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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United States, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for six consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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United States > Labor and employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Legal market overview
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Labor and employment teams have seen increasing demand for counseling work as the varying federal, state and local employment laws challenge, in particular, national employers. Compliance and due diligence are the order of the day and often the regulations of the strictest jurisdiction are implemented to avoid disputes. Several states and municipalities, in particular the traditionally Democratic ones, have adopted new laws and ordinances on a variety of topics, including protected time off, sexual harassment training, and salary history inquiries that will take effect in 2019. The Trump administration has meanwhile kept busy in rolling back pro-employee rules and executive orders made under Obama. Together with gaining a Republican majority in the NRLB and the Supreme Court, many are anticipating more drastic changes to the law with time.

Unsurprisingly, one of the continuously dominant topics has been #MeToo. An unparalleled amount of people has come forward with alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace; social media and fast travelling news have made such accusations an inevitable danger to the company’s reputation and revenue that employment lawyers are instructed right away resulting in busy counselling practices. Also in connection with #TimesUp, employees feel more empowered and a spike in sexual harassment, pay equity and discrimination lawsuits is observable.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court in May 2018 upheld the enforceability of arbitration agreements containing class and collective action waivers of wage-and-hour disputes. With an increase in filings of multi-plaintiff wage-and-hour lawsuits over the last few years, employers started to implement an arbitration program with class and collective action waivers; however, their enforceability has continued to divide opinions in courts until the Supreme Court had the final say. With this decision, arbitration numbers have increased again.

Immigration has been another hot topic. The Trump administration has at least been consistent in its rhetoric, which signals its intention to reduce business immigration.¬†Every case now stands on its own, and it no longer matters how long somebody has been in the US and how often a particular visa has been approved in the past. While there have been no changes in the law in itself, adjudication has changed, with issues being adjudicated that were not seen before, for instance what counts as a ‚Äėspecialty occupation‚Äô.

Existing rules are more stringently interpreted and the level of scrutiny has increased by USCIS, which, apart from causing a lot of frustration, resulted in a sharp increase in the requests for additional evidence across all visa categories and a higher denial rate. When it comes to permanent residence application, while these are pending, an applicant cannot leave the country, as otherwise the application will be considered abandoned. Premier processing for H-1B (specialty occupation) visas have been suspended since March 2018. For law firms, this means that not only will every application have to be more carefully reviewed to make them watertight, but they will also need to keep up with the fast-changing policies.

Questions that companies face in this rather hostile and uncertain environment include what they are able to do now and how to manage their workforce. Companies also face huge pressures, with an uptick in workplace investigations being conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Moreover, investigations into visa fraud are said to have increased as well. Despite these developments there is still a huge demands for US visas, so much so that there is a significant backlog, particularly for green card applications with an average of 18 months waiting time.

Moreover, advancing globalization and the overall good health of the economy raise new issues regarding employee mobility. Lawyers are noting an increase in the complexity and occurrence of non-compete agreements, restrictive covenants and trade secret disputes. In addition, tax reforms implemented by the Trump administration continue to affect the field of executive compensation. Most notably, the repeal of exemptions to the deductibility of performance-based remuneration under IRC Section 162(m) has influenced the structuring of executive pay. Further, transparency in the field of executive pay is increasingly a hot-button topic. The employee benefits space saw a shake-up due to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision to vacate a DOL fiduciary rule, which sought to significantly expand financial advisors’ fiduciary responsibility under ERISA. Finally, pension plan design is in a transition phase as preference shifts from defined benefits plans to 401(k) defined contribution plans.

Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design

Index of tables

  1. Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

The attorneys at the ‚Äėpremier‚Äô Washington DC-based Groom Law Group¬†are ‚Äėthe best of the best‚Äô when it comes to employee benefits and executive compensation law. Allison Ullman¬†is ‚Äėa true pleasure to work with‚Äô and David Levine¬†‚Äėbrings great experience and intelligence to his work‚Äô. The ‚Äėvery knowledgeable‚Äô Jeff Witt¬†advises public and private companies on the full range of mandates including qualified retirement plans, executive compensation agreements, defined contribution plans and DOL audit preparations. Also of note are¬†Rachel Leiser Levy¬†(‚Äėa rock star in the area of healthcare policy‚Äô), and¬†Mark Lofgren, who specializes in matters concerning the IRS and the Department of the Treasury. Clients also recommended Stephen Saxon¬†and Jeffrey Kroh¬†for administrative and legislative matters concerning tax-exempt organizations and ERISA fiduciary compliance. Other names to note include¬†Jon Breyfogle, Michael Prame¬†and Thomas Roberts, all of whom have expertise in fiduciary compliance, health plan structuring and collective investment funds.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP¬†fields ‚Äėa¬†highly responsive and knowledgeable‚Äô 75-lawyer team across 11 offices nationwide, providing ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô advice on the entire scope of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. The ‚Äėextraordinarily knowledgeable‚Äô Craig Bitman¬†heads the practice from the New York office, where he advises a client roster of public businesses, trusts and individuals on qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, health and welfare benefit plans, equity compensation agreements and fiduciary compliance issues. Washington DC-based Althea Day¬†is noted as ‚Äėa¬†very experienced and responsive‚Äô professional, having advised a roster of Fortune 100 companies, tax-exempt organizations and governmental employers. Deputy practice leader Amy Pocino Kelly, John Ferreira¬†and Matthew Hawes¬†are names to note in the Pittsburgh office, and Lisa Barton¬†leads the team in Massachusetts. Chicago-based Lindsay Goodman¬†was also praised by one client as ‚Äėan extremely intelligent‚Äô associate. Standout clients for the team include Honeywell International, Toyota, Exela Technologies and Talen Energy.

According to one client, the 50-lawyer team at Proskauer Rose LLP¬†is ‚Äėthe best that a client can expect'; indeed¬†'there is no problem or issue the team can‚Äôt solve‚Äô. Anthony Cacace¬†and Neal Schelberg¬†‚Äėalways bring unique ideas to the table and run circles around other law firms‚Äô; the latter serves as benefits counsel to multi-employer pension and welfare benefit plan trustees including Morgan Stanley, the NHL, the NBA and Star Gas Partners. Robert Projansky¬†designs and implements 401(k), defined benefit and health and welfare plans for clients including S&P Global, Philip Morris and Citigroup. Washington DC-based practice co-head Paul Hamburger¬†serves as primary outside counsel to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico; in a major ongoing mandate, Hamburger is assisting with the restructuring of its retirement plans to address the board‚Äôs pension liabilities; Ira Golub¬†is assisting on the matter. Also recommended are Washington DC-based¬†Seth Safra¬†and associate Elizabeth Down, who has acted for clients such as Beckton, Dickinson & Co, the Metropolitan Opera Association and UPS. Myron Rumeld¬†and¬†Rory Albert¬†jointly head the practice group.¬†Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s full-service employee benefits and executive compensation team boasts a client base comprising plan sponsors and fiduciaries such as banking institutions, broker-dealers, insurers, trade associations and investment entities. Key individuals include practice head Paul Ondrasik, and Melanie Nussdorf, who has particular expertise in ERISA fiduciary mandates including prohibited transactions and DOL corrections. Nussdorf and Eric Serron handled a number of plan compliance corrections in response to DOL investigations, and Ondrasik and Edward Mackiewicz are providing broad legal advice to numerous health and welfare funds. Notable clients include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Patrick Menasco left the firm for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and William Bortz joined as senior counsel from the US Treasury Department. The team is based in Washington DC.

Winston & Strawn LLP has a highly regarded practice group comprising 30 professionals primarily based in Chicago. Recent highlights included assisting Applied Materials with complex ERISA fiduciary, securities and IRS requirements involving the termination of the company’s $400m common stock fund held in its 401(k) plan. Co-head Nancy Gerrie, of counsel James Isaac and associate Juliet Rognile handled the matter. Also of note, David Rogers, Brian Benko, Ruth Wimer and Joanna Kerpen in the Washington DC office are advising Embraer Aircraft Holding on its health and welfare and retirement plans, and are also assisting leisure travel company Carnival Corporation with its domestic and international benefits and compensation plans. Susan Nash, with assistance from Amy Gordon and Marcus Garcia, is lead counsel to Starbucks regarding the adoption of a private healthcare exchange for its employees. Practice co-head Scott Landau, Steve Flores and associate Ariane Andrade are also recommended. AECOM, Lear Corporation, Holland America Group, Broadridge Financial Solutions and Argent Trust Company are also among the team's clients.

Baker McKenzie LLP fields a ten-partner employee benefits and executive compensation team following the promotions of Denise Glagau and Aimee Soodan to partner in the San Francisco and Chicago offices respectively. Another contact in the San Francisco office is Barbara Klementz, who serves as managing partner following the retirement of Valerie Diamond, and has particular expertise handling the implementation of global equity compensation programs. In Chicago, Maura Ann McBreen provides expertise on single employer, multi-employer and multinational benefits, as well as the implementation of tax-qualified retirement plans. Another name to note is Brian Wydajewski, who focuses on designing domestic and international equity compensation plans. Sinead Kelly, Victor Flores and newly hired counsel Maria Weydemuller, all based in San Francisco, also come recommended.

Greenberg Traurig LLP¬†acts as external counsel on employee benefits and executive compensation matters for a solid client base including Western Digital, NFP, Collective Health, Granite Construction and Midlands Management Corporation. Silicon Valley-based Magan Ray¬†serves as ERISA counsel to companies such as Twitter, Xilinx and Intuit, which she advises on 401(k), health and welfare and deferred compensation plans as well as fringe benefit matters. Richard Sirus¬†in Chicago has ‚Äėthe ability to think outside of the box to reach creative conclusions‚Äô when it comes to designing and implementing retirement plans, ESOPs, executive compensation arrangements and ERISA Title 1 compliance. Renee O‚ÄôRourke¬†in Denver, Steven Lapidus¬†in Miami and Ian Herbert¬†in Washington DC are also names to note. Leslie A Klein¬†and Jeffrey Mamorsky¬†jointly head the practice group from Phoenix and New York respectively.

