it was customized to the potential individual needs of the Avvo asker. These are exactly the qualities that every client would look for when hiring an attorney."
Employment and labor Attorney | Aug 27
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Steven is a very knowledgable employment attorney. I would definitely refer employers who are looking for an attorney."
Employment and labor Attorney | Feb 24
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have had Steve as opposing counsel a number of times. He is a strong but fair advocate for his employer clients. I have referred a number of employers to Steve and will do so in the future. He is clearly the best employment law attorney in San Luis Obispo County."
Employment and labor Attorney | Feb 26
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I've always found Mr. Chanley's work to be the highest quality. I have great respect for Steve both personally and professionally."
Employment and labor Attorney | Dec 25
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Steve handled a litigation matter for one of my clients and did a great job. He got the whole case dismissed on a summary judgment."
Employment and labor Attorney | Dec 19
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
View more endorsements
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor
Employment and labor