About - Lafayette & Kumagai


Lafayette & Kumagai LLP is a boutique litigation firm located in Northern California.  Established in 1994, the firm has earned a reputation for excellence with a proven track record of successfully representing its clients in all aspects of litigation.  The firm takes pride in the recognition it receives from clients and the legal community for its litigation and trial skills.  Lafayette & Kumagai has extensive experience in both state and federal courts throughout California, and has a distinguished record for motion practice, jury trials and appeals.  Lafayette & Kumagai is one of few minority-owned firms to argue before the United States Supreme Court.  Clients trust the firm’s handling of high-profile cases with media exposure.

Lafayette & Kumagai received the Minority-Owned Law Firm Client Service Award, presented by the California Minority Counsel Program for outstanding client service. The firm was named by clients as an Honor Roll firm in Complex Commercial Litigation and Complex Employment Litigation in BTI Litigation Outlook 2019: Changes, Trends and Opportunities for Law Firms. Lafayette & Kumagai has been listed in “Litigation Kings” and in “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies?” in Corporate Counsel magazine’s annual report on the law firms most used by the Fortune 100.  Lafayette & Kumagai has often been recognized as a “Go-To Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies” for its Labor & Employment practice.

Over the past two years we have continued our history of successful litigation strategies. In addition to settling a number of cases, we obtained a defense verdict in a disability discrimination trial in United States District Court in September 2018; prevailed in Motions for Summary Judgment in 6 employment matters; and won an appeal on behalf of a Fortune 100 company in an employment discrimination and retaliation case. In the latter, the court clarified what is required to show pretext and temporal proximity in cases where an employee is terminated for poor performance, helping all California employers. The court’s discussion on the use of “me too” declarations is also most helpful for employers regarding pretext. All of this is on top of our track record of other recent victories:

  • obtaining a defense verdict in a constructive discharge trial;

  • a defense decision in a pregnancy discrimination arbitration;

  • obtaining a defense verdict in a high profile whistleblower trial;

  • obtaining a defense verdict in a sexual harassment and retaliation trial involving three plaintiffs;

  • obtaining a nonsuit in an age discrimination/termination trial, in Contra Costa County Superior Court;

  • obtaining a Judgment as a Matter of Law before Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in a disability discrimination and failure to accommodate case;

  • defeating two Motions for Class Certification, thereby successfully resolving two major wage and hour class actions;

  • prevailing in a number of Motions for Summary Judgment, including two age discrimination cases brought on behalf of attorneys against the legal departments of two of our corporate clients; and

  • successfully representing the client on appeal in one such age discrimination case, resulting in a published opinion, Reeves v. MV Transportation, Inc., 186 Cal.App.4th 666 (2010).

The firm’s practice also includes successful representation of clients in mediation, arbitration, other ADR procedures and hearings before administrative agencies.

Lafayette & Kumagai’s clients include Fortune 500 companies and governmental entities.  The firm’s relationships with clients are longstanding and built upon a foundation of trust through open and honest communication and outstanding results.  The firm’s attorneys closely monitor the management of cases from their commencement and continuously re-evaluate them throughout the litigation process.  The goal is to find the best solution for a successful outcome.  Lafayette & Kumagai places a high priority on superior work product and creative resolutions to cases at the earliest possible stage.

Gary T. Lafayette
Gary T. LafayettePartner
Gary Lafayette is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of California at Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall).
Susan T. Kumagai
Susan T. KumagaiPartner
Susan Kumagai is a founding partner of the firm. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Davis School of Law (King Hall).
Brian H. Chun
Brian H. ChunPartner
Brian H. Chun graduated from Stanford University in 1997 with a degree in Philosophy.
Diane Kong
Diane KongOf Counsel
Diane Kong received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco School of Law.