Leveraging a 30-lawyer team of ‚Äėindustry-leading‚Äô experts,¬†McDermott Will & Emery LLP¬†provides¬†‚Äėworld-class advise‚Äô on all aspects of employee benefits mandates. New York‚Äôs Steven Eckhaus¬†is particularly noted for his expertise in negotiating¬†executive compensation arrangements, and the ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Todd Solomon, who leads the practice from Chicago, is the key name for designing and amending pension plans, profit-sharing arrangements and ESOPs. In a recent practice highlight, Solomon and Boston-based Andrew Liazos¬†assisted Darden Restaurants with a major pension de-risking exercise.¬†In addition, Liazos and Boston-based Joseph Urwitz¬†advised Chipotle on the restructuring of its executive compensation agreements in light of the 2017 tax reforms. Also recommended are Dallas-based Allison Wilkerson¬†and Erin Turley, who 'exceed all expectations‚Äė for their clients, and together provide ongoing employee benefits advice to clients including Dr. Pepper, Cactus Feeders, Freeman Decorating and the American Council of Engineering Companies. Also of note, the Washington DC office was recently strengthened by the addition of David Fuller¬†from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Other key clients include HSBC, Lenovo, MasterCard and Snapchat.

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Miller & Chevalier Chartered provides comprehensive service with dedicated lawyers advising on health and welfare plans, qualified plan implementation, DOL investigations and compliance, executive compensation and fringe benefits. The Washington DC-based team is headed by Theresa Gee, who is particularly known for her expertise in ERISA fiduciary concerns. Michael Khalil is a key contact for ACA compliance issues.

Notable recent mandates for the team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP include drafting defined benefit and 401(k) plan amendments for Estée Lauder and preparing amendments to long-standing client Incyte’s employee stock incentive plan and executive compensation agreements; New York-based Peter Hunt led on both matters. Having joined the San Francisco office from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in 2018, Jonathan Ocker regularly advises public companies, boards of directors and high-profile executives on compensation and corporate governance issues. In one matter, Ocker advised VICE Media on a newly instated CEO’s preparation agreement. The team also provides ongoing employee benefit and executive compensation advice to Clearwater Paper, Bank of the West and Hewlett Packard. San Francisco-based Christine Richardson is another key contact, and Cindy Schlaefer was made practice head in 2018 following Susan Serota’s retirement.

According to one client, the ‚Äėdown-to-earth‚Äô team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP¬†has ‚Äėa level of knowledge and professionalism that far exceeds all expectations‚Äô. A standout mandate for the practice included¬†Richard Schwartz¬†advising David Yurman Enterprises on certain 401(k) and executive compensation agreements; senior counsel Richard Loebl¬†and associate Chelsea McCue¬†in New York were also involved in this matter. Chicago-based Jonathan Karelitz¬†and Jennifer Neilsson¬†act as outside counsel in relation to RR Donnelley‚Äôs employee benefit plans, while New York-based Randell Montellaro¬†provides ongoing advice to Northwell Health on a range of issues including 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans and required submissions to the IRS and DOL. Schwartz and Howard Pianko¬†(also based in New York) provide ongoing qualified and non-qualified retirement and executive compensation plan advice, as well as benefit plan consolidation advice to multi-hospital system the University Hospitals Health System. Chair Robert Flanagan¬†and¬†Diane Dygert¬†(chair-elect as of 2019) jointly head the practice from the Chicago office.

The ‚Äėextremely knowledgeable‚Äô professionals at Arent Fox LLP¬†‚Äėalways have the answers‚Äô for their clients, which include Monsanto, AARP, Carl Zeiss, Choice Hotels International and Jimmy Choo. In particular, clients have singled out the ‚Äėvery smart and organized‚Äô practice head Quana Jew, and¬†William Charyk, a¬†‚Äėtrusted advisor‚Äô.¬†As well as serving as outside counsel the its existing client roster, the Washington DC-based team was newly retained by the American Bankers Association to advise on its employee benefits issues including retirement, health and welfare and fringe benefits plans. Further instructions involved drafting executive deferred compensation plans, ESOPs, stock option plans and defined benefits arrangements.

Ballard Spahr LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėvery knowledgeable and practical‚Äô benefits practice saw considerable growth in 2018 following a merger with Lindquist & Vennum PLLP, which brought to the team Minneapolis-based Joshua Natzel¬†and Robert Hartman. ‚ÄėExcellent advisor‚Äô and practice head¬†Brian Pinheiro¬†has ‚Äėthorough knowledge of the benefits field and is pleasure to work with‚Äô; he and Diane Thompson¬†regularly handle matters involving executive compensation, including 409A and 280G compliance, health and welfare benefit plans and qualified and non-qualified retirement plans. In addition, the team advises Capital Health on C-suite deferred compensation agreements, and assists Wawa Inc with its ESOP and employee health benefit arrangements. Further, Pinheiro and counsel Edward Leeds¬†are providing ERISA fiduciary advice to CSL Behring. Additional clients include American Pension Services, NRG Energy and Union Pacific. Named lawyers are based in Philadelphia unless otherwise stated.

Ongoing clients for the team at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered¬†include NASA Federal Credit Union, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Public Welfare Foundation and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The team has expertise in drafting 409A, 457(f) and 457A deferred compensation plans as well as the application of 403(b) ‚Äėchurch plans‚Äô. Practice head Richard W. Skillman¬†and of counsel Ronald G. Cluett¬†are key names for this Washington DC-based practice. Joanne Youn left the firm for an in-house position at TrustBridge Global Foundation in Switzerland.

The team at Dechert LLP is co-chaired by David Jones in Philadelphia and Andrew Oringer, the latter of whom advises on ERISA matters for clients including Credit Suisse Securities, Actua, Cerebus Capital Management and FMC. Oringer also leverages his fiduciary Title 1 expertise, acting as primary counsel to a client roster of investment banks and managers, mutual funds and trust companies regarding changes to the DOL’s fiduciary rule (and subsequent repeal). Having recently joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Steven Rabitz brings even more experience to the team’s ERISA practice and is instructed by clients from the investment management sector. Partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Kansas City-based Martin Moderson¬†leads Dentons‚Äô pensions, benefits and executive compensation practice group, which advises on qualified retirement, deferred compensation, 403(b), 457(b), ESOPs and all other relevant mandates. Washington DC-based attorney Michael Maryn¬†(‚Äėvery attentive and skilled‚Äô) conducted a Section 280G tax analysis for Veraction as well as a review of its employee benefits and equity incentive compensation plans. Kansas City-based Katharina Babich¬†has particular experience advising on troubled plans, including DOL and IRS employee plan audits and COBRA compliance audits.

Goodwin’s practice head, Scott Webster, provides ERISA Title 1 advise to financial services organizations and fund sponsors. Retirement plan asset investments (including fiduciary, investment and prohibited transaction matters) and the establishment and operation of collective investment vehicles including VCOCs and REOCs are particular strong points. Natasha George is a key name for designing, implementing and terminating executive compensation and severance agreements, while San Francisco-based Lynda Galligan provides the full range of compensation and benefits advice to clients in the technology and life sciences sector. James Mattus also comes recommended for structuring, implementing and administering equity-based and incentive compensation plans, including providing advice with respect to tax and securities law. Rachel Smith and Sarah Bock are also names to note in the Boston-based team.

Headed by Joy Napier-Joyce¬†in Baltimore, the team at Jackson Lewis P.C.¬†provides ‚Äėan unparalleled level of expertise‚Äô and ‚Äėexceeds all expectations‚Äô when it comes to advising on employee benefits matters. Recent highlights for the team included advising on a number of IRS benefit plan investigations for both public and private companies, including the necessary restructuring of a 401(k) plan. In addition, Greenville-based Suzanne Odom¬†(who recently joined the team from Nexsen Pruet, LLC) implemented a Section 457(f) executive employment agreement for the CEO of three related non-profit organizations, and Brian Johnston¬†handled the implementation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics‚Äô nationwide 403(b) retirement plan roll-out. The team saw further growth with the addition of San Francisco-based¬†Yana Johnson¬†from Morrison & Foerster LLP, and David Sawyer, who joined the Miami office from Ogletree Deakins.

Maureen Gorman in Palo Alto leads the employment and benefits practice at Mayer Brown, which has expertise in domestic and international tax and benefit advice, ERISA fiduciary compliance and preparations for IRS and DOL investigations. Highlights include Gorman and counsel Karen Grotberg advising the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on its qualified plan structuring, and Lennine Occhico assisting a global private equity fund with the structuring and establishment of an investment vehicle in compliance with securities law and ERISA obligations. The team also serves as primary ERISA counsel for a leading hedge fund. Debra Hoffman is another key contact. Adapt Pharma, Envestnet, Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Hartford Financial Group are also noteworthy clients. Named lawyers are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Thompson Hine LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team acts for an extensive client roster that includes names such as Cardinal Health, Kroger, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Verizon and Macy’s. Kim Wilcoxon leads on group health plan mandates including ACA compliance, while Edward Redder has expertise in ERISA fiduciary compliance. Wilcoxon and Tim Brown continue to assist News Corp with its $2bn 401(k), pension and deferred compensation plans, and Cleveland-based Julia Ann Love is handling all US employee benefits matters for NCR. Further, practice head Laura Ryan is advising Fifth Third Bank on its 401(k), frozen pension and group health plans. Named lawyers are based in Cincinnati unless otherwise stated.

Notable mandates for the ‚Äėtechnically competent, easy to work with and very responsive‚Äô team at Vedder Price¬†include ongoing executive compensation advice to Hewlett Packard and 401(k) and defined benefit advice to ArcelorMittal. In a unique matter, practice co-head Kelly Starr¬†is advising newly acquired client Coaching Right Now on executive compensation, employee benefits, independent contractor and contingent workforce issues for its decentralized workforce spanning 20 countries. Patrick Spangler¬†serves as primary outside counsel to aviation services company AAR, and Thomas Hancuch¬†advises educational supplies company Follett on benefits matters including medical and welfare, incentive and deferred compensation plans. Thomas Desmond¬†co-heads the practice, and Daniel Lange¬†and Christopher Collins¬†are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Chicago.

Baker & Hostetler LLP has experience in the implementation of retirement, health and welfare, executive compensation and 409A plans, acting for a range of clients including multi-employer funds and public company executives. Cleveland-based John McGowan and John Boyd are advising a health insurer on the impact of ACA repeal-and-replace initiatives, and Columbus-based Georgeann G. Peters assisted a financial services client with changes to its retirement and 401(k) plans. Raymond Malone in Cleveland regularly handles the design and implementation of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including 457 plans, and also acts as benefits counsel to hospitals, universities, church-affiliated institutions and other tax-exempt employers. Also recommended is Susan Lubow in Columbus, who is advising a regional airport authority on its benefits and welfare plans structures, including HIPAA compliance issues.

