Michael S. Bernick

Special Counsel

  • Michael S. Bernick
  • Phone: +1 415 957 3147

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    Spear Tower
    One Market Plaza, Suite 2200
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1127

Michael S. Bernick practices in the area of employment and labor law. He advises employers on issues related to employer taxes, unemployment insurance and disability insurance. In recent years, he has worked with some of the nation’s major employers, staffing companies and industry associations.

Mr. Bernick previously served for nearly five years as director of the California Employment Development Department (EDD), the 10,000-person state department of labor. As EDD director, he oversaw the administration of the state’s employer tax collection system, unemployment insurance system and disability insurance system.

Mr. Bernick is a 1979 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He also holds a B.Phil. from Balliol College of the University of Oxford and a B.A. from Harvard College.

Areas of Practice

  • Employment and Labor Law


  • California


  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • University of Oxford, Balliol College, B.Phil., 1976
  • Harvard College, B.A., 1974


  • Duane Morris LLP

    - Special Counsel, 2018-present

  • Sedgwick LLP

    - Counsel, 2004-2017

  • California Employment Development Department (EDD)

    - Director, 1999-2004

Professional Activities

  • Stanford School of Medicine
     - Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
  • Milken Institute
    - Research Fellow, Employment Programs and Policy

  • Growth Sector (STEM job training/employment agency)
    - Board Chair

  • Autism Aspergers Spectrum Coalition for Education Networking and Development (AASCEND)
    - Board Member and Chair of the Autism Job Club

  • Positive Resource Center (HIV/AIDS job training center)
    - Advisory Board

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
    - Board of Directors, 1991-1999, Board President, 1995

Selected Publications

Media Hits

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, "Safety in the Workplace," Duane Morris LLP, September 27, 2023
  • Speaker, "Pay Practices," Duane Morris LLP, September 27, 2023
  • Speaker, "Preparing for the Rise of AI at Work," Duane Morris LLP, September 27, 2023
  • Speaker, "Establishing an Effective Neurodiversity Employment Program: Legal Issues in 2022 and Best Practices," Duane Morris LLP Webinar, June 1, 2022
  • Presenter, "Reopening in California and the Post-Pandemic Workplace: Recent Developments and Emerging Challenges in Employment and Immigration," Duane Morris LLP, Webinar, April 29, 2021
  • Speaker, "2020 Vision: Legal Issues to Watch for in the Workplace," Duane Morris Breakfast Briefing, San Francisco, November 8, 2019
  • Speaker, "Establishing an Effective Neurodiversity Employment Program: Legal Issues," Webinar, August 22, 2018