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Arcelia N. Magaña

San Diego

P 619-573-4900 F 619-573-4901


Arcelia N. Magaña


Arcelia N. Magaña is an associate in the San Diego, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. An experienced litigator, she provides insight into best practices to develop a stable, high-functioning workforce to avoid the disruption and expense of litigation.

Arcelia has defended more than 15 wage and hour class and representative actions over the last five years, including actions brought under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Arcelia also handles discrimination and harassment cases, and responses to inquiries by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She recently helped a client secure a full defense arbitration award in a disability discrimination case.

To keep clients out of the courtroom, Arcelia partners with them to ensure they are informed of ongoing labor and employment policy developments and are prepared to ensure compliance. 

Arcelia has particular experience defending hotels and restaurants in employment cases. Understanding the unique challenges facing hospitality employers today, she works to align her clients’ litigation strategy to their business goals and objectives.

Arcelia’s focus in labor and employment law began early in her legal career and she still finds this complex and constantly evolving area of law exciting. Arcelia began her career on the plaintiffs’ side, which provides the benefit of a well-rounded perspective and valuable insight when developing case strategies for her clients.

Arcelia speaks Spanish and dedicates much of her free time to advancing Latinos/as/xs academically and professionally through her various organizational memberships. Arcelia enjoys salsa dancing, running, reading, and spending time with her fiancé, nieces and nephews, and dogs Lula and Benito. 

Honors and Recognitions

  • California Super Lawyers®, “Rising Stars” (2020)
  • San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, President’s Award (2019)
  • Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Service (2015, 2016)
  • Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc., Outstanding Service Award (2015)

Professional Associations and Activities

  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Latinas in the Law
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • MANA de San Diego
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Elected Member At-Large
  • San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association
  • San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Scholarship Fund, Board Member

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

  • California Western Community Law Project, Volunteer Attorney
  • Casa Cornelia, Volunteer Attorney
  • San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program, Volunteer Attorney
  • Sweetwater Authority’s Citizen Advisory Committee, Chairwoman
  • UC Berkeley Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association, Board Member and Co-Chair of the San Diego chapter
  • City of Berkeley – Personnel Board, Former Board Member
  • City of Escondido – Personnel Board of Review, Former Board Member

Published Works

  • “Paving the Road Towards a More Just and Equitable Future: The Status of Women of Color Judges – Nationally, California-Wide, and Across San Diego County,” Lawyers Club of San Diego (February and March 2021) [Author]
  • “DOE-Re-Mi: DOE Amendment Basics,” Trial Bar News (January 2018) [Author]
  • “Narrowing the Legal Loophole: California Labor Code Section 925,” Trial Bar News (October 2017) [Author]
  • “Private Prisons,” Trial Bar News (May 2017) [Author]


  • “Unconscious Bias and Social Movements. How Do Employers Respond,” Associate of Corporate Counsel (ACC) San Diego Chapter – Virtual (August 2021) [presenter]
  • “Navigating a Safe Return to Work,” San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) Labor and Employment Section – Virtual (July 2021) [presenter]
  • "Introduction to Labor and Employment Law Field," Employment and Labor Law Society (ELLS) - California Western School of Law (San Diego, CA, October 2019) [panelist]