The team at DLA Piper LLP (US) provides the full range of benefits services and has expertise in the design and implementation of qualified retirement plans, ERISA regulation, pension fund investments and welfare benefit plan implementation. Cisco Palao-Ricketts co-heads the practice from Silicon Valley, and has a particular focus on executive compensation in the life sciences and technology sectors. Richard Ashley and Rita Patel also co-head the practice from Chicago and Washington DC respectively; Patel regularly advises public companies on retirement and deferred compensation plans as well as implementing plan failure strategies under IRS and DOL correction programs, and Ashley regularly works with plan administrators on benefit plan compliance and testing issues. New York-based Adrienne Scerbak is a key contact for ERISA Title 1 mandates, and Mark Muedeking is a name to note in the Baltimore office.

Michelle Capezza¬†and Gretchen Harders¬†jointly¬†lead Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.‚Äôs ‚Äėresponsive and highly capable‚Äô practice group, which was recently strengthened by the addition of Tzvia Feiertag¬†from Marathas Barrow & Weatherhead LLP and the promotion of Andrew Shapiro¬†to partner. The full-service practice advises on the design, implementation and termination of retirement, executive compensation and health, welfare benefit plans and ERISA Title 1 compliance. Other key contacts include¬†Sharon Lippett, Chicago‚Äôs Christopher McMican¬†and associate Cassandra Labbees. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

The team at Eversheds Sutherland¬†received particular praise for its knowledge of complex tax issues arising from benefits and executive compensation designs, with one client stating its ‚Äėdepth of knowledge far exceeds what other firms can offer‚Äô. The ‚Äėexceptionally bright and knowledgeable‚Äô practice head Adam Cohen¬†‚Äėknows how to grow a strong team‚Äô;¬†Paul Lang, Atlanta-based Brenna Clark¬†and Vanessa Scott¬†also received top client praise.¬†Plan fiduciary and ACA compliance are particular strengths, with one key highlight seeing Scott advising the US Chamber of Commerce on ongoing legislative changes in the employee benefits and executive compensation field. Atlanta-based associate Brittany Edwards-Franklin¬†was also commended for her ‚Äėpositivity, availability and relentless desire to solve complex issues‚Äô. Also of note, the ‚Äėproactive and responsive team‚Äô was further strengthened by the arrival of Robert Neis¬†from the Department of the Treasury. Lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Washington DC-based Michael Collins and Palo Alto-based Stephen Fackler jointly head Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team. Typical instructions including advising on executive and director compensation, equity compensation, retirement plans, health and welfare plans and retention and severance arrangements. The team acts as counsel to a solid client base including Amazon, AECOM, the NLF Players Association and MGM Resorts; it was also instructed by Parson in relation to the design and administration of its ESOP arrangement.

Clients rate¬†Ivins, Phillips & Barker¬†for its ‚Äėdeep experience and expertise in tax laws and regulations specific to employee benefits‚Äô. Kevin O‚ÄôBrien¬†heads the Washington DC-based boutique, and has ‚Äėa wealth of knowledge and practical experience‚Äô with issues including executive compensation, plan design, ERISA fiduciary compliance and hybrid plans. Of counsel Harry Gutman¬†has expertise in federal tax legislation and regulatory issues, and¬†Los Angeles-based¬†Steve Witmer¬†serves as primary outside benefits counsel for a range of corporate clients. Jodi Epstein¬†is the name to note for qualified plan expertise. IBM, General Mills, Jacobs Engineering, Con Edison and GE are among the team's clients.

Jenner & Block LLP’s Chicago-based practice group acts as external counsel to clients such as General Dynamics, Hertz, SPX and Olin, which it advises on the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Sarah Haddy is advising The Budd Company’s Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), which was established following the company’s Chapter 11 proceedings, on all aspects of the trust’s maintenance including investment, administration and fiduciary compliance. Matthew Renaud heads the practice group, and Raymond Sinnappan comes recommended for pension de-risking strategies. Tony Ling left the team for Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

K&L Gates¬†has experience in¬†redesigning management stock plans and implementing deferred compensation plans for a number of public companies and assisting a hedge fund manager with 409A and 457(a) compliance issues.¬†‚ÄėStandout‚Äô Charlotte-based attorney James Earle¬†acts as outside counsel on executive compensation matters for global clients in the financial services, manufacturing, telecoms, and utilities sectors. ‚ÄėTop-notch‚Äô¬†Charles Smith¬†in Pittsburgh focuses on corporate transactions involving ESOPs and employee benefit fiduciary matters, and Charlotte-based Lynne Wakefield¬†is the name to note for health and welfare benefit plan drafting including ACA and ERISA compliance. Also recommended are¬†Matthew Jones¬†and Douglas Love¬†in Chicago and Seattle respectively.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. was recently strengthened by the addition of Washington DC-based O’Kelly McWilliams, who was previously a managing partner at Gordon & Rees. The team advises global and national clients on retirement plans, welfare plans, pensions and ACA healthcare reform compliance. Practice leader Alden Bianchi in Boston and New York-based Andrew Bernstein also advise on executive compensation issues and ERISA fiduciary compliance. Boston-based of counsel Patricia Moran also comes recommended for her expertise in health and welfare plan matters including fringe benefits, COBRA and health savings accounts. Key clients include Adecco, Arbella Insurance, Paradign Health Plans, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Dunkin’ Donuts.

On the employee benefits front, the Chicago-based team at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP assists with the design and implementation of the full range of plans including 401(k), healthcare and pension arrangements, and also provides comprehensive ERISA compliance advise. Jointly headed by Patricia Cain and Jeffrey Bakker, the team also has expertise in devising deferred, incentive and equity-based executive compensation programs. Linda Hoseman is also a key name for qualified retirement and welfare benefit plans.

Key contacts at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP include Patrick Menasco, who recently joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and Austin Lilling, who joined in New York from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. The team is sought out for its experience of devising compensation and benefits restructuring solutions for distressed companies, and also has particular expertise in the areas of financial services and banking. Associate Bibek Pandey comes recommended for his experience with the DOL exemption process; clients in this field include Barclays, Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank. Other typical mandates include advising private companies on executive compensation matters and plan fiduciary assistance. Additional clients include UBS, BNP Paribas, AllianceBernstein and Deutsche Bank. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s Boston-based practice received client praise for its expertise in ERISA matters including prohibited transaction, Title 1 fiduciary and other compliance issues. Practice head David Guadagnoli and Amy Sheridan also advise on healthcare reform and HIPAA privacy and security requirements, IRAs, deferred compensation agreements and ESOP plans for large and small employers. The team’s client base includes Iron Mountain, ING, Cambridge Trust and The RMR Group.

Thompson & Knight LLP acts as legal and tax counsel on employee benefits and executive compensation plans for a client base including Mary Kay, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, USA Compression Partners and NGP Energy Capital Management. Tax practice leader Todd Keator, Russell Gully, Neely Munnerlyn, senior counsel Sharon Fountain and associate Jessica Morrison regularly advise on the design and administration of qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans and welfare benefit plans. Named lawyers are based in the Dallas area.

Venable LLP’s practice head Thora Johnson has a particular focus on employer health plans and welfare benefits, and routinely advises clients on the establishment of plans pursuant to ERISA, IRS, ACA and HIPAA regulations. Harry Atlas is the key name for devising and implementing 403(b) and 457 non-qualified plans, as well as equity compensation agreements. The team also handles the fiduciary and tax qualification aspects of ESOPs and managing DOL fiduciary rule risk. Washington DC-based Kenneth Hoffman is also a key contact. Johnson and Atlas are based in Maryland.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acts for a number of prominent asset managers, investment banks, plan sponsors and other financial entities, with standout names including Citigroup, Warburg Pincus, Genstar Capital, Bloomberg and HealthEquity. The team's service covers the full scope of employee benefits and executive compensation matters, including ERISA obligations such as fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transactions, and designing and implementing complex compensation arrangements for investment professionals. Michael Katz, Peter Haller and Mark Holdsworth are the key names, and Geri Anne McEvoy was promoted to partner in 2018. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional

Index of tables

  1. Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is instructed by Fortune 500 and private corporations such as Versace, Google, Abbott Laboratories, Western Digital and American Express. In one of many significant ongoing transactions, Arthur Kohn and counsel Kathleen Emberger are advising Honeywell on its $4.5bn spin-off of its Homes and ADI Global Distribution subsidiaries into a new publicly listed entity. Bob Raymond acts for private fund clients including TPG, KKR and Blackstone, and recently advised Hillhouse Capital on ERISA matters connected to a $10.6bn fund formation. Michael Albano and counsels Mary Alcock and Laura Bagarella assisted Google with numerous matters including the $1.1bn employee cooperation agreement with HTC and a string of other acquisitions. Also recommended is counsel Caroline Hayday, who handled a number of benefits and executive compensation matters throughout 2018, including Cushman & Wakefield's $831m IPO on the NYSE, and Versace’s $2.1bn sale to Michael Kors Holdings. The firm also provided ERISA Title 1 advice to financial institutions such as Citibank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and ING. Names attorneys are based in New York.

The ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP¬†was involved in a number of upper-market M&A transactions throughout 2018, which included¬†Jennifer Conway¬†advising Time Warner on its $109bn sale to AT&T. Similarly, ‚Äėsuperb and extremely responsive‚Äô practice head Eric Hilfers¬†is providing benefits and executive compensation advise to The Walt Disney Company in connection with its $85bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Jonathan Katz¬†handled a number of deals, including Northrup Grunman‚Äôs $9.2bn acquisition of Orbital ATK, and Brookfield Asset Management‚Äôs $5.1bn acquisition of TerraForm Global. The ‚Äėvery hands on and knowledgeable‚Äô team also advised The Linde Group on its $70bn merger with Praxair, a transaction which resulted in the world‚Äôs largest industrial gas supplier. Other notable clients include Santander, IMB, AXA, Amazon and Johnson & Johnson. All named partners are based in New York.

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Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s New York-based employee benefits and executive compensation team is advising on a number of market-leading transactions. Practice head Edmond Fitzgerald advised Aetna on its $77bn acquisition by CVS Health, and Kyoko Takahashi Lin acted for Comcast in relation to the $40bn share capital acquisition of Sky. Another key contact is Jeffrey Crandall, who advised General Electric on its $11.1bn merger with Wabtec, and also assisted SS&C Technologies with the $5.4bn acquisition of DST Systems. Veronica Wissel is noted for her executive compensation, employee benefits and ESOP expertise, and acts for clients such as Crestview Partners, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking, Mastercard and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Also recommended is Jean McLoughlin, who assisted Ferrero Group with its $2.8bn acquisition of Nestle’s US-based operations, and also advised pharmaceuticals group Roche on its $2.4bn share acquisition of Foundation Medicine.

