Stephen T. Lanctot


Steve Lanctot specializes in general business law with an emphasis on labor and employment issues. He represents a number of closely held corporations in a variety of industries in corporate transactions and strategic issues, including matters related to executive compensation, personnel policies, privacy issues, providing proactive counseling and compliance, as well as litigation avoidance. He also represents executives in negotiating compensation agreements and counseled them on creating exit strategies with optimal outcomes.

He has experience in maritime and transportation law and served for two years as associate division counsel for Sea-Land Service, Inc.

As part of his employment counseling practice, Steve advises with respect to sexual harassment and other training issues, disciplinary, disability and family leave and severance issues, and compliance with FLSA and other regulatory schemes. Steve's industrial relations practice includes the representation of management in collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, and NLRB administrative hearings.

He also drafts personnel manuals and other human resources materials for clients of all sizes in various industries, tailoring policies and procedures to each client's unique human resource and operational requirements.

General Business
Steve counsels clients on the risks and rewards of business formation, joint venture and other strategic transactions, and reorganizations. His wide-ranging expertise includes advising clients in matters of incentive-based compensation, salaries, commission schedules, deferred compensation agreements, severance benefits, stock option and other equity participation plans, and shareholder issues.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

Steve has lectured on labor and employment law before numerous private and public organizations. He served on the Board of Directors of the nonprofit National Brain Tumor Society for 17 years (1994-2011) and is chair of the Board of Directors of Immaculate Conception Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in San Francisco. Steve also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of San Francisco School of Law (1979-1985).


Steve earned his undergraduate degree in History from Santa Clara University (1973) and his law degree from the University of San Francisco in 1978.

Notable Representations

Employment for a greentech company
Steve represented the founder of a greentech company in Silicon Valley who sought review of a separation agreement and a consulting agreement with an aggressive non-compete provision. Through negotiations, the former employer ultimately dropped the consulting agreement, and Steve focused on negotiating the separation agreement, which ultimately included mutual release of claims, mutual non-disparagement, fair severance payment as well as other favorable terms and conditions.

Employment for an e-marketing agency
Steve represented an e-marketing agency client in a case involving a substantial services agreement that required it to dramatically increase its employee headcount on very short notice in order to perform the contracted services. The new contract prohibited subcontracting by the agency, forcing it to either reject the contract or do the impossible: immediately recruit and hire dozens of highly skilled and specialized professionals and risk breach of the no-subcontracting provision. Steve worked to transform the targeted subcontractor into a staffing agency to deliver the requisite added workers without risk of breach of the new contract.

Case Studies

Amazon Advertising

Coblentz represented Amazon Advertising, a prominent San Francisco agency, in a complicated, three-part acquisition by the French holding company, Publicis Groupe, S.A. We provided a wide range of directly relevant and related counsel, including contract law, litigation, choice of law, tax,...


Coblentz represented the Fairmont Hotel chain in a variety of matters concerning its western properties, including labor negotiations, employment disputes and litigation, commercial litigation, leasing, ADA access issues, land use issues, and vendor contracts.


Sterling Group

Coblentz represented The Sterling Group, a nationally known branding and design agency, in its acquisition by Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group. The transaction involved an earnout and complex covenants relating to confidentiality and competition restrictions.