• vcard
D 310.203.5361
F 310.556.1802
  • Education
    • J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, 2001, Order of the Barristers; Moot Court Board; Appellate Moot Court, Team Chair; Trial Team; Black Law Students' Association
    • B.A., California State University Fullerton, 1998, Communications, Public Relations
  • Court Admissions
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 2008
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2010
    • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2001
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2003
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 2004
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2008
    • Supreme Court of California, 2001
    • State of Georgia, 2008
Carmen Cole’s creativity, enthusiasm, and prior experience as a Human Resources professional for a major university make her a valued resource in resolving clients' industry-specific, one-of-a-kind employment law disputes. Carmen not only understands clients' legal issues, but she also understands clients' businesses. Her knowledge of the ins and outs of a client's business is the foundation for the sound advice and legal strategies she provides to clients. Carmen works with employers to navigate complex employment law issues – advising clients on what they can do versus what they should do. Her practice is a combination of litigation defense and counseling with the goal of reaching the most strategic and cost-effective result possible for the client.

On the litigation side, she defends employers in cases involving individual violations of state and federal law, as well as defending class actions in areas such as:
  • Wage and hour violations
  • California Labor Code violations
  • Worker misclassification
  • Wrongful termination
  • Breach of contract
  • Other employment related torts
Carmen also provides advice and counseling to employers on daily work place issues, including:
  • Compliance with wage and hour laws 
  • Reductions in force 
  • Recruitment and hiring 
  • Employee classification 
  • Leave laws 
  • Terminations
  • Other human resources practices
Carmen has served as Title IX and EEO officer for a major Southern California University. In addition to her experience in higher education, she has successfully partnered with employers and management in the healthcare, manufacturing, retail, aerospace and restaurant industries, among others.
  • Represented paper product manufacturer and obtained summary judgment on employer's behalf on all ten causes of action brought by a former employee, including age and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and whistleblower claims. As the prevailing party, we proceeded to win an extraordinary award of attorneys' fees against the plaintiff under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act's (FEHA) prevailing party provision.
  • Represented a public entity and obtained summary judgment on behalf of the employer on employee's retaliation claim brought under FEHA. Plaintiff, who was employed for more than 25 years, made an initial seven-figure demand. We obtained summary judgment in favor of the employer, dismissing plaintiff's complaint in its entirety.
  • Represented a global, Fortune 500 financial services company in a breach of contract claim, defeating plaintiff's preliminary injunction in the district court. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of plaintiff's injunction and dismissed her appeal of the district court's order compelling the matter to arbitration. The Ninth Circuit's opinion disposed of the case in its entirety and we obtained a cost award on behalf of the company. After the victor in the Ninth Circuit on the preliminary injunction and arbitration issues, the plaintiff abandoned her claims and declined to re-litigate the merits of her claims in arbitration.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 insurance company obtaining dismissal in a bench trial of plaintiff's claims against the employer's health plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) while simultaneously prevailing on the employer's counterclaim for overpayment of benefits to plaintiff.
  • Represented a global record company in race harassment, discrimination and retaliation suit filed under FEHA by a former employee. We obtained summary judgment on all 15 statutory and common law causes of action and dismissal of all claims against the corporate and individual defendants. In the same case, we defeated plaintiff's counterclaim for defamation against an individual, executive defendant on summary judgment and, thereafter, achieved a monetary settlement from the plaintiff payable to the executive who was originally sued in the underlying action.
  • Represented international self-storage company employer in two-week, race and religious discrimination jury trial.
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Polsinelli At Work Blog
January 18, 2018
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Polsinelli at Work Blog
November 21, 2017
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Co-Presenter, CMCP Annual Business Conference; Los Angeles, CA
October 26, 2017
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Polsinelli at Work Blog
October 17, 2017
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Economic Forecast: A Discussion with Carmen Cole
Featured in Los Angeles Business Journal
September 25, 2017
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Oregon Healthcare News
September 12, 2017
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Co-Presenter; Los Angeles County Bar Association
June 10, 2017
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Confidence: A Key Ingredient for Minority Success in the Legal Profession
Author; DRI's For the Defense magazine, Diversity Advantage Section
January 2015
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California Minority Counsel Program Annual Business Conference
Speaker; California Minority Counsel Program Annual Business Conference
October 2014
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New Beginnings - Transitioning from Large Law Firm Practice
Speaker; California Minority Counsel Program Annual Business Conference
October 2011