David M. Wachtel

Firm: Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC
Location: Washington - DC

  • 1666 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Fifth Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20009
  • Tel : 202.328.1666
  • Fax : N/A

David Wachtel has practiced employment law for individual employees in Washington, D.C. since 1993. Recently, he has been selected by colleagues as a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and by Law Dragon as one of the Top 500 Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyers in the country. Reviews from over two dozen past clients are available on the AVVO site.

Dave’s work includes trial court and administrative litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He has successfully represented employees with claims of race, sex, age, and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, violation of civil service rights, interference with FMLA rights, and retaliation on the basis of whistleblower activity in the nuclear, aviation, defense, and finance industries.

Dave offers individuals suffering job loss or workplace harassment individual attention, lean, versatile strategies, and a calming influence on (almost) every stressful situation.

Since joining Trister, Ross in February 2016, Dave has broadened his practice to advise dozens of non-profit organizations on all manner of employment law policy and compliance questions.  He offers organizations an especially informed and experienced understanding of employment policy and how to achieve resolution of workplace disputes.


University of Texas School of Law, with honors, 1989
Texas Law Review Editorial Board
Washington University in St. Louis, B.A., 1984

Bar Admissions:

District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Fourth, Seventh Circuits
District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Prior Professional Experience:

Partner, Bernabei & Wachtel, PLLC, 2006-2016
Associate and Member, Rose & Rose, P.C., 1993-2005


D.C. Circuit Mediation Panel
National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA)


STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVE: Obergefell v. Hodges and the Future of LGBT Rights in the Workplace, Employment Law Daily Wrap Up

Contributed to CCH Labor Law Reports:  Insight, Game-Changing Wal-Mart Ruling May Mean Fewer, Smaller, More Narrowly Focused Class Actions.

Contributed to CCH Employment Law Daily Alerts on Walmart v. Dukes

Quoted in Corporate Wellness Programs Require Legal Compliance Check-up, Labor Law Reports Insight

Amended Disabilities Act Widens Protection, Policy & Practice: The Magazine of the American Public Human Services Association

Interactive Process for Hiring the Disabled, Policy & Practice: The Magazine of the American Public Human Services Association

What Does Broad New Definition of ‘Retaliation’ Mean to You? The HR Specialist’s Employment Law

Sanctions for Deleting and Over-writing Electronic Information: Broccoli v. Echostar Communications Corp., Maryland State Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment Law Newsletter

Perspective: Managing Your Employees’ Emotional Disability Claims, You & the Law

Spotlighting: Shop Smart for Insurance Against Employee Bias Claims, You & the Law,

Spotlighting: Sexual Harassment: Supreme Court Says You’re Safe If You Exercise “Reasonable Care.” What Does That Mean? You & the Law


Panelist, Employee Well-Being: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams in the Workplace, The American Bar Association

Panelist, Addressing Smart Technology: Ethical & Evidentiary Issues, National Employment Lawyers Association, Annual Convention

Panelist and Organizer, Smart Phone Discovery, Privacy, and Practice – A Braver Newish World, District of Columbia Bar, Labor & Employment Section

Sexual Orientation and Identity in Employment Law, Audio Conference for West Legal Education Center (with Karen Tanenbaum, Esq.)

Are You Smarter Than Your Cell Phone? Audio Conference for West Legal Education Center (with Matthew Radler, Esq.)

Seminar on Issues in the Administration of Justice for the Tribunal of Justice of Rio de Janeiro, Litigating a Civil Case –Summary Judgment & Pretrial Issues, Washington, D.C.

UAVs/Drones and Privacy Issues, Audio Conference for West Legal Education Center

EEOC’s Final ADAAA Regulations, Audio Conference for Law Seminars International

Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC

Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC combines personalized client service with decades of broad experience and specialized legal expertise. We are proud to advise and represent a broad range of clients, from national nonprofits, political organizations, unions and family foundations to local grassroots organizations, small businesses, employees, political services providers and candidates. Every lawyer here believes in our clients, their values and their work.

Our employment law practice does two things. We advocate for individual employees and we advise progressive non-profit groups. For individuals, we litigate issues like sexual harassment, age discrimination, failure to accommodate disabilities, and retaliation against whistleblowers.

We also negotiate employment agreements, non-compete agreements, and separation agreements.

For non-profit organizations and other progressive and political groups, we advise on almost the entire employment relationship, from hiring, through handbooks and policies, performance improvement, and termination. We help clients find respectful, efficient ways to work through disputes.