Marleen Sacks has over 20 years of experience in education and labor law, specializing in employee discipline, student rights and litigation related to employment and education matters. She has successfully prosecuted and negotiated the dismissal of dozens of classified and certificated personnel, and is an expert in labor relations. She regularly represents clients in labor arbitrations and in proceedings before the Public Employment Relations Board, and is extensively involved in defending employers against allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other civil rights issues, at both the trial court and appellate levels. Ms. Sacks also has expertise in the area of special taxes, having litigated multiple claims involving the collection and appropriate expenditures of special assessments, parcel taxes and bonds, at both the trial and appellate levels. 

Ms. Sacks is an accomplished litigator, having defended dozens of cases in state and federal courts, as well as the California Court of Appeal. She has had numerous successes in getting cases dismissed at the demurrer and summary judgment stages. In addition, Ms. Sacks has conducted and supervised hundreds of workplace investigations, including sexual harassment, discrimination, stalking, embezzlement, substance abuse and numerous other varieties of workplace misconduct. Ms. Sacks has extensive experience in successfully resolving charges filed against employers by state and federal agencies such as the Office for Civil Rights, EEOC and DFEH. She regularly provides advice to her clients in the area of accommodation of employees with disabilities, the Public Records Act, the Brown Act and student expulsions.

Representative Matters

Ms. Sacks was the lead attorney in a groundbreaking case at both the trial and appellate level involving the ability of a school district to redirect students from overcrowded schools.  (Helena F. v. West Contra Costa Unified School District (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1793 [57 Cal.Rptr.2d 605].)  Recently, she prevailed at both the trial and appellate court levels in another landmark decision, Ripon Unified School District v. Messick (2009) 177 Cal. App. 4th 1379, a published decision regarding the right of school districts to discipline and terminate tenured teachers for failing to obtain EL (“CLAD”) certification. 

Practice Areas

News & Publications

Events & Speaking Engagements

Ms. Sacks speaks frequently at education conferences around Northern California. She also provides training seminars in the areas of workplace investigations, sexual harassment and discrimination prevention, accommodation of disabilities, student discipline, bullying deterrence, and documenting employee misconduct. 


Ms. Sacks is a contributor to The Legal Handbook for California School Administrators, a desktop reference guide for public school administrators. She also contributes to the firm’s publications.

Community Involvement

Community & Professional

Ms. Sacks is a former board member of the Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, and served for two years as a mock trial coach at College Park High School in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. She regularly serves as an attorney scorer in Alameda County's mock trial program for high school students. She is also a member of the California Council of School Attorneys.


J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law
B.A., University of California, Davis


  • 1992, California
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
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