The 15-partner team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is regularly involved in high-profile corporate transactions, which recently included acting for Caesars Entertainment in relation to its $18bn Chapter 11 restructuring proceeding; New York-based Scott Price and Chicago-based Jeffrey Quinn led that matter. Also in Chicago, Michael Falk acted for Boeing in its $4.3bn acquisition of KLX, advised Tenneco on its $5.4bn acquisition of Federal-Mogul, and also acted for private equity firms GTCR and Sycamore Partners in relation to a £1.1bn stake acquisition in CommerceHub. In addition, Alexandra Mihalas acted for Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in its $1.9bn sale to The JM Smucker Company. Boston’s Katherine Coverdale was recently made partner, and Matthew Antinossi in Chicago is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô practice group is headed by¬†New York‚Äôs Bradd Williamson¬†and is particularly active in the energy, technology and asset management industries. Recent highlights¬†included New York-based Lori Goodman¬†handling the equity compensation plans in connection with Spotify‚Äôs $26.5bn direct IPO listing on the NYSE. Additionally, San Francisco-based¬†Julie Crisp¬†and Los Angeles-based¬†Laurence Seymour¬†are advising T-Mobile on the benefits and compensation issues arising from its impending $126bn merger with Sprint Corporation; this deal will create the second largest wireless carrier in the US. In Silicon Valley, James Metz¬†handled CH2M Hill‚Äôs ¬£3.3bn sale to Jacobs Engineering Group, while David Taub¬†in Los Angeles assisted Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners with its $1.8bn subsidiary sale to USA Compression Partners. Michelle Carpenter¬†is ‚Äėa true pleasure to work with and leaves no stone un-turned‚Äô; also based in Los Angeles, she advised Impact Biomedicines on its $7bn acquisition by Celgene Corporation. Also recommended are Washington DC-based¬†Adam Kestenbaum, who has experience of equity transactions in the oil and gas sector, and associates¬†Nikhil Kumar¬†in Washington DC and Jordan Salzman¬†in New York. Vice chair of the global tax department David Della Rocca¬†also has a particular focus on employee benefits and executive compensation matters.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP regularly advises target companies on market-leading transactions, with 2018 highlights including advising Bioverativ on its $11.6bn acquisition by Sanofi, assisting ILG with its $4.7bn acquisition by Marriott Vacations Worldwide, and advising eviCore on its $3.6bn sale to Express Scripts Holding. The New York-based team is jointly led by Andrew L. Gaines and Lawrence Witdorchic, the former of whom advised on Chapter 11 proceedings for radio station operator Cumulus Media. The team’s expertise also encompasses ERISA-related issues including withdrawal liabilities to multi-employer plans in connection with corporate M&A and restructuring. Other key clients for the team include Automatic Data Processing, General Atlantic Partners and KPS Capital Partners. Robert C. Fleder retired in December 2018.

The team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP now includes seven partners following the promotion of Jeannine McSweeney in January 2019. In a significant transaction in the private equity space, Gregory Grogan advised a Blackstone Group-led consortium on a $20bn partnership agreement with Thompson Reuters. An equally sizeable public transaction saw David Rubinsky advising Vistra Energy on all executive compensation and employee benefit matters related to its $20bn merger with Dynegy. Practice head Brian Robbins has been instructed by high-profile senior executives including CEOs of Avon Corporation, National Geographic, Evercore and Ralph Lauren; he also recently advised Dover Corporation on its $3bn spin-off of Apergy. Other names to note include Palo Alto-based Tristan Brown, who was involved in KKR’s $9.9bn acquisition on Envision Healthcare and Andrew Blau, who has expertise in equity and cash-based incentive schemes, deferred compensation and retirement plans. Named lawyers are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s global executive compensation and benefits practice is headed by Regina Olshan, who was involved in some of 2018’s largest M&A deals; Olshan acted for 21st Century Fox in its $71bn sale to Walt Disney, and also advised Express Scripts Holding Company on its $67bn sale to Cigna. Further, Neil Leff acted for Liberty Mutual Insurance Group in its $3.3bn subsidiary sale to Lincoln National Corporation, and also advised XL Group on its $15.3bn sale to AXA. Other names to note include Erica Schohn, who handled Keurig Green Mountain’s acquisition by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group; Palo Alto-based Joseph Penko, who advised The Warranty Group on its acquisition by Assurant; and Joseph Yaffe, who serves as West Coast executive compensation and benefits group leader and divides his time between the Los Angeles and Palo Alto offices. Named lawyers are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Acting for a multinational corporate client base, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz assists the firm’s wider M&A practice on employee benefits and executive compensation issues in the context of high-value acquisitions, spin-offs, IPOs and bankruptcies. In a standout matter, Andrea Wahlquist is acting for Celgene in relation to its $74bn sale to pharmaceutical industry giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. Jeannemarie O’Brien and Adam Shapiro are also notable contacts in the New-York based team. Michael Segal retired from the firm in 2019.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s practice experienced notable growth in 2018, with Denise Glagau and Chicago-based Aimee Soodan being made partner, and of counsel Maria Weydemuller joining the team from an in-house role at Electronic Arts. In San Francisco, Glagau and Victor Flores advised Trimble on its $1.2bn acquisition of Viewpoint. Also recommended is Chicago-based multi-employer benefits expert Maura Ann McBreen and Brian Wydajewski, and global equity expert Barbara Klementz, who heads the San Francisco office. Other standout matters included McBreen assisting German company Knauf with its $7bn acquisition of USG Corporation, and Chicago’s Christopher Guldberg advising CRIF on $20bn of subsidiary sales to private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acts for a variety of well-known corporates and investment firms including Amazon, Getty Images, Verizon and HarbourVest Partners. Elizabeth Pagel Serebransky recently advised AIG on the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of its $5.6bn acquisition of insurance company Valdius Group, and Meir Katz is advising Ply Gem Holdings on its $5.5bn stock-for-stock merger with NCI Building Systems. Further, Jonathan Lewis assisted an investment consortium with a $4.1bn acquisition of Kindred Healthcare. Also recommended is practice chair Lawrence Cagney, who is instructed by clients such as Apple, AXA Equitable, Walt Disney and Edward Jones, and recently advised International Paper on its $1.8bn merger with Graphic Packaging. All named partners are based in New York.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s New York-based practice group acts for prominent investment firms such as AEA Investors, CVC Growth Fund and Wendel. Clients particularly praised the team for its resourcefulness and up-to-date knowledge of market trends and developments. Donald Carleen, Amy Blackman, Washington DC-based Adam Kaminsky and practice head Jeffrey Ross acted for Goldman Sachs in a number of transactions, including its $1.6bn joint venture acquisition of Lucid Energy Group II and its acquisition of Aviation Facilities Company. The team also advised Humana, as part of a consortium, on the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of its $4.1bn acquisition of Kindred at Home.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has particular strength in the TMT and life sciences sector, where it advises high-profile clients such as 21st Century Fox, Dell, Adobe, Oracle and Marvell Technology Group. Martha Steinman in New York and newly promoted counsel Michael Applebaum handled the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of 21st Century Fox’s $71bn sale to The Walt Disney Company. Additionally, Silicon Valley-based Michael Frank and Washington DC-based senior associate Benjamin Clark drafted Adobe’s multi-jurisdictional executive-retention plans in relation to its $1.7bn acquisition of Magneto Commerce. Other notable mandates include advising biotech company Celgene on its $9bn acquisition of Juno Therapeutics. Also recommended in Washington DC are Margaret de Lisser, Kurt Lawson, Carin Carithers and Christian Chandler.

Based primarily in Chicago, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s global benefits, compensation & employment head Todd Solomon leads a 30-lawyer team, which was recently saw the addition of Chicago-based Theodore Becker and Richard Pearl, who joined the team from Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, and David Fuller in New York, who joined from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. A notable transaction saw Chicago’s Diane Morgenthaler and Lisa Loesel advise on specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries’ $630m acquisition of JM Huber. Also in Chicago, Judith Wethall handled CVS’s market-leading acquisition of healthcare company Aetna in a $63bn transaction. Dallas-based Erin Turley and Allison Wilkerson are assisting Trinity Industries with a spin-off transaction of its infrastructure-related businesses, and Andrew Liazos in Boston advised on the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of WABCO Holdings’ $250m buy-out of vehicle manufacturer Meritor. Also recommended is Steven Eckhaus in New York.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a particular strength in the executive compensation space, where recent highlights saw Gina Lauriero acting for the executive team of FXI Holdings in its acquisition by One Rock Capital Partners, and David Zelikoff advising the executive team of Duff & Phelps on the company’s acquisition by private equity firm Permira. In addition, Gary Rothstein and Mary Hevener advised Dr. Pepper Snapple Group on existing equity employee entitlements and severance arrangements in relation to its $40bn sale to Keurig Green Mountain. Also recommended are practice head Craig Bitman, and Philadelphia-based Amy Pocino Kelly, who acted for Aramark in its $1.4bn merger with Avendra. Daniel Salemi joined the Chicago office from Franczek Radelet. Unless stated otherwise, all named lawyers are based in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s nationwide practice handles the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation issues for high-profile listed companies including Celgene Corporation, Henry Schein and Discovery. In the New York office, Ira Bogner handles the ERISA fiduciary aspects of private fund formations and is involved in big-ticket M&A transactions for financial services companies, entertainment companies and tax-exempt organizations, and Andrea Rattner advised on the definitive agreement concerning Celgene’s $9bn acquisition of Juno Therapeutics. Further, Los Angeles-based Colleen Hart was involved in Ares Management’s $1.6bn acquisition of Convergint Technologies. Washington DC-based Joshua Miller has particular experience of management buy-outs in the healthcare, technology and private equity sphere. New York-based Michael Album is also recommended. Michael Sirkin retired in January 2019.

