William J. Kilberg - Gibson Dunn LLP
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William J. Kilberg

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1983
Phone: 202-955-8573

William J. Kilberg is a Partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  He served on the Executive Committee of the Firm (1996-2011), the Firm’s five-member Management Committee (2002-2009) and as Partner-in-Charge of the Washington office (1990-1995).  He is the most senior partner in the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. 

Mr. Kilberg counsels and represents clients in all aspects of employee relations, labor relations, and employee compensation and benefits.  He has appeared numerous times in trial courts on behalf of employers in class and collective actions under the myriad of employment laws, including ERISA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.  He has argued many significant matters before eight United States Courts of Appeals and has successfully argued two cases before the Supreme Court,Egelhoff v. Egelhoff, and Murphy v. UPS.  Recently, Mr. Kilberg was lead counsel for Boeing in a complaint brought by the National Labor Relations Board challenging Boeing’s decision to open a new plant in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1973, Mr. Kilberg was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate as the Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor, a position he held until 1977.  He also has served as Associate Solicitor of Labor for Labor Relations and Civil Rights, General Counsel of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to Secretary of Labor George P. Shultz.  At the time of his appointment as Solicitor of Labor, Mr. Kilberg was the youngest person ever to be appointed to a sub-Cabinet post in the United States government.  Mr. Kilberg was President of the White House Fellows Association in 1982-83, and was appointed by President Reagan in 1982 to the Commission on White House Fellowships.  Mr. Kilberg currently serves as Co-Chair of the National Finance Committee and Chair of the Policy Committee on Labor for the Romney for President campaign.

Mr. Kilberg was elected a Fellow in the charter classes of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.  He is a member of the Board of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the Advisory Board of the American Employment Law Council, and of the ERISA Roundtable.  He serves as an Officer of the Labor and Employment Committee of the Federalist Society.

Lawdragon has described Mr. Kilberg as "the labor lawyer of choice for corporate America," and "one of the most esteemed employment lawyers in the land."  Both Gibson Dunn’s Labor and Litigation practices were selected as Departments of the Year by American Lawyer in January, 2012.  Mr. Kilberg was named MVP in employment law for 2011 by Law 360.  Mr. Kilberg has been named among the 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in the nation by Human Resource Executive magazine and in 2014 was inducted into the employment bar Hall of Fame for his “unparalleled” contributions to the field.  Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of the Top Lawyers in Labor and Employment.  He was identified as the Best Employment Litigator in the Washington-metropolitan area by the Washington Business Journal and as one of 100 "superlawyers" by the Washington Post Legal Times has characterized Mr. Kilberg as one of the "Twelve Leading Labor & Employment Litigators in the D.C. Area".  Chambers & Partners USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business lists Mr. Kilberg as a leading lawyer in ERISA Litigation, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation and Labor and Employment.  Mr. Kilberg has been listed by The Best Lawyers in America® publication for over thirty years and is recognized in the 2015 edition in the categories of Employment Law Management, Labor Law Management, ERISA Litigation, and Labor and Employment Litigation.

Mr. Kilberg served as Editor-in-Chief of the Employee Relations Law Journal from 1986 to 2003.  He has published many articles on employment and benefits issues, and often appears as a speaker on employment and employee benefits issues at Bar and other professional events.  He is co-author of the monographs "Saga of Reform: Regulation of Worker Overtime," published by the National Legal Center for the Public Interest and "The Battle Over Mandated Benefits," published by the HR Policy Association.  He is co-author of the books "Employer's Rights and Responsibilities: Legal Dilemmas in the Changing Workplace," and "Pitfalls for Japanese Employers in the United States," published in Japanese and the chapter on ERISA litigation in the PLI treatise, Securities Litigation.  He is the recipient of a number of awards, among them the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Award for Outstanding Service to the Spanish-speaking community, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Arthur Flemming Award for Exceptional Public Service, and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University Judge William B. Groat Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Industrial & Labor Relations.  In 2007 Mr. Kilberg delivered the inaugural Donald S. Shire Lecture at the United States Department of Labor.

Mr. Kilberg graduated in 1966 from Cornell University, which he attended on a scholarship from Local 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and received his law degree in 1969 from Harvard Law School.

Harvard UniversityJ.D. Cornell UniversityBS

Office Location

1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5306
United States

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management
Litigation - ERISA
Litigation - Labor and Employment