Laura C. McHugh

Laura C. McHugh

Sacramento, California

Laura McHugh has earned her well-respected reputation by creatively defending and counseling employers of all sizes for more than 25 years. In 2018, she partnered with Jennifer Duggan to further the success of their women-owned Sacramento law firm after departing from the boutique labor and employment law firm she co-founded in 1999.

As a litigator, Laura is known for being persuasive and resolute. She has skillfully handled a variety of employment disputes and tried several cases, including individual and class actions. She has argued before the California Supreme Court and Third District Court of Appeal, obtaining precedential, published decisions.

Laura is committed to providing her clients with down-to-earth guidance on workplace issues including discipline and discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, wage and hour, prevailing wage, meal period and rest break compliance, and trade secrets and unfair competition issues. Her impressive expertise also expands to traditional labor law matters including labor arbitrations, unfair labor practices, and grievance resolution.

Laura has been a dependable advocate for employers in a broad range of settings, including state and federal courts, arbitrations, and mediations. She also has extensive experience representing clients in administrative proceedings including hearings before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (CUIAB), the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (OSHAB), and the California State Labor Commissioner.

Since 2019, Laura has enjoyed contributing her expertise to the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada by serving as the Chairperson for the Employment Law Committee.

During law school, she served as an editor for the Santa Clara Law Review and a judicial extern for the Honorable Gerome Smith of the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Before practicing law, Laura worked in corporate human resources for a large bank in Los Angeles. During her free time, she enjoys her family, her dogs, light surfing, and an occasional hack at the golf ball.

Litigation Percentage

  • 60% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • Supreme Court of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, pro hac vice
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, pro hac vice


  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, California
    • B.A. magna cum laude
    • Honors: Senior Honors Program

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Founding Member, Communications Alumni Council
  • Women Up, Sacramento, Founding Member