Headed by Doreen E Lilienfeld, Shearman & Sterling LLP advises on all employee benefits and executive compensation issues in the context of public and private corporate transactions. Recent highlights include acting for LyondellBasell Industry in the $2.2bn acquisition of plastic supplier A. Schulman, and assisting KMG Chemicals with its ongoing $1.6bn acquisition by Cabot Microelectronics Corporation. Representative clients for John Cannon include Danone, Boston Scientific Corporation, SS&C Technologies and Thompson Reuters; in a recent highlight, Cannon and associate Matthew Behrens advised Knauf on its $7bn acquisition of USG Corporation. Also recommended is Linda Rappaport, who acts for clients in the financial services and entertainment sectors including Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Sony. Kenneth Laverriere is noted for his ERISA Title 1 expertise and is instructed by clients including the New York State Deferred Compensation Board, S&P Global and GE. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Clients praised Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP¬†for its ‚Äėdepth of knowledge‚Äô of the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of upper-market M&A transactions and IPO offerings. Additionally, the ‚Äėresponsive and accessible‚Äô team acted in high-profile Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings for clients including A&P, Claire‚Äôs Stores and Sears Holdings. Practice head Paul Wessel¬†advised Brookfield Asset Management and Brookfield Property Partners on its $14.4bn common stock acquisition of General Growth Properties, and Michael Nissan, who has particular expertise in the private equity space, advised Mubadala Investment Company on the $4.7bn sale of its 60% equity interest in EMI to Sony. ‚ÄėFirst-class practitioners‚Äô¬†Amy Rubin¬†and associate¬†Amanda Rosenblum¬†are also contacts; Rubin recently assisted Blackstone and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division with its $1.9bn sale of data and technology solutions company Ipreo to IHS Markit. Associate Jennifer Britz¬†is also a name to note. The team was further strengthened with the addition of counsel Ellen Sueda¬†from King & Spalding LLP. All mentioned lawyers are based in New York.

Acting for high-profile private and publicly-traded companies,¬†Winston & Strawn LLP‚Äôs 19-partner team brings ‚Äėattention-to-detail and commercial pragmatism‚Äô to major transactions. Practice co-head Scott Landau¬†and associates Maria Kenny¬†and Jennifer Stadler¬†advised private equity firm The Wicks Group¬†on a number of transactions including its acquisition of Nutrionix, and the sale of Gladstone Group Holdings to investment firm The Jordan Company. Chicago-based William Merten¬†heads the ESOP practice and acts for clients including AArete and GreatBanc Trust. Also recommended is¬†Nyron Persaud, who advised on bonus and equity agreements and other employee benefits issues arising from Mind Gym‚Äôs $145m IPO on a London Stock Exchange sub-market. Further clients include Water Street Healthcare Partners, Atlas Holdings, Bed Bath & Beyond and A&M Capital Partners. Nancy Gerrie¬†co-heads the practice from Chicago, and David Rogers¬†is the managing partner of the Washington DC office. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

The team at Dechert LLP was recently strengthened by the addition of fiduciary compliance and prohibited transaction expert Steven Rabitz, who joined the New York office from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. Rabitz and executive compensation expert Andrew Oringer acts for a number of global financial services firms in fund structuring mandates and related issues requiring compliance with ERISA fiduciary standards. Co-head David Jones sits in the Philadelphia office alongside Eric Rubin, and advises public and private corporations, private equity investors and hedge funds on 280A and 409A tax compliance issues in the context of M&A. Standout transactions include acting for Actua Corporation in its $549m aggregate subsidiary sale, and advising Differential Brands Group on the $1.4bn majority acquisition of Hong Kong-listed licensing business Global Brands Group Holding. New York-based Stephen W Skonieczny is another name to note. Additional clients include Court Square Capital Partners, Credit Suisse Securities, FMC Corporation and Cerberus Capital Management.

Based in Washington DC, the multi-disciplinary practice at¬†Groom Law Group¬†recently advised on¬†a number of pension de-risking exercises and related annuitization transactions, and also assisted with the employee benefit plan implications of multiple corporate spin-offs. Clients praised the team, which includes¬†David Levine¬†and Jeff Witt, for its ‚Äėexcellent collaborative culture‚Äô and ‚Äėvast breadth of knowledge‚Äô. The practice group was further strengthened in 2019 by the addition of Title 1 ERISA expert Kevin Walsh. Also recommended are¬†Stephen Saxon¬†and executive compensation practice leader Jeffrey Kroh, who were noted for their ‚Äėexperience, creativity and responsiveness‚Äô. Other key contacts include fiduciary responsibility practice co-head Jennifer Eller, health and welfare practice co-head Jon Breyfogle¬†and managing partner Michael Prame.

Jones Day¬†provides ‚Äėcreative and practical advice‚Äô across the spectrum of benefits and executive compensation matters arising from M&A transactions. In particular, clients rated Cleveland-based Tricia Eschbach-Hall¬†and associate Sarah Suma¬†as ‚Äėwonderful assets to the team, who are able to stretch far beyond their comfort zone‚Äô. Standout transactions saw Eschbach-Hall advising Marathon Petroleum on its $23.3bn acquisition of Andeavor, and practice co-head Daniel Hagen¬†in New York advising Patr√≥n Spirits International on its $3.4bn sale to Bacardi. Other notable clients include General Motors, Reynolds American and Procter & Gamble. Evan Miller¬†co-heads the practice from Washington DC.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s compensation, benefits and ERISA practice is headed by Paul Borden, who advises on a wide range of matters relating to employee benefits, fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues arising from M&A transactions. Domnick Bozzetti sits in New York and is a key name for equity and non-equity executive compensation arrangements in the context of mergers and IPOs. Also recommended are of counsel Linda Barrett in Palo Alto, and of counsels Ali Nardali and Amanda Hines Gold. Ann Becchina and Ron Aizen joined the practice from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and Yana Johnson left the firm for Jackson Lewis P.C.. Named lawyers are based in San Francisco unless otherwise stated.

The team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP acts for an impressive corporate client base, which includes Oracle, Visa, Barclays and Levi Strauss. Recently highlights include advising Github on its $7.5bn sale to Microsoft, acting for Humble Bundle in its sale to IGN, and advising Vettery on its sale to Adecco. San Francisco-based Juliano Banuelos heads the team team and assists Cisco Systems with up to ten acquisitions per year, an example of which is the recent $1.9bn acquisition of Broadsoft. New York-based Laura Becking is advising Nvidia on the winding down of its Icera modem operations subsidiary, and Silicon Valley-based Nancy Chen and Santa Monica-based Michael Yang advising clients such as Pinterest and PagerDuty on their respective IPOs. Other names to note include Jason Flaherty, senior associate Justin Ho and managing associate Keith Tidwell. Jonathan Ocker left the firm for Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP saw a number of additions to the team in 2018 including Jonathan Ocker from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and counsel Jeremy Erickson, who had previously been an in-house attorney at Apple. In a standout matter, New York-based Peter Hunt advised Headwaters Inc on the 280G consequences of its $2.6bn merger into Boral. Hunt also assisted Holtec International with the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of its acquisition of the Oyseter Creek nuclear facility from Exelon Generation Company. AT&T, BNP Paribas, Hewlett Packard and Chevron are also among the team's clients. Other names to note include Christine Richardson and Cindy Schlaefer, the latter of whom became practice head following Susan Serota’s retirement in 2018. Named attorneys are based in San Francisco unless stated otherwise.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s offering now comprises nine partners nationwide with the promotion of newly made partner Danna Kivell in the New York office. Practice co-head Renata Ferrari leads on executive compensation matters including deferred compensation, severance plans and other mandates arising from M&A transactions. Recent transactional highlights included advising on private equity firm Golden Gate Capital’s acquisition of early-education academy The Learning Experience. Other clients for the office include Dunkin’ Brands Group, Waters Corporation, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and LPL Holdings. Also recommended is co-head Loretta Richard, who has experience of employee benefits mandates, including ERISA and tax matters, acting for public and private companies, benefits committees, compensation committees and HR professionals. Highlights included advising McNally Capital and associated co-investors on the acquisition of Federal Data Systems, and acting for The Weather Group and associated equity holders in the $330m sale of a subsidiary to Entertainment Studios. Other key contacts include Jennifer Rikoski and William Jewett. Named partners are based in Boston unless otherwise stated.

Vinson & Elkins LLP's employee benefits and executive compensation group has ‚Äėthe right mix of substantive knowledge, pragmatism and people skills to successfully resolve even the thorniest of legal issues'. ‚ÄėExcellent counsellor‚Äô David D‚ÄôAlessandro¬†heads the team¬†and is advising RSP Permian on its $9.5bn all-stock sale to Concho Resources. In the energy sector, Houston‚Äôs Stephen Jacobson¬†handled the benefits arrangements of Talos Energy‚Äôs $2.5bn merger with Stone Energy Corporation. Other significant matters saw Houston‚Äôs Shane Tucker¬†handling Sailpoint Technologies Holdings‚Äô $240m IPO on the NYSE, and Brian Bloom¬†advising Altagas on its $6.4bn merger with WGL Holdings. Clients singled out¬†Katherine Mull¬†for her ‚Äėgreat experience and market knowledge‚Äô, and also rate associate Gina Hancock¬†as ‚Äėextremely hardworking, knowledgeable and responsive‚Äô. Other energy-sector clients include Noble Midstream Partners, Paragon Offshore and Quintana Energy Services. Named partners are based in Dallas unless otherwise stated.

White & Case LLP’s New York-based practice group is regularly involved in complex transactions with cross-border elements. Standout highlights included Henrik Patel advising Inspire Brands on its $2.3bn cash acquisition of drive-in fast food chain Sonic. Further, counsel Kenneth Barr and associate DeVoia Stewart assisted with LifePoint Health’s $5.6bn sale to RCCH HealthCare Partners, which involved section 280G and 409A compliance and retention issues. Also recommended is counsel Tal Marnin, who assisted with FCX Performance’s $768m sale to Applied Industrial Technologies. Also of note, Patel and associate Robin Heszkel were involved in SodaSteam International’s $3.2bn sale to PepsiCo.

The New York-based team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP works with the wider firm’s insurance, private equity and investment funds teams to provide comprehensive employee benefits and executive compensation advice on corporate transactions. Group head Michael Katz advised on a number of significant transactions including Brookfield Business Partners’ $4.6bn agreement to acquire 100% of Westinghouse Electric Company, and Jordan Messinger advised on Protective Life Corporation’s $1.2bn protective agreement to re-insure Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. Mark Holdsworth assisted TriTech Software Systems with its Bain Capital funded recapitalization exercise, while Peter Haller leads on ERISA Title 1 matters for asset managers, investment banks, private wealth advisers and investment funds. Additional clients include Citigroup, Genstar Capital, MetLife and HealthEquity. Geri Anne McEvoy was made partner in 2018.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s employee benefits team is headed by Gail Stewart, who recently advised Rockwater Energy Solutions on the treatment and conversion of employee equity awards in connection with its $1.7bn stock-for-stock merger with Select Energy Services. In addition, Rob Fowler handled the executive compensation aspects (including 280G and 409A compliance issues) of McDermott International’s $6bn cross-border merger with Chicago Bridge & Iron. Eric Winwood and associate Marian Fielding are key contacts in the Dallas office, where recent mandates included advising additives supplier SI Group on its acquisition by private investment firm SK Capital Partners. Further, Mark Bodron handled the equity and incentive awards, 401(k) and pension benefits, welfare benefits and retention issues in relation to Vectren Corporation’s $6bn merger with CenterPoint Energy. Names lawyer are based in Houston unless otherwise stated.

