Stoel Rives Names Bryan Hawkins Managing Partner of California Offices

Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Stoel Rives LLP, an AmLaw 200 firm, announced today that Bryan Hawkins was named office managing partner of the firm’s three California offices—Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco—effective January 1. As office managing partner, Hawkins is responsible for the day-to-day management of the offices, supporting the firm’s business, and community activities and recruiting efforts. Hawkins succeeds Brian Nese, who served in the role since 2020. Nese will continue to serve on the firm’s Executive Committee, which he joined in 2022.

“Bryan has been an enthusiastic leader within the firm since he joined us more than 10 years ago,” said Melissa Jones, Stoel Rives’ firm managing partner. “We are confident he will excel as office managing partner in the same way he thrives in his practice and in other leadership roles.”

Based in Sacramento, Hawkins joined the firm in 2012 as a litigator in the Labor & Employment practice group. With extensive jury and bench-trial experience, he represents employers in employment-related litigation in court and before administrative agencies such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His practice also involves counseling employers on workplace and labor issues. In addition, Hawkins’ practice includes litigating complex commercial disputes in areas such as antitrust, business torts and real estate.

“We’ve had a long line of amazing firm leaders managing the California offices, most recently Brian who brilliantly shepherded the offices during the challenges of the pandemic, and I’m humbled and honored to be selected to succeed him,” Hawkins said. “My primary focus will be to support the extremely talented attorneys and staff we have to nurture their success while increasing the firm’s California presence and influence.”

Hawkins will continue to serve in his longstanding role on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and provide pro bono assistance to the Sacramento Ballet, where he is a Board Advisory Committee member. He also serves on the Pro Bono Panel for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, helping to take on pro bono cases as requested by the court system on cases filed by pro se inmate plaintiffs. In addition, Hawkins has been a member of the Eastern District of California Judicial Advisory Committee since January 2022, serving as its vice president for 2023 and slated to serve as its president in 2024. He just completed a one-year term as the 2022 President of the Sacramento County Bar Association. Hawkins is passionate about the firm’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives and is a member of Move the Needle (MTN), an innovative program developed by Diversity Lab to achieve aggressive diversity goals within the firm. He was one of the first participants in MTN’s “Focused Five” initiative, which connects diverse attorneys with in-house counsel.

Hawkins’ professional and civic successes have earned him many accolades including being named Best Lawyers’ Labor Law—Management “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023; among Daily Journal’s “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers” in 2022; and the 2021 recipient of the Davis, Calif., Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year award.

“We are grateful to Brian for the years of leadership he provided in California and his continued contributions on behalf of the entire firm as a member of the Executive Committee,” Jones said.

Nese will continue his very busy practice which is focused on counseling renewable energy industry clients, including project developers, owners and operators with their transactions.

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