This guest post was authored by Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
John Liebert, pre-eminent public sector labor relations attorney and founding member of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore passed away on Monday, February 7, 2011. He was 81.
John emigrated as a boy from Nazi Germany, living in Holland when Hitler struck, and navigating to New York on ships that were attacked by German U-Boats. He entered with thousands of refugees through Ellis Island with his mother and two brothers, to start a whole new life in America. John grew up in New York City and earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his Juris Doctorate from the Hastings School of Law, University of California, San Francisco.
John built his outstanding reputation in public sector labor relations by successfully representing hundreds of public agencies – including cities and counties, schools, colleges and special districts – throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada. He negotiated hundreds of labor agreements; his expertise encompassed the full sweep of public sector labor and employment law. John is also known for pioneering and establishing labor and employment training programs throughout the state of California.
John began his legal career with the City of Sacramento, first serving as a Deputy City Attorney, then as Assistant City Manager and finally as Labor Relations Counsel. He left Sacramento to join Paterson & Taggert, where he met Dan Cassidy. Together, along with four other attorneys, John and Dan formed our firm in 1980 and grew it into California’s leading public management labor, employment, and education law firm with over 70 attorneys in four offices. John served as the firm’s first Managing Partner before turning the reins over to Melanie Poturica upon his transition to part-time retirement in 1995.
During the course of his career, John served as a spokesperson for the League of California Cities, National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, and the California State Association of Counties, testifying before legislative committees and federal and state executives on topics ranging from application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to, and extension of the jurisdiction of the Public Employment Relations Board over local agencies. He was recognized by both the National and California Public Employer Labor Relations Associations with their highest awards of excellence.
John was an accomplished writer and lauded speaker. He made hundreds of presentations on a wide variety of employment and labor topics to many professional organizations throughout the country, and thousands of public sector managers continue to benefit from his development of our firm’s Employment Relations Consortiums
John has remained very active in the firm, providing mentoring to our attorneys and serving as the sole editor of our monthly Client Update newsletter since its inception 30 years ago.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Marijke and son, Doug. He is survived by son Drew and daughter Deb, 9 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and hundreds of colleagues, friends and mentees who will forever be in his debt and collectively strive to honor his legacy.
The family requests that any remembrances be made to the American Diabetes Association.