Jointly headed by Houston-based Bruce Jocz and Scott Sanders, the team at Bracewell LLP was recently involved in Great Plains Energy’s $15bn revised stock-for-stock merger with Westar Energy. In addition, Sanders advised Western Refining Logistics on the equity-based compensation aspects of its $1.8bn sale to Andeavor Logistics, and Jocz is acting for Hydro One in relation to its C$6.7bn all-cash acquisition of Avista. The firm is well known for advising clients in the energy and natural resources sector, which have included Apache Corporation, Calpine Corporation, Blue Ridge Mountain Resources and Kinder Morgan.

According to one client, the two-partner team at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP¬†stands out for its ‚Äėdeeply technical and policy-oriented knowledge of ERISA‚Äô. ‚ÄėExceptionally responsive‚Äô, the practice group includes Title 1 specialist James Frazier, who counts Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays and other major financial services institutions among his key clients. David Teigman¬†advises on the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters arising from M&A transactions for clients including Elliott Management, Sompo International and Marcato Capital Management. Named lawyers are based in New York.

The team at DLA Piper LLP (US) handles the full range of benefits, compensation and ERISA issues arising from IPOs, ESOPs and M&A transactions. Palo Alto-based Cisco Palao-Ricketts focuses on equity compensation matters, including golden parachute arrangements for household names in the technology and life sciences sector. In addition, Washington DC-based Rita Patel regularly provides ERISA Title 1 advice in relation to transactions for publicly listed companies and private equity funds, and Richard Ashley is the name to note in Chicago. Clients include Axogen, Marriott International, New York University and Verizon.

The employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is jointly led by Washington DC-based Michael Collins and Palo Alto-based Stephen Fackler. The team regularly advises on the benefits issues arising from M&A transactions, public and private financings, ERISA plan investments and Chapter 11 proceedings. Past work has seen the team acting as legal counsel to Evergreen Coast Capital in its $4.4bn joint agreement with Siris Capital Group to acquire Travelport Worldwide. Other clients have included Marriott, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Lone Star Investments.

The Boston-based team at Goodwin saw considerable expansion with the promotion of Sarah Bock and the arrival of Rachel Faye Smith from Murtha Cullina LLP. Headed by Scott Webster, the team's standout matters included advising on Amplify Snack’s $1.6bn share sale to Hershey’s, and assisting Varsity Brand with its $2.5bn sale to Bain Capital. In addition, Webster and Natascha George acted for Kensho Technologies in its $686m sale to S&P Global. James Mattus is also recommended. Other key clients include Dimension Therapeutics, Frazier Healthcare and Thompson Reuters.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s seven-partner practice regularly advises executive teams on their executive compensation, ESOP and employee benefits issues. Houston-based practice head Anthony Eppert advised Layne Christensen Company on its $536m sale to Granite Construction by way of a stock-for-stock transaction; associate Emily Cabrera was also involved in that transaction. Other names to note include Jay Ritter in Richmond and Scott Austin in Dallas.

Maureen Gorman in Palo Alto heads the employment and benefits practice at Mayer Brown, which acts for domestic and international clients across a broad range of industries. A significant matter saw Debra Hoffman assisting The Hartford Group with the integration of 1,800 employees to its benefits scheme following a $1.5 acquisition of an Aetna subsidiary; newly made partner Stephanie Vasconcellos was also involved in that matter. Ryan Liebl advised Envestnet on all benefits and executive compensation matters arising from its $200m acquisition of Folio Dynamix. The team's client base also includes Adapt Pharma, AT&T, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Sempra Energy. Aside from the practice head, in Palo Alto, all named attorneys are based in Chicago.

The employee benefits and executive compensation team at Paul Hastings LLP is headed by Los Angeles-based Stephen Harris, who recently advised Teleperformance on its $1bn acquisition of Intelenet; he also assisted the Dole Food Company with the CEO’s $2bn sale to Total Produce of a 45% stake in the company. Eric Keller leads on matters in the Washington DC office and was recently instructed by Konica Minolta to draft an equity-based compensation plan in connection with a recent acquisition. Dan Stellenberg is a key contact in the San Francisco office, with a recent highlight involving advice on the compensation and benefits-related aspects of private equity firm Francisco Partners’ $2.4bn purchase of Dell Software Group. Other notable clients in the technology sector include Samsung, Sony and Paysafe, while notable private equity clients include Platinum Equity, Marlin Equity and Ashmore Group. Mark Poerio departed the firm for Wagner Law Group.

Vedder Price’s Chicago-based team has been involved in several major transactions and has also seen some personnel additions in 2018. Thomas Desmond handled the employee benefit plan issues arising from Byline Bancorp’s $170m acquisition of First Evanston Bancorp; Daniel McKay, Jennifer Durham King and James Morrissey were also involved in the transaction. Further, Christopher Collins and associate Anna Zielinski assisted with MB Financial’s $4.3bn merger with Fifth Third Bancorp. The firm also has an active ESOP practice, where key contacts include Daniel Lange, who recently joined the team from Dentons. Kelly Starr is another contact in the Chicago office, and Scott Adamson is the name to note in the Los Angeles office. John Jacobson Jr. and Stewart Reifler retired in 2018.

Quana Jew¬†leads the Washington DC-based team at Arent Fox LLP, which has ‚Äėgreat technical knowledge‚Äô of drafting profit-sharing plans, deferred compensation arrangements, ESOPs and equity-oriented incentive features. Jew and William Charyk¬†are advising Monsanto on changes to its benefits plans following a $66bn merger with Bayer. The American Bankers Association, Choice Hotels International and Jimmy Choo are other key clients.

Columbus-based Georgeann Peters and Cleveland-based Raymond M. Malone are the key contacts in Baker & Hostetler LLP’s employee benefits practice group, which advises on acquisition and spin-off transactions in the healthcare, oil and gas, IT and manufacturing industries. The team often assists public companies with their executive compensation arrangements, and also advises multi-employer plan fiduciaries with ERISA and ACA compliance.

The Boston-based team at Choate, Hall & Stewart has expertise in drafting retention and severance agreements and executive compensation plans, and also advises on ERISA plan fiduciary matters. Arthur S. Meyers handled ESOP-specific matters relating to AVENIR Global’s acquisition of public relations firm Padilla Speer Beardsley. Wells Miller assisted Miba AG with drafting new employee benefits plans following its acquisition of Smiths Group subsidiary Industrial Bearings. Additional clients include Albany Industries, BV Investment Partners, Riverside Partners and Thompson Steel Company. Louis Marett heads the practice group.

Clifford Chance's New York-based team advises corporates and¬†high-profile C-suite individuals on the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation issues arising from transactions. Clients particularly praised ‚Äėthe walking encyclopedia of ERISA knowledge‚Äô,¬†Paul Koppel,¬†as ‚Äėone of the most well-rounded benefits lawyers in practice‚Äô. A standout matter for Koppel involved advising Credit Suisse on a $8.7bn portfolio of CLO issuances in the US and European markets. Practice head Howard Adler¬†is advising the National Titanium Dioxide Company on its $1.6bn subsidiary sale to Tronox. Clients also noted the team's expertise in Title 1 fiduciary issues.

The employee benefits and executive compensation team at Dentons has particular expertise in advising ERISA plan fiduciaries on their Title 1 investment obligations. Washington DC-based Michael Maryn is a key name for benefits specific issues concerning investment fund formation, and Katharina Babich in Kansas City has experience assisting acquirers and target companies in M&A transactions. Kansas City-based Martin Moderson heads the practice group.

Matthew Renaud heads the Chicago-based team at Jenner & Block LLP, which advises on public spin-off transactions and executive compensation compliance in the context of M&A, including issues such as 409a and 162(m) considerations. Highlights included Renaud advising General Dynamics on its $9.6bn acquisition of IT solutions company CSRA; Raymond Sinnappan and Sarah Haddy were also involved in that matter. Additionally, the team advised snack foods company Snyder’s-Lance on its $4.9bn acquisition by Campbell Soup. Tony Ling left the firm in February 2018.

New York-based Kenneth Raskin¬†heads the ‚Äėhighly responsive and capable‚Äô practice at King & Spalding LLP, which regularly advises on ERISA and fiduciary compliance matters arising from mergers, company restructurings and other significant transactions. Newly made partner Laura Westfall¬†assisted with the ERISA aspects of Carroll Organization‚Äôs $1bn portfolio acquisition from Lone Star Funds. Additionally, Raskin and Atlanta-based counsel Mark Kelly¬†handled the benefits-related issues arising from HD Supply‚Äôs ¬£380m acquisition of construction supplies company AH Harris. Also in Atlanta, ‚Äėexcellent adviser‚Äô Samuel Choy¬†is recommended for advising plan sponsors and fiduciary committees on plan investment and de-risking transactions for qualified retirement plans.

Headed by Jeff Walbridge in Newport Beach, the team at O'Melveny & Myers LLP recently advised long-standing client Microsemi on its $10.2bn acquisition by Microchip Technology Inc. Walbridge also acted for RSI Communities in its sale to publicly listed company William Lyon Homes.

Key contacts in Reed Smith LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team include Pittsburgh-based Allison Sizemore and counsel Jennifer Gardner, who recently joined from Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.. The team advises plan sponsors on the full range of benefits issues arising from M&A and other significant corporate transactions. Its diverse client list includes retirement and pension plan sponsors for state entities, portfolio management companies and private companies.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP revitalized its benefits practice in 2018, with the addition of practice co-heads Patrick Menasco in Washington DC, and Austin Lilling in New York, who joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP respectively. The team has been involved in a number of transactions in the banking and finance sector, including Meta Financial’s $316m acquisition of Crestmark Bancorp, and Associated Bank’s $482m acquisition of Bank Mutual. Lilling also handled the benefits and compensation related aspects of CBS Broadcasting’s sale of its Television City production studio asset to Hackman Capital Partners. Of counsel Bruce Gallant and associate Bibek Pandey are also recommended. Marissa Holob recently left to join Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.

