When reflecting on the firm’s launch in 1994, founding partner Marie DiSante is both struck by, and proud of, how much of the partners’ original vision continues today.
“We wanted to serve clients statewide from day one and to offer the depth of experience and skills of big law firms but with a twist,” she recalls.
Quicker decisions, more creative pricing, increased flexibility with staffing and case management, a greater emphasis on educating clients, and a collaborative practice were all part of the partners’ grand scheme.
Positioning the firm to be as entrepreneurial as their clients’ business was also a goal from the start for founding partners DiSante, Timothy Freudenberger and Christopher Carlton - to practice as “business people and lawyers rolled into one.” They parlayed their experiences as labor and employment law counselors, all with AmLaw 100 firms, and hung their shingle as CDF in Orange County.
The firm’s first clients included South Coast Plaza, The Vons Companies and several manufacturers, all of which remain clients of the firm to this day.
From a start-up group of six attorneys and five staff, CDF followed a pattern of cautious growth that reflected our clients’ needs and the state’s expanding economy. By 2000, CDF counseled employers from offices in Orange County, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. In 2011, attorney Dave Carothers became a name partner.
Today, CDF is home to more than 40 attorneys and 45 staff, many of whom have been with the firm for more than 10 years. Together, we represent regional, national and global employers with workforces throughout the state and are one of the few statewide firms exclusively servicing the needs of employers in California.