Dan Siegel

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Dan Siegel

Dan Siegel is a well-known civil rights lawyer who represents individuals, labor unions, and community organizations in complex civil litigation. He is nationally known as an expert in employment and labor law, particularly in cases involving college and university faculty members and athletics coaches. Siegel writes and lectures frequently on trial practice, labor and education law, and other legal matters. He teaches education law at Mills College and is a former president of the Oakland School Board and former chair of the Oakland Housing Authority, the Greater Oakland YMCA, and the Oakland Community Policing Task Force. He served as legal advisor to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.[1]

He has tried over 125 cases to jury verdict.

Law background

Siegel is a 1970 graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in 1967. After working for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County and the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Project in Southeast Asia, Siegel entered private practice in 1973. His store front community law collective specialized in employment discrimination, labor law, and civil rights litigation and developed an extensive practice representing pipeline workers in Alaska, shipyard workers in San Diego, casino employees in Las Vegas, and farm, cannery, factory, and office workers throughout California.

In 1987 he joined the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office as chief of complex litigation. While there he led the effort to settle a 14-year-old employment discrimination case against the San Francisco Fire Department, negotiating a consent decree that guaranteed affirmative action in hiring and promotions for women and people of color. He successfully defended the decree in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court against a challenge by the firefighters union.

In 1989 Siegel became General Counsel for the Oakland Unified School District. He supervised the district’s legal, labor relations, and security departments and successfully defended the district in several high profile trials.

In 1993 Siegel resumed private practice. He and his partner Anne Butterfield Weills launched their college and university practice when they represented Jenny Harrison in her suit against the University of California for sex discrimination in the denial of tenure in the Berkeley Mathematics Department. As a result of their aggressive advocacy, the University agreed to a settlement which led to Dr. Harrison’s appointment as a tenured full professor and a substantial financial award.

Siegel next took on Donna Hunt’s case for sexual harassment against the University of California at Davis. That suit ended successfully, with a cash settlement and ongoing support for Ms. Hunt as she completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Geology. That case led to the termination of the professor who harassed Ms. Hunt, only the second dismissal of a tenured professor for misconduct in the entire history of the University of California.

In 1997, Siegel won the largest employment law case in Arizona history, a $1 million verdict against Arizona State University for Dr. Laurie Vollen, former director of student health. Dr. Vollen was fired after she argued with the university’s athletic director over the care provided to student athletes. In 1998, Siegel won a $700,000 judgment for a CalTrans biologist, Sally Walters, who suffered sexual harassment and retaliation on the job.

In early 2000, Siegel and Weills won a judgment of over $1.0 million for Dr. Colleen Crangle in her gender bias and retaliation case against Stanford University, the first loss ever for Stanford in a civil rights case. In spring 2003, they won a $1 million judgment in a tenure discrimination case against Brown University, representing Fred Shoucair, a native of Lebanon.

In 2007 Siegel won the two largest verdicts ever awarded in cases brought under Title IX, the law that forbids sex discrimination by colleges and universities and requires gender equity in intercollegiate athletic programs. In July a Fresno jury awarded $5.85 million to Lindy Vivas, former basketball coach at Fresno State. In December, Siegel and Warren Paboojian won a $19.1 million verdict for Stacy Johnson-Klein, who was fired from her job as head coach of Fresno State's women's basketball team.

Siegel has developed an sports law practice, representing college and professional coaches throughout the country. He and his associates also have an active labor law practice. Their clients include the National Union of Healthcare Workers and several locals of the Service Employees International Union.

Siegel writes and lectures frequently on trial practice, labor and education law, and other legal matters. He teaches education law at Mills College and is a former president of the Oakland School Board and former chair of the Oakland Housing Authority, the Greater Oakland YMCA, and the Oakland Community Policing Task Force.

He is a principal in Oakland law firm Siegel & Yee.[2]

Student radical

Dan Siegel, Berkeley

Dan Siegel was an activist at UC Berkeley at the height of the Vietnam War. He was elected Student President in 1969, and on May 15th of that year he and fellow students clashed with riot police over Peoples' Park, a day which would become known as "Bloody Thursday" because one student was killed by police bullets during the clashes.[3]

Attorney General run

Dan Siegel received 200,000 votes as candidate for Attorney General of the state of California.

