Client Spotlight

Dave Carothers, Marie DiSante, and Tim Freudenberger

The much-admired law firm known today as Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP (CDF) was originally founded by Marie DiSante and Timothy Freudenberger, two seasoned Orange County employment law attorneys with extensive experience at top-grossing firms. The duo established the practice in 1994 with the goal of offering the depth and skills of big law firms, while creating an entrepreneurial environment for legal counsel to deliver more personalized client service. With a startup team of six attorneys and five staff members, the business began with three California offices. By 2000, it had expanded to the five office locations it now operates in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco. In 2011, Partner Dave Carothers was added to the CDF marque.

Today, CDF consists of nearly 50 attorneys and just as many staff members. It’s one of the few statewide firms exclusively serving the needs of California employers. CDF’s high-caliber attorneys are recognized frequently within the legal profession and local community for their work and stewardship. Firm partners regularly are featured as Best Lawyers® and Super Lawyers®, and their cases often are acknowledged in the industry. In 2014, CDF received a favorable decision from the California Supreme Court in Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association that legal commentators have described as the most significant victory for employers facing wage and hour claims. For their work on this case, Tim Freudenberger, Alison Tsao and Kent Sprinkle received the 2015 “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” Awards (CLAY Awards) in class actions. Marie DiSante has been nominated for the Women in Business Awards in the Orange County Business Journal for the past five years, and Dave Carothers was recently featured in San Diego Magazine for his work as chairman of the board of the United Way San Diego County.

HKA has been proudly promoting the commendable work of this well-respected law firm since 2012. In 2014, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, HKA helped CDF announce a deeply authentic, meaningful and active partnership with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) – a charitable endeavor still flourishing today that underscores the firm’s dedicated support for military men and women and its philanthropic focus on those injured in service to the country. The WWP relationship also reinforces CDF’s general and longstanding commitment to charitable giving and community betterment.

For 20+ years, as CDF has admirably served clients and the community, it hasn’t lost sight of its founding vision – and the pillar of inclusion. CDF continues to foster firmwide diversity by providing top leadership opportunities for women and minority attorneys. CDF also mentors diverse first-year law students, helping them build successful legal careers with law firms and corporate legal departments. Sacramento Office Managing Partner Mark S. Spring represents CDF on the committee of the Sacramento Diversity Fellowship Program, an initiative sponsored by the Sacramento Bar Association. San Diego Managing Partner Dave Carothers was one of the founders of the same program in his county.

Additionally, the firm and its attorneys participate in several diversity-focused organizations and programs, including, but not limited to African American Managing Partners Network, Asian American Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association and Women Presidents’ Organization. The firm also is active in the California Minority Counsel Program. Recently, CDF attorney Denisha McKenzie was installed as President of the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association of Orange County. Like many of its clients, CDF maintains a diversity vendor supplier program, which ensures that a significant percentage of the supplies and services purchased are from minority or women-owned and operated businesses.