Chris Stecher is a shareholder in Keesal, Young & Logan’s San Francisco office. Since joining Keesal, Young & Logan in September 2001, Chris has worked in most of the firm’s practice areas, and he currently focuses on securities, employment, and general business litigation. Chris has extensive experience defending brokerage firms and financial advisors in cases involving customer complaints and has represented clients in securities arbitration forums, such as the NASD, the NYSE, and the PCX (now combined into one forum, FINRA). He represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as in arbitration and before state agencies. Chris’ employment practice includes representation of clients in wrongful termination, employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, compensation, breach of contract, and unfair competition cases, as well as wage and hour class actions and collective actions. Chris also handles litigation between businesses, including disputes regarding restrictive covenants, trade secrets, defamation, employee raiding, unfair competition, trademark infringement, insurance coverage, property development, breach of contract, and other business conduct.
Chris has experience in all phases of litigation, from pre-suit investigation, to discovery, to dispositive motions and resolution through trial and arbitration. He also has handled appellate briefing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and argued before the California Court of Appeal. Apart from his litigation practice, Chris regularly advises clients in areas such as employee discipline, employee compensation and benefits, non-compete laws, wage and hour issues, leaves of absence, and compliance with other local, state, and federal laws. Chris also serves on the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which guides and implements the firm’s goals of promoting diversity within the firm and throughout the legal community.
Chris’ trial and arbitration practice focuses on the following:
Chris represents broker-dealer firms and other licensed individuals in the securities industry. Chris has handled scores of securities arbitrations and has personally arbitrated approximately two dozen cases to completion. He has defended a variety of cases, including complex product cases, as well as cases involving claims for suitability, churning, fraud, negligence, violation of federal and state securities laws, breach of contract, elder abuse and breach of fiduciary duty.
As part of his employment practice, Chris defends employers in state and federal courts, arbitration, and administrative proceedings involving claims for personal injury, discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, breach of contract, defamation, indemnification, whistleblower, and various wage and hour and unfair competition claims, including class action, collective action, and representative claims. Chris also regularly advises clients regarding compliance with employment laws, rules and regulations, including employee privacy laws, wage and hour laws, and issues involving employee hiring and discipline.
Business Litigation/Unfair Business Practices
Chris represents institutions and individuals in a variety of industries in connection with the movement of employees between competitors and in resolving other business disputes. Chris has represented clients primarily in California state and federal court in lawsuits involving trade secret misappropriation, employee non-solicitation and non-competition covenants, fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty claims, trademark infringement, as well as statutory and common law unfair competition claims. Chris also advises clients on these topics.
Chris graduated from Stanford University in 1996 with an A.B. degree in public policy. After spending two years teaching fourth graders and coaching basketball in the inner city of Chicago, Chris attended law school and graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law in June 2001. While in law school, Chris served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Chris was admitted to the California Bar in December 2001 and the Washington State Bar in October 2015.
Chris was recognized in the Northern California Super Lawyers magazine as one of the “Northern California Rising Stars” in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021 and 2022. Chris was also named to the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys—Up-and-Comers” list by Human Resources Executive (“HRE”) magazine and Lawdragon in June 2019. Since 2020, Chris has been recognized by Lawdragon as a Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyer. In early 2021, Chris was selected as one of America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators® for 2020. Chris received that designation again for 2021 and 2022.
Chris is a member of San Francisco’s St. Thomas More Society and volunteers as a coach for local youth sports, especially baseball and basketball. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Federal Bar Association’s Northern District of California Chapter (including as Treasurer in 2023) and on the Board of Directors of California ChangeLawyers, a statewide foundation that seeks to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession and empower the next generation of lawyers, judges, and activists. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife and five children.