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 20 wage and hour class and representative actions over the last seven 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 Civil Rights Department (CRD) 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 husband, nieces and nephews, and dogs Lula and Benito.

Honors and Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America©, “Ones to Watch: Litigation - Labor and Employment” (2023)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers®, “Rising Stars” (2020, 2022-present)
  • 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, General Counsel (Pro-Bono)
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member and Labor and Employment Law Section, Executive Committee (2019-2022)
  • San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, 2022-2023 President and Scholarship Fund At-Large Director

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 (2021-2022)
  • UC Berkeley Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association, Board Member (2016-2022) 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]


  • “California Wage and Hour Update,” Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) San Diego – Virtual (March 2022) [presenter]
  • “Women of Color in Law,” IGNITE – Virtual (March 2022) [panelist]
  • “Sharing Wisdom Across Generations (S.W.A.G.): Latinx y La Ley,” U.C. Berkeley Chicanx/Latinx Alumni Association and Chicanx Latinx Student Development – Virtual (October 2021) [panelist]
  • “Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month,” California Western School of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law Latinx Law Student Associations – Centro Cultural de La Raza (San Diego, CA, October 2021) [panelist]
  • “Unconscious Bias and Social Movements. How Do Employers Respond,” Association 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]