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California Employment Lawyers Association ("CELA")

The California Employment Lawyers Association ("CELA") is a statewide organization of more than 1,000 employment law attorneys in California focused on representing plaintiffs.

The employment law attorneys in CELA protect the rights of California's workers and provides its members with practical training from the employee advocate's point of view.

Employment law cases often include employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, class actions, unpaid wages, discriminatory termination or hiring practices, and wage and hour disputes, and whistleblowing and Qui Tam actions.

Benefits of Membership in CELA

The benefits of joining the CELA include:

  • networking opportunities including invitations to the CELA Annual Conference;
  • a subscription to the monthly CELA Bulletin with federal and state case summaries of cases impacting employment law in California;
  • access to the Online List which is an online discussion forum for regular CELA members;
  • an invitation to participate in the participate in the Mentor Program that matches newer attorneys with more experienced attorneys;
  • a listing on the Public Membership Directory which encourages referrals from the public and other members;
  • access to the members-only section of the CELA website including a brief bank, an online index to the CELA Bulletin, and the legal links page;
  • support for Amicus Briefs filed with the California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals to address issues of common concern; and
  • a more united voice to address legislation and legal reform before the California Legislature.

Membership in CELA

Attorneys that apply for regular membership in CELA must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • be in good standing with the State Bar of California;
  • focus at least 51% of professional time to representing or advancing the rights of employees and/or union members;
  • have not more than one (1) case on file in any judicial or administrative forum on behalf of an employer;
  • have not more than 25% of professional time that devoted to civil defense work (non-employment);
  • not be employed or about to become employed by any law firm that primarily does defense work; and
  • does not belong to or receive appointments from any defense panel; and
  • does not belong to any organization whose members primarily defend employers against claims of employees.

Current membership in these other organizations would prevent an attorney from becoming a member of CELA:

  • California Employment Law Council;
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel;
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California;
  • California Workers' Compensation Defense Attorneys' Association.

Membership in the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California would not bar an attorney from becoming a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association.

Different Typs of Membership in CELA

Different types of membership levels include Supporting Members and Sustaining Members. Associate Plus Membership is available to full time mediators, arbitrators, law school professors or law students and paralegals who are not otherwise eligible for regular membership. Other types of membership include associate membership and non-profit legal services and public interest group membership.

Members in CELA often focus on the following types of practice areas of the law:

  • Appellate Law;
  • Privacy Rights;
  • Whistleblower;
  • Qui Tam;
  • Class Actions;
  • Public Employees;
  • Federal Employees;
  • Workers' Compensation;
  • Discrimination;
  • Wrongful Termination;
  • Drug Testing;
  • Sexual Harassment;
  • Employee Benefits/ERISA;
  • Unemployment Benefits;
  • Union/Labor Law; and
  • Wage & Hour Disputes.

Leadership Opportunities in CELA

The CELA encourages its members to take on leadership roles within the organization including serving on the executive board. Members are also encouraged to join committees including:

  • Amicus Committee;
  • CELA Voice;
  • Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Committee;
  • Diversity Outreach Committee;
  • Education Committee;
  • Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) Committee;
  • Immigrant Employee Rights Committee;
  • Jury Instructions Committee;
  • Legislative Committee;
  • CELA Legislative Advocacy;
  • Listserv Committee;
  • Mentor Committee;
  • Nominating Committee;
  • Political/Judicial Appointments Committee;
  • Practice Management Committee;
  • Public Employee Committee;
  • Publicity and Media Committee;
  • Technology Committee;
  • Wage and Hour Committee;
  • Website Committee; and
  • Worker Outreach.


The CELA is not a state affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association, however, the organizations often work together on issues of common concern.