Path-Making Litigation in the Public Interest


The firm represents an array of public officials and agencies and private parties, ranging from President Obama to local public-interest groups, in matters involving constitutional and statutory issues affecting constitutional and civil rights.

Presidential Eligibility

Strumwasser & Woocher was California State Counsel for Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, representing the campaigns in litigation and working on voter protection matters. The firm has also successfully represented President Obama and Vice President Biden in litigation challenging the President's citizenship and the Secretary of State's certification of California's electoral votes. Keyes v. Bowen, 189 Cal. App. 4th 647 (2010).

Employment Discrimination

Strumwasser & Woocher secured settlement of an action alleging race discrimination in employment of probation officers and in delivery of services to juvenile probationers. As part of the settlement, the County of Los Angeles agreed to allocate intervention resources to probationers according to rigorous criteria that research has shown to be most effective in reducing delinquency.

Striking Down Discriminatory Insurance Legislation

On behalf of the California Insurance Commissioner and in conjunction with several local and national civil rights and consumer rights organizations, Strumwasser & Woocher won a judgment declaring new state insurance legislation invalid and unconstitutional. The statutory amendments in question discriminated against previously uninsured drivers in direct violation of Proposition 103, a sweeping pro-consumer initiative regulating the insurance industry. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, et al. v. Garamendi (Feb. 20, 2004, BS086235).

HUD Redlining Study

Strumwasser & Woocher advised the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Civil Rights on enforcement of anti-redlining rules under the Fair Housing Act, and served as special counsel in hearings the Secretary conducted on possible rulemaking.

Weapon Searches in Schools

Strumwasser & Woocher successfully defended Los Angeles Unified School District at trial and on appeal against a damages claim filed by an untenured teacher whose contract was not renewed after she twice obstructed searches of her classroom pursuant to the district's weapon search policy (crafted in consultation with the ACLU and law enforcement officials). Motevalli v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 122 Cal. App. 4th 97 (2004) .

Title VI Compliance

As counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District, Strumwasser & Woocher conducted a groundbreaking quantitative and legal study of the district's bond financed school construction and modernization program to determine whether any practices in implementing the program has a disparate impact on minority students.

School Governance

Strumwasser & Woocher served as lead outside counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District in its challenge to the constitutionality of state legislation that would have removed the authority of the elected Board of Education and handed over control of a significant portion of the school district to a private entity headed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Mendoza v. State of California, 149 Cal. App. 4th 1034 (2007).

Native American Heritage

The firm successfully represented a group of Native Americans to block construction of a parking lot and strip‑mall on a sacred site located on a state‑college campus. Native American Heritage Com. v. Board of Trustees, 51 Cal. App. 4th 675 (1996).