Michael W. Monk is a management labor and employment lawyer, representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He has practiced law for 49 years. He most recently practiced with the Los Angeles law firm of Musick Peeler & Garrett from 1990 through 2023.
He has provided advice and counseling for employers regarding discipline and discharge, layoffs and hiring, employment discrimination, wage and hour obligations, trade secret matters, unemployment claims, policy decisions, and the content of employee handbooks. He has defended employers in all types of employment and labor litigation in state and federal court, and before the National Labor Relations Board. Mike has done extensive lecturing and training for his employer clients, including the National Business Institute, the Association of Regional Center Agencies, and for other employer groups.
As a trial lawyer, Mike represented a major national television network as lead trial counsel, obtaining a defense verdict in a Federal Court jury trial in which three television cameramen alleged racial discrimination, which case attracted national attention. He also obtained a defense verdict as lead trial counsel for a billion-dollar manufacturing company in a whistleblower jury trial in state court in which the plaintiff sought over $40 million in damages.
Mike has specialized in representing employers in union matters. He has been the chief negotiator at the bargaining table in over 50 sets of union negotiations. He has represented hospitals, Regional Centers, entertainment companies, coffee companies, meat packers, manufacturers and other employers in union negotiations. He has defended employers against unfair labor practices and grievances, and handled arbitrations and other union disputes. He has counseled employers during strikes and work stoppages and obtained restraining orders against unions engaging in unlawful picketing and violence. Mike has spent over 40 years representing California Regional Centers, non-profit corporations which contract with the state of California to provide services and supports for developmentally disabled persons. He has also been active in training Regional Center Boards of Directors on their legal obligations under California Law and the Lanterman Act.
From 1990 through 1994, Mike and his wife Janet were minority owners of the San Diego Padres Baseball Club. Mike represented the Club in union negotiations, was on the team’s Board of Directors, was a member of the Club’s Baseball Operations Committee, and assisted with player salary arbitrations.
Mike served for over ten years as a Board Member of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, a California organization that funds and creates educational projects and opportunities for high school and middle school students. He has also served several years as a judge in high school mock trial competitions.
Mike has helped create high school scholarship programs funded by the farms for which he is General Counsel.
Mike is the author of two published books, including The Tragedy of Orenthal, Prince of Brentwood. Orenthal is a play in the style of Shakespeare, in iambic pentameter verse, with Dramatis Personae, a Prologue, and five acts. The play tells the story of O.J. Simpson, his arrest, the investigation, and the trial. Orenthal received acclaim as one of the eight Outstanding Books of the Year awarded by the Independent Publisher Book Awards of 2014. The book was also named a Finalist in Fiction by the Eric Hoffer Book Awards in 2014.
In 2023, Mike’s book A Distant Mirror Anthology was also published. It contains 38 essays on Mike’s school days, his family, his travels, and his views on life in general.
Mike graduated from Harvard College with Honors in English Literature. He then obtained his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Mike has taught a labor law course for the University of Redlands Human Resources Management Program. He also served as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School, teaching the beginning course in labor law.
Mike lives with his wife of 49 years, Janet, in Santa Monica, California and Lake Okoboji, Iowa. They have two children, Susannah Galiano, who is also an attorney with LightGabler, and James Monk, who is the Director of Operations for the family’s two farming corporations in Missouri.