California Dreaming: Regulating the Gig Economy


Date: Friday, Feb. 25
Time: 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Location: Virtual event
Registration: Email to RSVP.


Join McGeorge School of Law on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 for the 2022 Pacific Law Review Symposium. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or information about accommodations for this event, please contact Symposium Editor Matt Urban at Seven hours of CLE credit will be offered during the symposium.

This program has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of seven hours of general credit. McGeorge School of Law certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved educational activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing Minimum Continuing Legal Education.



  • Pacific Law Review
  • McGeorge School of Law Capital Center
  • McGeorge School of Law Public Policy Programs


The rise of disaggregated modes of production have disrupted labor economies around the world by replacing stable employment relationships with short-term contracts. The “platform economy” exemplifies this trend, with platforms created by companies designing apps to connect those seeking services with workers providing those services. Common examples are platforms that connect people with a driver who will provide transportation (e.g., Uber) or deliver food (e.g., DoorDash).

The relationship between the worker and the person paying for the service is fleeting and potentially a singular event. Just as a band will arrange to play a “gig” at a bar for a few hours without becoming employees, an Uber driver will accept discrete driving “gigs” through the Uber app without becoming an employee of the riders or of the Uber platform. Many applaud this new reality; many others decry it. But one thing is certain: the “gig economy” is here, and the only real question is how best to foster and regulate this new reality.

Over the past few years, California has acted far more aggressively than most other states, through a combination of court decisions, legislation and a Proposition enacted by the voters in 2020 The California experience has been complex and somewhat convoluted, but the guiding principle is clear. This is the next great moment in the centuries-old contest between management and labor, fought under the competing rhetorical ideals of “freedom of contract” and “worker protection.” This timely symposium at McGeorge School of Law will explore the complex history and uncertain future of such regulation. Legislators, lobbyists, lawyers, academics, and business owners will find the event deeply informative.

Keynote Address

Former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) will deliver the keynote address. She was elected in May of 2013, promising to fight for California's working and middle classes. The Atlantic Magazine labeled her "The California Democrat Setting the National Agenda" for her practical, progressive legislation aimed at alleviating real issues in people’s lives. Asm. Gonzalez led the fight for the adoption of AB5, and has sponsored a variety of bills that focus on the needs of workers in the modern economy. She has resigned from the Assembly and will be leading the California Labor Federation beginning in July. She will discuss the future of regulating the gig economy in California.


Miriam Cherry is Professor of Law and Co-Director, William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law at St. Louis University School of Law. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the intersection of technology and globalization with business, contract, and employment law topics. In her recent work, Cherry has focused on the role of virtual work in the economy.

Valerio De Stefano has recently joined Osgoode Hall School of Law as Associate Professor. He previously was BOF-ZAP Research Professor of Labour Law at the Institute for Labour Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium. He has published extensively on the platform economy.

Veena Dubal is Professor of Law at UC Hastings College of Law. Her research focuses on the intersection of law, technology, and precarious work. She uses empirical methodologies and critical theory to understand the impact of digital technologies and emerging legal frameworks on the lives of workers. She has also written about the role of law and lawyers in solidarity movements. Her scholarship on the gig economy extends from commentary in popular media to top tier law reviews.

Michael Maslanka practiced employment law for more than thirty years before joining the faculty of the University of North Texas — Dallas, where he is now Associate Professor of Law. He has published extensive materials on the practice of Employment Law, casebooks on Employment Law and anti-discrimination law, and law review articles.

Jeffrey Michael is Director of the Public Policy Programs and Professor of Public Policy at the McGeorge School of Law, the first ABA accredited law school that grants MPP and MPA degrees. He is widely sought after for his economic analyses of major public policy issues impacting California, and is an expert in regional economic development and forecasting.

Francis J. Mootz III formerly served as Dean of McGeorge School of Law before joining the faculty as Professor of Law. He teaches Employment Law and is co-editor of the casebook, Learning Employment Law. His scholarly articles have focused on the emergence and impact of employment practices liability insurance, and also on the employment issues raised by state-legal cannabis.

Peter Leroe-Muñoz serves as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Technology & Innovation for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, where he focuses on autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, data privacy, international trade, and immigration. He began his legal career in Intellectual Property litigation, and has also worked as In-House Counsel for a financial advisory firm.

Winifred Poster teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. Her scholarship explores on feminist labor theory, digital globalization, and Indian outsourcing. Her focus is on the intersection of post-colonial computing with the political economy of service labor.

Susan E. Provenzano is Professor of Practice at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She practiced in the areas of Employment Law and Anti-Discrimination Law, and has taught these courses at Northwestern University as a Professor of Practice.

Leticia M. Saucedo is the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law. She is an expert in employment, labor, and immigration law and she teaches immigration law, employment law, labor law and torts at UC Davis.

Caitlin Vega cofounded the union-side lobbying and campaign firm, “Union Made,” after serving as Legislative Director of the California Labor Federation. As a labor lawyer, Caitlin specializes in legislative efforts to combat misclassification and the fissured workplace. In particular, she worked for the enactment of AB5 by the California legislature.