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Heidi A Machen

Employment and labor Attorney at San Francisco, CA

4.3   12 reviews
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1996
    Active No misconduct found

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

About Heidi

Learn Heidi’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Discrimination
    In 2013, our office won a Plaintiff's verdict for disability harassment in a wrongful termination lawsuit. I have also obtained up to six figure settlements in mediations for clients who suffered termination motivated by discriminatory intent.

    16 years

  2. Employment and labor
    Advocate mainly for Plaintiffs who have been wrongfully terminated because of discrimination or whistleblower action. Pursue unpaid wages and penalties for clients. Review and negotiate severance agreements and employment contracts. Have also represented public employees in administrative proceedings.

    16 years

  3. Wrongful termination
    Advise and advocate on behalf of clients who have been terminated for unlawful reasons such as discrimination, whistleblower action or other public policy violations.

    16 years

  4. Administrative law
    Advocate on behalf of clients whose business depends on being licensed or permitted by a government entity. When their livelihood is jeopardized by regulations, I negotiate with or fight bureaucracy to keep them in business. Represent clients at administrative hearings in such venues as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Alcoholic Beverage Control, Office of Administrative Hearings, State Personnel Board, Rent Board and San Francisco Board of Appeals.

    19 years

  5. Landlord or tenant
    Advise and represent San Francisco landlords and tenants on the complex local and state laws governing their relationships. Scope may include interpretation of lease or HOA or TIC agreement, prosecuting or defending Unlawful Detainer actions, and negotiating move-out or stay agreements. Venues range from the conference room to Rental Arbitration Board to Superior Court.

    16 years

Since 2008, Heidi has specialized in employment, regulatory, landlord-tenant and contracts law. Prior to private practice, Heidi served a dozen years in executive positions in local and state government.  


Machen Law
345 Franklin St Ste 204
San Francisco, CA, 94102

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4.3 / 5.0
  12 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Glen | June 2, 2017
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Ms. Machen is the best, not only did she help me get my job back but i was offered a full time position with the company. Thank you so much for all your help.
Posted by Michael | April 28, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Satisfied Representation
After being dismissed from my work because of a physical disability, I hired Ms. Machen to represent me. From the get-go, she carefully counseled me on my options and immediately wrote a strong letter to my employer laying out the legal missteps they had made, including discrimination and wage and hour violations. Within two months of my contacting her, she negotiated a settlement that will give me financial stability while I continue to recuperate and take the next steps in my career. Throughout, I appreciated Ms. Machen’s determination and ability to exceed my goals and her always keeping me in the loop on our progress
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Posted by Maria | April 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very attentive. Always returned calls in a timely manner!
Posted by Danny Mac | June 10, 2014
Major Victory For My Business and Investment!!!
Ms. Machen came to the rescue of my business and commercial realestate investment in early 2013 when I needed to end a partnership that had gone bad. She is an extremely smart and flexible attorney who untangled a very complex set of legal problems and put me in a much better position than when we hired her. I can honestly say that her legal services were a very good investment because Ms. Machen saved me tens of thousands of dollars by negotiating a very favorable final deal and covering all the legal "bases" which forced my former partner into having to be honest and keep his contractual commitments. Just recently, when my wife needed an employment law attorney in early 2014, we returned to Ms. Machen and she gave us the information we needed to make the best possible decisions during a very difficult time for us. As Ms. Machen would say, she takes her “counselor-at-law” title very seriously. In our experience, Ms. Machen brings compassion, responsiveness, humanity and honesty to provide valuable options for her clients
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Posted by Leinaala | May 31, 2014
Heidi Machen changed my Life
When I unexpectedly and suddenly lost my job, I was extremely depressed, struggling to make ends meet and believed that my employer had discriminated against me. Fortunately, I contacted and engaged Heidi Machen who interviewed me about my experience, gathered the necessary evidence to prove my case and gave me a straight assessment of my chances for winning a wrongful termination claim. She listened from the very beginning and gave me the strong guidance I needed. Ms. Machen worked hard for me and used her lawyerly skills of negotiation and communication to achieve a favorable result within a relatively short time without having to go to trial. She kept me in the loop throughout. I greatly appreciate her taking me on as a client and highly recommend her as an attorney to other employees who have been treated unfairly in the workplace.
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Posted by Jerry | October 14, 2013
Great planning session. Smart lawyer.
Ms Machen is a very practical and smart lawyer. I went to her in some confusion about a strange interaction with my employer. She helped me figure out that I didn't have a legal claim yet, but how I could protect myself if my employer continues to harass me. It was great advice and a very worthwhile 2-hour planning session.
Posted by anonymous | March 26, 2013
Professional and friendly
Heidi has been handling a wrongful termination case for me which is still in progress. She has excellent communication skills and a great personality and always knows exactly what the options are likelihoods are. Her demand letter to the company was well written and she has taken initiative to follow up with the process. She's also gone out of her way a few times helping me with things not directly related to the case. It's been a real pleasure working with her.
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Posted by Vaheed John Mojabi | August 12, 2012
Heidi what a nice LADY!
When a government regulatory agency denied me a permit for which I had waited for decades, I hired Heidi. She is a positive, bright, informed, highly connected, pleasant, and healthy woman with great communication and fast and effective brain. In a short period of time, she helped me to obtain my permit and gave me regular updates on her progress. If you have to hire an attorney to deal with government bureaucracy, hire Heidi because she knows how it works.
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Posted by anonymous | August 30, 2010
Great help on a small claim
Heidi helped me with a small claim. She anticipated what the defendant would say and I was ready with documentation dis-proving their case. She was very personable and kept me informed throughout the process.
Posted by anonymous | April 15, 2009
Good employment law advice
I hired Ms Machen to advise me after an employer laid me off. She gave me valuable info about the employer's responsibility for paying me for my remaining vacation time. I collected two months of pay that I wouldn't have got otherwise. Thanks!
Posted by Eric | May 27, 2014
Lazy lawyer
Sadly, Heidi did not provide the level of service that I expected. She told me that I had a "strong" employment case and when she had my retainer fee, I ended up doing much of the work. She drafted a poorly written letter, had me make a determination about what aspects of my case pertained to the law, which she gave me to read and interpret, then I had to edit her letter. When the opposing counsel responded denying the claim, she didn't write back or fight back with a rebuttal. Instead she took my money and their lies/excuses about the circumstances of my termination and sat back. Then she didn't respond to me after my repeated attempts to get simple answers from her about whether or not she'd contacted the opposing counsel. This is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name for being lazy and stealing your money. It's too bad too, because I'm sure she's a decent person in her personal life.
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Posted by Frustrated customer | August 8, 2013
Waste of money
If you want a nice person to talk and pay for it, Heidi is the best candidate. If you need a good attorney, look somewhere else. When she took my case, she told me that she has experience and knows what to do. When after 2 letters she sent to the defendants, the issue was not resolved and they clearly ignored her, she started avoiding my calls and emails.She started saying that going to court she would charge a lot of money. As soon as i clarified to her that the money is not an issue, she admitted she does not know what to do. Her exact words from her email. I just copy and paste."I am looking for a theory on which to proceed should this go forward. I wanted him (my previous attorney) to provide me any insight he had on causes of action. Without a cause of action, I can't bring a lawsuit. I need a "legal theory." I wander Isn't she supposed to know this herself?. despite at the beginning she multiple times told that she has experience and know how we are going to act. She even called me one time and told me:" I was swimming in my swimming pool and got a new brilliant idea what to do". In addition she loves to overcharge. She provides very vague monthly statements and if you ask her for specifics, you will see double charges and clear attempts to "meet" the desired amount. And one more thing, she stated that she is the most affordable attorney in this field. Not true as well. My research reviled that 95% of attorneys charge same $250 per hour. But hopefully, they do not overcharge you, and play fair game, so, at the end you are going to pay less for better service, because they will know what they do. Now, in my opinion, she created damage since she showed my opponent that i have nothing against them, let alone the fact that i need to hire another attorney, and start every thing from again and pay for the same what she was supposed to do.
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  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check


