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Samuel J. Cordes


Phone: (412) 338-1163

Practice Areas:
Employment Law

Bar Admissions:

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

Samuel Cordes primarily represents plaintiffs in employment discrimination, ERISA, civil rights and constitutional law matters. Visit Sam’s Employment Law website for even more information.

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).

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 2004-2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America®; the 2004-2019 editions of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and the 2018-2021 edition of LawDragons, representing the best plaintiff employment lawyers in the United States.   For the past several years he has been listed as one of the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Pittsburgh, and one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review calls 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 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, 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).

Samuel Cordes in the News:

30 years later, Americans with Disabilities Act still lauded but ‘work is never done’

Legal experts: Mask requirements likely don’t violate Americans with Disabilities Act

Reporter sues Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for racial discrimination

Fired IUP worker sues Driscoll

Washington for-profit college targeted in employment lawsuit

Former Consol president sues coal company

Lawsuit claims former Mt. Lebanon volleyball coach behaved inappropriately

If you’re tax delinquent, Allegheny County will no longer hire you

Fired WTAE anchor Bell files suit for reinstatement

Judge rules on information requests in Wendy Bell discrimination case

White TV anchor fired after racial comments fights back with discrimination lawsuit

Allegheny County settles with Air Force veteran who lost job while deployed

Former Mylan executive sues over firing

Norfolk Southern suing engineer over Sewickley train crash

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