The team at WilmerHale works closely with the firm’s transactional and tax lawyers to assist clients with the full range of employee benefits issues in the context of M&A. Key names in the Boston office are Kimberly Wethly and Amy Null, with Scott Kilgore in charge of operations in the Washington DC office. The team’s client roster includes Amundi Pioneer, Analog Devices, Shutterstock, Staples and PerkinElmer.

ERISA litigation

Index of tables

  1. ERISA litigation
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP‚Äôs ERISA litigation practice has ‚Äėa great track record of success‚Äô in stock-drop litigation, retiree medical class actions and suits challenging stable value fund investments. The team is jointly headed by¬†Brian Ortelere¬†and Jeremy Blumenfeld, who both sit in Philadelphia and are noted as ‚Äėcreative thinkers who have pioneered winning defense strategies over the years‚Äô. Standout highlights include acting for FMC Corporation and General Cable in a set of fiduciary breach claims, and successfully defending Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation against a putative class action claiming breaches of its collective bargaining agreement. Further, Ortelere and Chicago-based co-head Deborah Davidson¬†secured¬†a full dismissal for Washington University in St. Louis in a 403(b) plan excessive fee claim, and Chicago-based Christopher Boran¬†obtained a dismissal for the University of Pennsylvania in a similar class action. Additionally,¬†Melissa Hill¬†in New York secured a win for the New York City Department of Education in an ERISA withdrawal liability lawsuit involving over $100m in potential damages. Practice leader Grace E. Speights¬†sits in Washington DC.

The team at¬†Proskauer Rose LLP¬†is regularly involved in high-profile¬†ERISA litigation. One standout highlight saw¬†Russell Hirschhor¬†and¬†New Orleans-based practice co-head Howard Shapiro¬†representing Wells Fargo in a class action suit claiming a mishandling of its $35bn 401(k) plan‚Äôs target-date funds. Co-head Myron Rumeld¬†successfully defended Charles Schwab in a putative class action claiming damages caused by expensive and poorly performing retirement plan investments. Additionally, in a major withdrawal liability case, Rumeld and Ira Golub¬†are acting for private equity firm The Renco Group in relation to an $86m pension liabilities claim by the Steelworkers Pension Trust. Also recommended is newly made New Orleans-based partner Stacey Cerrone, who was involved in a number of ‚Äėchurch plan‚Äô litigation cases for clients including Presence Health, Wheaton Franciscan Services, Mercy Health and the Hospital Sisters Health System. Other key clients include Neuberger Berman Group, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Intel and Princeton University. Named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

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At Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Eugene Scalia and Christopher Chorba are currently representing the University of Southern California in a putative class action alleging ERISA fiduciary breaches in administering its retirement plan. Chorba is also representing Aenta in a number of class actions alleging ERISA violations arising from its efforts to recover over-payments to health care providers, while Richard Doren represented Cigna in a claim by its ERISA benefits plan members alleging fraudulent activity. The firm has handled withdrawal liability claims, ERISA preemption cases and DOL investigations for clients including Boeing, ABF Freight, Primerica and the Chambers of Commerce. Also of note, Jason Schwartz represented Ford in a number of suits challenging aspects of its lump-sum retirement benefit program. Named partners are based in Washington DC except for Chorba, who co-heads the class action practice from Los Angeles.

According to one client, the team at Goodwin is 'among the best in the business’. Headed by Boston-based James Fleckner ('the gold standard in the field'), the team is involved in a number of significant matters including defending American Century, FirstGroup America, General Electric, and various others, in numerous 401(k) breach claims. The team is also representing Newport Trust Company in stock-drop litigation with claims for over $800m in damages. Other key contacts include 'expert' partner Alison Douglass, Jack Cleary, and New York-based Gabrielle Gould and Sam Rubin.

Groom Law Group‚Äôs Washington DC-based ERISA litigation team is involved in class actions and other complex litigation involving plan sponsors, financial services firms, investment managers, actuaries and other service providers.¬†The ‚Äėutterly unflappable, confident and knowledgeable‚Äô Lars Golumbic¬†heads the practice group, which also includes¬†Michael Prame, who is rated for his ‚Äėsubstantial knowledge in the field and ability to understand the bigger picture‚Äô. Sarah Adams¬†and Mark Nielsen¬†are defending Financial Engines and a number of welfare plan trustees in breach of fiduciary duty class action suits, while a team including¬†Edward Meehan¬†and¬†associate Samuel Levin represented a multi-employer pension fund in a withdrawal liability arbitration valued in excess of $100m.¬†The team¬†is also noted for its ESOP litigation expertise.

Based in Washington DC, Miller & Chevalier Chartered regularly handles ERISA litigation for clients such as Arkansas Blue Cross, CareFirst and the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association. In a big-ticket ongoing matter, Anthony Shelly is representing an organization of retired Delta Airlines pilots in a suit against the PBGC claiming a breach of fiduciary duty in the administration of $550m of plan assets; Michael Khalil and Timothy O’Toole are also assisting with that claim. Also recommended is Tess Gee, who is representing a Fortune 500 company in a DOL investigation into its $2bn pension plan. Acting together, Shelly and Gee are representing the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in a unique case brought against the City of Seattle challenging the city’s obstruction of a federal law enabling large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP fields a five-partner team with expertise in the full range of ERISA litigation matters. Practice head Brian Boyle and Gregory Jacob represented Fidelity Management Trust Company in a class action suit regarding the management of a multibillion-dollar stable-value fund product, which involved excessive fee allegations. Los Angeles-based Catalina Vergara is acting for Chevron in an industry-leading case claiming 401(k) plan fiduciary breaches, and Shannon Barrett is acting for MIT in a putative class action claiming mismanagement of certain investment funds. Also recommended is Meaghan VerGow, who is representing Providence Health and Services in a class action brought against its 403(b) plan fiduciary sponsors. The team also has experience in acting for clients in audits and investigations forwarded by the DOL. American Airlines, Prudential Insurance Company, The Walt Disney Group and UnitedHealth Group are also among the team's clients. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York-based ERISA litigation practice is instructed by the firm's client base in high-stakes matters. The firm’s litigation team successfully represented Exxon Mobil and its savings plan trustees in a putative ERISA class action claiming a breach of fiduciary prudence. In addition, the team acted for Citigroup in a multibillion-dollar stock drop class action, which was recently dismissed. Other notable names on the client roster include AIG, the Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan Chase and Prudential Insurance. Lewis R. Clayton and Brad Karp are the key figures in the practice group.

The ERISA litigation team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP experienced considerable growth in 2018 with the addition of San Francisco’s Bradley Perkins, who was formerly a senior counsel at Pacific Maritime Association, and Houston’s Scott Nelson, who joined from Baker McKenzie LLP. In addition to acting on 401(k) fiduciary breach, prohibited transaction and executive top-hat plan cases, the team also works laterally with the firm’s employee benefits lawyers to deploy unique litigation-avoidance strategies. Chicago-based practice co-head Ian Morrison defended a publicly listed paper manufacturer against a claim for breach of collective bargaining agreements. Practice co-leader Amanda Sonneborn in noted for her experience of complex DOL audits, ERISA Section 510 employment discrimination and cash balance plan claims. Also recommended are San Francisco-based Ward Kallstrom and Chicago-based Mark Casciari. University of Chicago, Burroughs and Kaiser Permanente are also among the team's clients.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Washington DC-based team has handles significant 401(k) excessive fee, fiduciary breach and stock drop litigation cases, as well as DOL investigations for clients such as BP, American Express, Bear Stearns and Honda. Ongoing big-ticket cases include defending Express Scripts against a class action alleging breaches of contract, prohibited transaction rules, RICO laws and ACA compliance; Paul Ondrasik, Eric Serron and Gwendolyn Renigar are involved in that matter. Sara Pikofsky, who recently joined from Jones Day, is part of the team representing the National Indemnity Company in a stock-drop litigation class action. Additionally, Pikofsky is defending Macy’s against ERISA fiduciary breach claims forwarded by the Secretary of Labor. The team also represented Republic Services in a class action arising from alleged losses in its ESOP arrangement.

As lead counsel for UnitedHealth Group, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP defended its ERISA-governed health plan providers against a putative class action forwarded by physical therapy provider Spinedex; practice co-head Nicholas Pappas led on the case, which claimed a denial of benefits to plan beneficiaries. The New York-based team, which includes practice co-heads Jeffrey Klein and Paul Wessel, have experience in a wide range ERISA litigation including withdrawal liability, fiduciary duty, disclosure obligations and plan termination. Working alongside the firm’s broader commercial and tax litigation team, the practice also has significant experience defending cases arising from Chapter 11 proceedings, securities law and RICO laws.

Baker McKenzie LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô ERISA litigation team is jointly headed by San Francisco-based James Baker¬†and Chicago-based Lisa Brogan. Baker successfully defended Dover Corporation in a deferred compensation dispute, and also acted for HPE in a putative class action concerning a severance plan payout for 30,000 former employees. Other disputes involved prohibited transaction claims, including excessive fee and revenue sharing allegations. William Dugan¬†and Douglas Darch¬†are other notable names in Chicago, and¬†Meredith Kaufman¬†is a key contact in New York.

Greenberg Traurig LLP has recently been involved in a number of ESOP cases, including a pending class action launched against Brijon Management & Employee Leasing Services, and Brown v Wilmington Trust; Atlanta-based practice co-head Todd Wozniak won a successful ruling for Wilmington Trust against fiduciary breach and other ERISA violation claims. Jonathan Sulds in New York represented the retirement savings committee for a major energy company in an ERISA stock drop case, and James Nelson regularly represents single- and multi-employer ERISA plan fiduciaries in disputes. Also recommended is Robert Bernstein, who is representing IRA administrator Provident in a nationwide class action claiming monetary losses following a set of bankruptcies of companies that Provident had invested in.

Jenner & Block LLP's ERISA litigation practice has expertise in a range of disputes involving matters such as union multi-employer benefit plans, bankruptcy proceedings and anti-cutback rules. Amanda Amert and Craig Martin represented Northwestern University in a class action suit challenging administrative and investment management fees of its 403(b) retirement plan. Further, a team including Christopher Rillo is representing clients including CenturyLink Investment Management, Morningstar and Associated Industries Management Services in fiduciary breach lawsuits. Martin (who became chair of the firm in January 2019) and Amert are based in Chicago, and Rillo is based in Los Angeles.

