Apalla Chopra’s field demands a high emotional intelligence—as well as a high I.Q. Chopra is partner at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, chair of the firm-wide labor and employment practice, and member of the firm’s executive and policy committees. Chopra’s clients include both private and public employers that require assistance from someone who knows how to address some of the most sensitive, highly-charged issues in labor and employment law today, from wage and hour class action lawsuits to investigations into the response of college administrators to reports of sexual assault on campuses.

“Employment law, by definition, deals with human disputes,” says Chopra. “I’m good at people problems. I have always been drawn to trying to understand, address, and resolve the differences between people in the workplace in a productive way —frankly, I think it’s a part of who I am, and I think it’s why I was drawn to labor and employment law.”

Chopra’s clients have included the board of visitors of the University of Virginia, Coldwell Banker, DIRECTV, and DeVry, Inc. Although she clearly has the toughness, sensitivity, and skill with words and with people to succeed in courtroom litigation, Chopra holds a strong preference for resolving issues before they end up in court—sometimes before they even become problems.

“In addition to arbitration and litigation, I do counseling work for my clients, which I also really love. I find that part of my practice to be very satisfying because I’m helping my clients ensure that their practices are consistent with the law and make sure that I’m working with them in a way that helps them achieve their practical business goals,” says Chopra. “Our best attorneys are those who understand the practical necessities and pressures that businesses are under, day-to-day. We try to be problem solvers, not problem creators.”

Chopra is an active member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Bar Association’s labor and employment law section, the American Employment Law Council, and a past president and current member of the board of governors of the Institute for Corporate Counsel. She has been listed in Best Lawyers in employment law – management, litigation – labor and employment, and labor law – management since 2010.