AVVO RATING 9.4 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Machen Law Firm
  • 2009 - Present
  • Executive Director
  • City and County of San Francisco
  • 2005 - 2008
  • Public Affairs Manager
  • Bay Area Water Transit Authority
  • 2001 - 2005
  • Staff Attorney
  • Office Of Citizen Complaints
  • 2001 - 2001
  • Legislative Aide
  • San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • 1997 - 2001
View all work experience


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1996
  • San Francisco State Unv
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1990

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Myres v. SF Housing Authority
  • Jury awarded Plaintiff's verdict
  • Dept. of Social Services v. Gutierrez and Alvarado
  • Judge ruled in favor of one licensee, allowing her to maintain her license. Judge revoked other licensee but allowed her to continue serving clients in other facilities.
  • Muraira v. Music School
  • 100% favorable judgment for client


  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel
  • Board of Directors
  • 2017 - Present
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member - Women's Caucus
  • 2012 - Present
  • San Francisco City Democratic Club
  • Executive Officer
  • 2000 - Present
  • Business Networking International
  • Treasurer
  • 2011 - 2012
  • Networking Events for Women Attorneys
  • Member
  • 2011 - 2012
View all associations

Honors and Awards

  • Presidential Award of Merit
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • 2016
  • Advocacy Council
  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel
  • 2016
  • Competent Toastmaster
  • Toastmasters
  • 2002


  • The Recorder Newspaper
  • From Home Office to Office Home
  • 2011
  • California Lawyer Magazine
  • Taxiing Onward
  • 2008
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • MCLE panel presentation
  • Online Legal Research
  • 2012

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (4)
Endorse Heidi
Employment and labor Attorney | Apr 18
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"Heidi is an experienced, knowledgeable, and conscientious attorney who stands by her convictions and will get results even in the most difficult and challenging cases. In my prior litigation dealings with her I have found her to be professional, tenacious, diligent, very had working, and a good judge of legal circumstances. A skillful attorney like Heidi is hard to come by and any client would appreciate having Heidi take on his or her legal matter."
Employment and labor Attorney | Jul 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Heidi Machen is a great lawyer. She is smart, savvy, cares about her clients and knows how to either engage with or streamline the legal process if necessary. She is a champion for the underdog and I recommend her."
Land use and zoning
Estate planning
San Francisco Employment and labor Lawyer Heidi A Machen
Heidi A Machen
Employment and labor Attorney
San Francisco, CA
Licensed for 27 years
Free Consultation