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Experienced. Determined. Resolute.

Mediator, Phyllis Kupferstein

Phyllis Kupferstein has been serving the legal community for 40 years as a well-known, successful, and nationally recognized employment litigator who has earned a stellar reputation for civility and professionalism. She has been extremely successful in gaining the trust, confidence, and respect of those who have worked with her and against her.

As an advocate, Phyllis has participated in hundreds of mediations. After seeing the positive impact that mediation had on both her cases and clients, she has decided to make the transition from litigation to mediation. She serves as a private mediator, has volunteered as a settlement officer for the Resolve LA virtual mandatory settlement conference program, and has received certification from the nationally acclaimed Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. This advanced training has provided Phyllis with the insight and tools necessary to mediate some of the most contentious and complex employment disputes.

Prior to her work as a mediator, Phyllis served as the managing partner of her own law firm and was previously an equity partner at Payne & Fears LLP and at McDermott Will & Emery. She was also a founding member and national director of employment litigation and counseling at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. She has litigated and obtained jury verdicts in both state and federal courts, where she represented individual and corporate clients in a wide range of industries, including entertainment, health care, aerospace, construction, engineering, agriculture, and insurance.

Phyllis is available full-time to serve as a mediator on a variety of employment related disputes including class actions, wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, ERISA, PAGA, and wage and hour matters. Her immense civil litigation and trial experience, coupled with her tenacity and determination, makes her the perfect choice to serve as a mediator on complex cases. In fact, clients have described her as having “an amazing ability to quickly get to the heart of the matter” and an impressive “depth of knowledge of employment law.” Mediator extraordinaire Jeffrey Krivis has said, “Phyllis is one of the leading labor and employment lawyers in California. She has the unique ability to blend strong advocacy skills with a warm, upbeat temperament.” Not surprisingly, her style of mediation is evaluative; however, her compassionate demeanor allows her to establish rapport with some of the most difficult clients.


  • Sexual Assault
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Retaliation
  • Wage & Hour
  • Class Actions
  • PAGA claims
  • Qui Tam Actions
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Breach of Contract
  • Unfair Competition
  • ERISA – Health & Disability
  • Mediator, Kupferstein Mediation (2023 – present)
  • Managing Partner, Kupferstein Manuel LLP (2013 – present)
  • Partner, Payne & Fears (2009 – 2013)
  • Capital Partner, McDermott, Will & Emery (2006 – 2009)
  • Co-Founder & Partner, Quinn Emanuel (1986 – 2006)
  • J.D., cum laude, Loyola Marymount University School of Law School (1982)
  • B.A., University of California Los Angeles (1978)
  • State Bar California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central and Northern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Mediating the Litigated Case, Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (March, 2023)
  • ABA, Litigation (Member, Women in Labor & Employment subcommittee) and Dispute Resolution sections
  • Chair (2017-2018), Board Member (2011-present), Conference of California Bar Associations
  • Member, Southern California Mediation Association
  • Member, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms
  • Board Secretary and Trustee (1999 – present), Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association

Case Manager, Nikki Safavi 

Nikki Safavi brings extensive legal administrative experience to Kupferstein Mediation. For the last several years, she has worked exclusively as an ADR Case Manager for many high-profile mediators in California. She provides top-notch customer service and is always available to answer any questions about the process.

Clients are encouraged to call or email Nikki, to check on Phyllis’s available dates for mediation and scheduling.