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Mar 29 Careers, Press Releases


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SAN DIEGO (March 29, 2023): Higgs Fletcher & Mack (HFM) has elected its next Managing Partner, attorney James (“Jim”) Peterson. Peterson succeeds current HFM Managing Partner Steve Cologne, who will return to his business litigation practice and expand his work as a panel arbitrator. Cologne has served as the firm’s Managing Partner since 2017. Peterson’s term as Managing Partner will begin on April 1, 2023.

Peterson began his law career as an associate at the firm in 1988 and formed the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group in 1991. He was elevated to Partner in 1993 and has built his practice at HFM over the past thirty-five years. For over 25 years, Peterson has been a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Partner Board. In his law practice, Peterson currently counsels management and litigates disputes for business clients of various sizes on claims involving the employment relationship including individual, representative and class actions. He has extensive litigation and trial experience throughout the state of California on matters involving wage and hour class action and PAGA matters, discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment claims and general claims for wrongful termination. He also counsels clients on hiring practices, wage and hour compliance, employment agreements, policy manuals, employee handbooks, termination decisions, lay-offs, and disability management.

“Jim is an incredible attorney and an exceptional leader,” said Cologne. “His experience, temperament, and business-savviness make him the ideal attorney to fill this role. I am confident that under his leadership HFM will continue to thrive, and I look forward to seeing how Jim will guide the Firm’s next chapter.”

In addition to running a successful practice, Peterson has served as the Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Labor and Employment Practice Group for ALFA International, a global network of independent law firms. He has been a frequent lecturer on myriad employment related topics and has authored several articles that have been published in a variety of legal and business publications. Peterson has been named one of the top 75 Labor and Employment Attorneys in California by the LA Daily Journal and The Recorder, has been selected as a San Diego SuperLawyer® each year since 2014. He has been recognized by the Best Lawyers®  in America publication for his employment defense skills for many years. He also serves as a panel arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association.

“It is a true honor and career highlight to be named Managing Partner of this preeminent law firm,” said Peterson. “I have spent my entire legal career here at Higgs and know this is one of the finest law firms in the country, comprised of incredibly smart and talented attorneys and an exceptional support staff. As the firm’s Managing Partner, I hope to build on the legacy of HFM’s previous leaders, and successfully navigate the firm’s path forward as both the business environment and legal profession continue to evolve.”

Peterson has been involved in many charitable and civic organizations in the San Diego community throughout his career, including serving as Board Chair for Make-A-Wish San Diego, where he continues to serve as a Board Alum and remains a significant fundraiser for the organization. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Finance and Marketing, a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate degree all from the University of Utah. Peterson is a resident of the Del Sur community of San Diego.

About Higgs Fletcher & Mack
Higgs Fletcher & Mack is a full-service law firm that serves diverse individuals and industries. For over 80 years, the firm has worked tirelessly with companies and people that need legal counsel and representation in and out of the courtroom. Higgs Fletcher & Mack’s over 70 attorneys have experience in multiple fields of law, and its internal network of legal professionals frequently coordinate in practice area groups that have multi-disciplinary dimensions, helping clients make a more informed decision. The firm is actively recruiting partner-level talent in complimentary practice areas to provide legal expertise in the San Diego region and beyond.