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Shepherd, Samuel B. (In Memoriam)

Samuel B. Shepherd (In Memoriam)


Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

In Memory of Sam Shepherd

On July 15 2014, Quinn Emanuel partner Sam Shepherd died of heart failure at age 48. He was far too young.

Sam was one of the firm’s first summer associates, associates and partners in an era when the firm had 20 lawyers and one office. Twenty-three years later, the firm still benefits from Sam’s influence. He was a unique person.  

Sam grew up in the Boston area and was an avid athlete.  One of his teammates on his high school basketball team was N.B.A. Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. Sam enjoyed telling people he was the only member of the team who could not dunk. After high school, Sam played one year of football at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He had dreams of playing for his beloved Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League, but the one year at SMU taught him that professional football was not in his future. He transferred to Bowdoin where he continued to play sports, but academics became his first priority. Sam graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was the class speaker at his graduation.

Sam was admitted to the joint JD/MBA program at the University of Chicago. He was proud of the fact that he paid for graduate school by working at an Irish pub that he owned. Many of his friends say that patrons came to the pub more to talk to Sam than to drink Guinness. That is not surprising because Sam had a magnetic personality that drew people to him. He graduated in 1992 and immediately started work at Quinn Emanuel.

Sam’s performance as an associate at the firm was stellar. He assumed partner level responsibility almost immediately, making court appearances, taking depositions, and actually trying a case as a third year associate. Sam was elected partner when he was only four years out of law school—a firm record that stands to this day.

Sam was enthusiastic about everything he did—including legal work. He loved being a lawyer. He also loved the underdog. When he was just three years out of law school, Sam tried—and won—a case for a would-be sheriff’s deputy who claimed he was discriminated against because he was colorblind. That was just one of Sam’s unusual cases. He tried a case for a sports agent who claimed he had been bitten by a poisonous spider on an airplane. He once deposed a plaintiff in an employment case who kept a vial of her boss’s blood around her neck.  Because of Sam’s charisma and gift for making friends, generating contacts and clients came naturally and he made many long-lasting and loyal business and personal relationships all over the U.S.

Sam loved children. Many Quinn Emanuel lawyers have fond memories of Sammy making their kids laugh and squeal with glee. Just four years ago he got his own child to play with when his daughter Shelby was born. Sam loved her. We all wish the two of them could have more time together.

Nobody who met Sam will forget him.  He was an important contributor to Quinn Emanuel.  We will miss him.
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Samuel B. Shepherd became a partner in four years, the fastest in the firm's history. Mr. Shepherd's practice focuses on employment litigation, qui tam litigation, intellectual property and other complex business litigation in state and federal court.

  • IBM
  • Tribune Co
  • Countrywide
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Johnson Controls
  • Bechtel
  • Marriott
  • The Ralph Parsons Company
  • Kaiser Hospitals
  • The Permanente Medical Group
  • Foxhollow Technologies
  • Third Wave Technologies
  • Earthtech
  • Avery Dennison
  • Dinwiddie Construction
  • Endovasics
  • Waste Management
  • Medline
  • Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of Litton Industries in jury trial where plaintiff, a 62-year old management employee who had spent his entire 41-year career with defendant, claimed wrongful termination based on age discrimination.
  • Obtained defense verdict on behalf of Litton industries in a jury trial where plaintiffs claimed they were terminated in violation of public policy for refusing to testify falsely in a court of law.
  • Obtained summary judgment in each employment dispute handled for IBM except for one which settled for nominal value.
  • Obtained plaintiff verdict on behalf of celebrity photographer, Gary Bernstein, in copyright infringement and breach of contract action.
  • In published opinion, Debbie Dennis Johnson v. the Permanente Medical Group, et al,  obtained writ of mandate on behalf of the Permanente Medical Group, requiring physicians to formally complete the administrative process before seeking relief from the courts.
  • University of Chicago 
    (J.D., M.B.A, 1992)
    • University of Chicago Business Fellow
  • Bowdoin College
    (B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1988)
    • Commencement Speaker
  • The State Bar of California: Section on Employment Litigation
  • "The 'One-Flash' Rule: Is Sexual Harassment Law Different When Applied to a Sitting President?," California Labor & Employment Law Quarterly, Summer 1999, Reprinted in Employment Law Counselor, May 15, 1999
  • Co-author, "An Ounce Of Prevention: Internal Investigations One Year After Cotran," Employment Law Counselor, June 15, 1999
  • Stanford Law School:
    • Trial Advocacy Instructor, 1999
  • Silicon Valley Business Network:
    • Guest Legal Commentator
  • Member, Channel 36
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section on Employment, Litigation