David A. Schwarz

David A. Schwarz

Partner, Irell & Manella LLP

David Schwarz is a member of the litigation practice group. Although he has represented clients in a broad range of complex commercial disputes and internal investigations, a primary focus of Mr. Schwarz's practice has been the defense of class actions, with emphasis on securities and shareholder claims against public corporations and parallel SEC investigations and enforcement actions. He has litigated a wide range of federal and state class actions alleging anti-discrimination claims, unfair labor practices, wage-and-hour disputes, anti-trust and unfair business claims.

Mr. Schwarz’s appellate experience in state and federal courts is extensive, and includes two matters now before the California Supreme Court, as well as numerous appeals pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in the California Courts of Appeal.  His current representations include the successful defense of Gerawan Farming, Inc., the nation’s largest grower of peaches, in two precedent-setting constitutional challenges to the compulsory arbitration procedures under the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA). He also represents the City of San Jose in appellate proceedings challenging the constitutionality of the City’s 2012 landmark pension reform referendum. 

Recognized as a leading trade secrets litigator by The Legal 500, Mr. Schwarz has litigated numerous cases involving idea submission and trade secret mis-appropriation in industries ranging from avionics and rocket propulsion systems to consumer goods and food processing techniques. Prior representations include Space Exploration Technologies Corporation ("SpaceX"), Eclipse Aviation, Pacific Scientific Aerospace, Marquez Brothers International, Williams-Sonoma, and Pottery Barn. 

Mr. Schwarz also represents clients in matters relating to IP disputes, involving patent infringement and patent licensing, trademarks and copyright. In the area of trademarks, recent representative matters include KFC National Council and Advertising Cooperative, Inc. v. KFC Corporation (Delaware Court of Chancery), in which Mr. Schwarz successfully defended KFC Corp.'s right to maintain control over brand advertising funded through a Delaware corporation jointly managed by KFC franchisees and the company.

Mr. Schwarz has written on a variety of topics relating to securities litigation, securities reform legislation, white-collar criminal defense, and the defense of attorneys, accountants, and other professionals in securities class actions. Past speaking engagements include the Practicing Law Institute, the California Society of CPAs, and the Class and Derivative Litigation Institute. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Duke University Global Capital Markets Center and was a featured panelist at the Directors' Education Institute at Duke University and the Smith School of Business Corporate Governance Program (University of Maryland).

Mr. Schwarz also served as the Special Assistant to the Staff Director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Following graduation from Duke University School of Law, Mr. Schwarz clerked for the Honorable Alex Kozinski, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after which he served as Special Assistant to the Honorable Morris B. Abram, the United States Permanent Representative to the European Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations. In that capacity, Mr. Schwarz advised U.S. delegations on a wide range of public international law issues. He also served as U.S. Delegate to a number of International and United Nations conferences, including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the World Intellectual Property Conference, and the International Labor Conference. 

Mr. Schwarz was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush as U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He is also a former Trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

Mr. Schwarz served two terms (2007-2016) as a gubernatorial appointee and Vice-Chairman of the Milton Marks "Little Hoover" Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, an independent, bi-partisan government oversight board.

Mr. Schwarz is former chair and currently a member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee. Public Counsel named him its "Advocate of the Year" for his work in the area of elder law advocacy. Mr. Schwarz is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League, which is focused on bringing competitive debate to inner-city schools, and serves on the board of LDOS Media Lab, a non-profit whose mission is the development of science curriculum in public schools.