Early NAM founders

Among the earliest founders of the New American Movement were James Weinstein of Chicago and West Coast radicals including Michael Lerner, formerly of the Seattle Liberation Front, Theirrie Cook, a supporter of the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice and Dan Siegel, former student body president at the University of California, Berkeley.[4]

In June 1971, a pamphlet and other materials calling for a New American Movement national organizing meeting began to be circulated, sponsored by Theirrie Cook, Michael Lerner and Charles "Chip" Marshall, plus Douglas Dowd, Karen Hamilton, Charles Fulwood, Joy Marcus, Roger Hamilton, Dan Siegel, Nina Marina, David Danning, Judy Oringer, Louis Feldhammer and Kathy Johnson - later on the staff of the People's Bi-centennial Commission.[5]

The People's Convention

On July 14-16 (probably 1984) The Coalition for a People's Convention "a broad grouping in the Bay Area", organized The People's Convention in order to "unite on and present a people's program to the DNC and to network the many local efforts to win people's power from around the country. Its purpose is to enhance local efforts and amplify them into a united voice and demonstration for reorienting our society away from military aggression and towards meeting the needs of all our people".

Endorsers from the San Francisco-Bay Area included Dan Siegel, Executive Committee, Federation For Progress, Siegel was also a contact for the conference.[6]



SURVIVAL FEST 84 was held August 5 1984 in MacArthur Park.

"Come To Hear And Strategize With Those Changing The 1980's"

  • How can we support each other in electing progressive local candidates?
  • How can we make electoral work serve the grassroots movements for a freeze, for U.S. out of Central America and human needs?
  • How can we over turn the racist dual primary system in the South?
  • Is working inside and outside the Democratic Party a viable strategy and how can it be done?
  • How can we formulate demands to revitalize our basic industries without falling into the pitfall of the chauvinist anti-import solution -- letting U.S. finance capital off the hook?

This event was organized by the Communist Workers Party front, the Coalition for a People's Convention. The event was advertised in a half-page notice in the Marxist weekly Guardian, their Book Supplement - Summer 1984, p. 12, and the Communist Workers Party and Federation For Progress were listed as participants.

Bay Area endorsers of the event included:

Siegel also spoke at the rally.

Communist Workers Party

In the 1980's Dan Siegel was a public spokesman for the Communist Workers Party.[7]

NDM leader


In 1986, the three co-chairs of New Democratic Movement, were Phyllis Jones, Dan Siegel, and Jerry Tung.

Institute for Policy Studies

In 1993 Dan Siegel was listed among "former fellows, project co-ordinators and staff" of the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington DC.[8]

Supporting Sandre Swanson

In 2006, Dan Siegel, Oakland School Board Member , was one of many prominent Northern California leftists to serve on State Assembly hopeful Sandre Swanson's Honorary Campaign Committee.[9]

Association for Union Democracy

In 2008 Dan Siegel was listed on the Advisory Board for the Association for Union Democracy.[10]

DataCenter Donor

In 2007 Dan Siegel and Anne Butterfield Weills were listed on the DataCenter's annual report as donors to the organization. The Oakland, California based DataCenter is widely regarded as the intellegence wing of the United States Left and has close ties to Cuba.[11]

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

Dan Siegel of Mills College School of Education signed the statement.[12]

Leaving Jean

In the midst of the eviction of Occupy Oakland, despite Jean Quan's desire that the movement split up along pro- and anti-encampment factions, the most serious divisions seem to be taking shape in her own administration. In the wake of the November 14 raid, her long-time legal advisor Dan Siegel resigned, explaining, "The city sent police to evict this camp, arrest people and potentially hurt them. Obviously, we're not on the same page. It's an amazing show of force to move tents from a public place."

Soon after, Sharon Cornu, Quan's co-deputy mayor and former leader of the Alameda Central Labor Council, resigned. Her exact reasons are unclear, and Cornu's parting remarks seemed to indicate her support for Quan's decision to raid Oscar Grant Plaza. "The situation on the plaza was untenable," said Cornu.[13]



In 2017 Dan Seigel was a member of the BAMN publiv Facebook group.