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Samuel J. Cordes


Sam Cordes (photo)


(412) 338-1163


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10.0Samuel John Cordes



Sam primarily represents plaintiffs in employment discrimination, ERISA, civil rights and constitutional law matters.

Sam has tried numerous high profile cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania. He was lead counsel in the largest individual age discrimination verdict and largest pregnancy discrimination verdicts ever awarded in the Western District of Pennsylvania, and won the first employment case under the Americans with Disabilities Act to be tried to verdict in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Sam recently won the first case in Pennsylvania in which the Court found that a public employer's failure to provide retiree spousal health care benefits to a gay couple violates Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause: Seech v. Gateway School District, GD16-05672 (C.P. Allegheny June 23, 2017). Some of his noteworthy appellate cases include: Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, 849 F.3d 61 (3d Cir. 2017); Ryder v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 128 F.3d 128 (3rd Cir.1997), cert denied, 522 U.S. 1116 (1998); Brewer v. Quaker State Oil Refining Corp., 72 F.3d 326 (3d Cir. 1995); Fiscus v. Wal-Mart, 385 F.3d 378 (3d Cir. 2004); Boyle v. Allegheny County, 139 F.3d 386 (3d Cir. 1998); Robinson v. Pittsburgh, 120 F.3d 1286 (3d Cir. 1997); Fowler-Nash v. Democratic Caucus of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 469 F.3d 328 (3d Cir. 2006); Armour v. County of Beaver, 271 F.3d 417 (3d Cir. 2001), cert denied, 535 U.S. 1079 (2002);

Best Lawyers in America® has designated Sam the Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year for 2017. He is a Fellow of the National College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is rated AV by Martindale-Hubble, and is listed in the 2004-2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in America®; the 2004-2017 editions of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers; the 2017 Top 100 Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania and the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review calls Sam Cordes "the Archangel of employment rights" in Western Pennsylvania; an "excellent and extremely creative lawyer, which makes him dangerous for the opposition." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that Sam Cordes is "extremely smart in the scholarly sense and has that practical street smart sense. You don't see that combination in too many lawyers."

Sam teaches and writes extensively on employment law and legal ethics. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 articles on employment law topics for local and national publications.  He often lectures on employment law topics for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, as well as other local and national organizations. He also is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Point Park University where he teaches graduate courses in Communications Law.

Sam holds a B.A. in Journalism and Communication, magna cum laude, and an M.A. in Journalism, summa cum laude, from Point Park University. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was an editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce.

Sam is a member of the American, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Allegheny County Bar Associations.  He has served as Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association Trial Practice Committee (2005-2015); Chair of Amicus Committee of Pittsburgh Chapter of National Employment Lawyers Association (2000-2010); Member of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Litigation Education Advisory Committee; and Vice Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee (1996-1998).

Bar Admissions:

Pennsylvania, Ohio

Court Admissions:

United States Supreme Court; Pennsylvania Supreme Court; Ohio Supreme Court; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third  Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit;   U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; (Court of Military Appeals);   District Courts, Western District of Pennsylvania; Middle District of Pennsylvania; Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Southern District of Ohio.


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