The ERISA litigation team at Jones Day is particularly well known for its expertise in withdrawal liability, benefits issues in bankruptcy, and pension de-risking cases. Dallas-based Stanley Weiner and Chicago-based Michael Rossman secured a win for GE in a nationwide putative class action challenging changes to its post-retirement medical benefits. Evan Miller in Washington DC is acting for Well Fargo in an class action alleging that the company should be properly considered as a fiduciary under ERISA and therefore neglected its duties while acting as a master mortgage servicer. Representative clients for Washington DC-based Miguel Eaton include the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Alpha Natural Resources and Harsco. Sarah Pikofsky recently left the firm for Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Mayer Brown’s five-partner ERISA litigation team is instructed by plan sponsors, trustees and fiduciaries in matters ranging from individual benefit disputes to complex class actions. Of particular note is the team’s extensive involvement in seven highly publicized university 403(b) plan ERISA fiduciary breach claims, where it acts for clients such as Columbia University, Cornell University, George Washington University and Georgetown University. The team is jointly headed by Brian Netter and Nancy Ross, the latter of whom is defending the trustees of the National Production Workers Union in a dispute concerning the transfer of assets from a 401(k) to a defined contribution plan. In the health care space, Los Angeles-based Elizabeth Mann is defending American Specialty Health against a nationwide ERISA class action forwarded by over one million plan members. Other significant clients for the practice group include AT&T, AIG, Whirlpool Corporation, Northrop Grunman Corporation and Yale University. Richard Nowak was recently made partner and Laura Hammargren is also recommended. Lawyers are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has significant expertise in stock-drop litigation cases. In an ongoing highlight, team leader Christian Nemeth and Eliot Burriss are defending Thalhimer’s ESOP trustee Lance Studdard against a stock-drop action seeking over $100m in damages. Nemeth, Burriss and Dallas-based Erin Turley are also defending the American Society of Appraisers in a $30m ESOP case in which the practice was hired to file an Amicus brief before the 4th circuit. Counsel Wilber Boies secured a dismissal of $200m of fiduciary breach claims against Chrysler’s top-hat plan filed by former company executives during the company’s restructuring exercise. Additional clients include Cigna, Aetna and Trinity Industries. The team was further strengthened in 2018 by the arrivals of Theodore Becker and Richard Pearl from Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Associate Elizabeth Rowe also comes recommended. Named attorneys are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

The team at Arent Fox LLP often handles ERISA fiduciary breach cases, acting as fiduciary panel counsel for AIG, and also acts for numerous healthcare providers in managed care litigation matters. Practice leader Caroline English and associate Alison Anderson are representing Monsanto in a number of ongoing ERISA benefits litigation cases, and are also representing the Suffolk School Employees Health Plan and its trustees (a multi-employer plan covering school district employees) in a withdrawal liability litigation forwarded by the Sayville School District. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Key names for Dentons’s ERISA litigation team include practice head Brian Cousin and Richard Scharlat, both based in New York; the duo is defending non-profit organization Chimes District of Colombia in an action brought by the DOL alleging excessive fees for services and failure to prudentially monitor the management of plan assets. Richard Fenton in Chicago acts as lead counsel to a property and casualty insurance company in a breach of fiduciary class action arising out of the client’s termination of a retiree life insurance plan. The team has also been involved in COBRA violation cases, multi-employer withdrawal liability issues and securities law violations.

King & Spalding LLP¬†has experience in a wide range of disputes, including stock-drop litigation, where the team has acted for clients such as Coca-Cola. Recent highlights included Atlanta-based David Tetrick¬†defending The Home Depot against a $140m claim of defined benefit fiduciary breaches. Washington DC-based Bobby Burchfield¬†combines ‚Äėa nuanced understanding of ERISA issues with the ability to clearly argue the case‚Äô; Burchfield saw recent success in a long-running dispute brought against CNH Industrial concerning its collectively bargained health benefits plans. Other key clients include Lone Star Funds, Peabody Energy Corporation, SunTrust Banks and Aramco Services Company.


Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Highly respected by peers and clients, Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP is entirely dedicated to corporate immigration matters, dealing with every aspect of immigration, including pioneering innovative technological solutions within the field. In February 2018, the firm launched a mobile, cloud-based immigration application and, in June 2018, formally established an alliance with Deloitte UK for the provision of global immigration services for multinational companies. Jeremy Fudge, managing partner in Dallas office, is focused on the delivery of worldwide immigration services to his clients. Kortney Gibson is also in Dallas, where she, in addition to managing the US program for one of the biggest technology company, assists clients in obtaining visas in the extra 0-1 extraordinary ability and H-1B specialty occupation visa categories. San Francisco-based founding partner David Berry is helping human resources and global mobility professionals to augment their worldwide immigration programs. Vernadette Antonio, who is also in San Francisco, overseas the firm’s global immigration practice. From Houston and Austin, Roberto Caballero advises clients in the energy, engineering and technology sectors with non-immigrant visas, naturalization and consular processing.  Washington DC-based managing partner Lynden Melmed is the expert when it comes to compliance issues and government investigations. Liane Cooney leads the McLean, Virginia office and focuses on clients in the software and technology industries. The firm continues to grow and now has a total of nice offices throughout the US. The newest is New York, which opened with the acquisition of 60-lawyer team from Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.; under the leadership of Robert Groban, the new team adds significant on-the-ground capabilities in the Northeast and New York metropolitan area. Ruth Clark and Stephanie Wolf were made partners in January 2018. Senior associate Tiffany Martinez from the San Francisco office is also recommended.

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Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy is held in high regard in the business immigration space. The firm has a global practice, with 40 offices in 20 different countries, including 16 in the US. Lawyers in the US offices exclusively handle immigration law matters, covering the entire spectrum of visa categories, compliance issues and advice on immigration strategies. Name partner Austin Fragomen, who is based in New York, has an excellent reputation. Atlanta-based Daryl Buffenstein is noted for his track record in writing key business provisions in immigration legislation. Managing partner for the Northern California practice Cynthia Lange leads the firm’s hi-tech practice in Silicon Valley and regularly works with companies to set up and manage worldwide immigration compliance programs. Washington DC-based Bo Cooper, who is in charge of the firm’s strategies and compliance group, is also a key name.

The ‚Äėresponsive‚Äô and ‚Äėcreative‚Äô team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP¬†has an excellent reputation in the business immigration space. The group is dedicated to devising corporate immigration policies and programs. In a representative example, Angelo Paparelli¬†and Washington DC-based Leon Rodriguez¬†led a five-part webinar series and a compliance-focused client event to brief clients on best practices in relation to pre-, post- and re-hire issues, termination and M&A situations as well as I-9 forms and E-Verify matters. Los Angeles-based Paparelli also represents developers and fundraisers relating to EB-5 immigrant investor programs, and defends employers in worksite enforcements and government audits. In light of the Trump administration‚Äôs continued clampdown on immigration, Rodridguez advised the Montgomery County Government on sanctuary cities, the travel ban, temporary protected status and funding for deportation defense. The team is also well versed in handling the immigration aspects of substantial M&A transactions. Boston-based Russell Swapp¬†and Atlanta-based James King, who is noted for his clever use of technology to help clients in an efficient and time-saving manner, jointly lead the practice. Also based in Atlanta, Gabriel Mozes¬†focuses on temporary non-immigrant and permanent visa solutions, including family-based immigrant visa green card applications and citizenship matters. Atlanta-based senior counsel Sharon Cook Poorak¬†is handling the immigration portfolio of more than 5,000 foreign nationals for a global consulting services provider. Senior counsel Dawn Lurie¬†in Washington DC and Dyann DelVecchio Hilbern¬†in Boston are also names to note.

Akerman LLP’s immigration team represents a wide variety of clients from the manufacturing, telecoms and energy industries with their immigration needs, but particularly those within the hospitality and restaurant sectors. Matters that the group handles include PERM planning, compliance work (including Form I-9 and E-Verify issues), naturalization issues, EB-5 investor project and family-sponsored permanent residence applications. Thomas Raleigh assists Somfy Systems with permanent residency applications of key sales and executive personnel. The client roster includes Pelliconi Florida, Qvantel USA, GoITV and ESA Renewables. Maria Casablanca, who is very adept in handling EB-matters, chairs the practice.

Duane Morris LLP advises on a wide range of immigration services, including green card and naturalization applications and family-based visas, but it also assists with contentious matters. It acts for a diverse clientele ranging from multinational and publicly traded companies and medium-sized privately held businesses to start-ups, universities, nonprofit entities and individuals. In Washington DC, practice head Denyse Sabagh's workload included conducting immigration due diligence for a buyer in the acquisition of 11 Montessori Schools. San Francisco-based Lisa Spiegel acted for The Siegfried Group in preparing its employees for border and embassy appointments. In another representative example, Spiegel assisted an individual and her husband to fend off deportation proceedings against the husband, retain his LPR status and obtain a full ten-year green card for him. Michael Hoops joined the New York office in 2017 as senior associate. Pierre Bonnefil is a new partner who arrived recently from Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., and Angela Moore joined the San Francisco office at the beginning of May 2018 as special counsel.

Operating from three offices in Houston, Austin and Rio Grande Valley, Texas-based immigration boutique Foster LLP deals with the full range of immigration matters, but has a particularly strong track record in handling EB-5 visa matters for foreign investors. Most of the team is based in Houston, including founder and chairman Charles Foster, whose clients include Houston Ballet and Houston Symphony. Also based in Houston, Helene Dang acted for a large international IT company, advising on the immigration consequences in a merger and acquisition, particularly when situations arose that required a visa, dealing with questions as to how such visas could be transferred. Avalyn Langemeier’s work includes, among other things, Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues. Other matters relate to visa petitions for individuals in the O-1 and L-1 categories. Judy Lee, who specializes in employment-based immigration, John Meyer and Robert Loughran, based in Austin, who handles global immigration issues are key team members as well.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s business immigration group handles the full range of immigration matters, focusing on assisting multinational and domestic corporations with strategic immigration planning for the US in the inbound and outbound transfer of employees. The team is particularly noted for its EB-5 investor practice, for instance the firm co-founded the EB-5 Immigration Coalition with Pathways EB-5, The National Association of Homebuilders and The Real Estate Round Table with the aim to promote the extension and improvement of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Other areas of expertise include handling compliance work, especially Form I-9 and E-Verify matters as well as the provision of immigration due diligence in mergers and acquisitions. Laura Reiff, who splits her time between Washington and DC and Northern Virginia, and Atlanta-based Ian Macdonald co-chair the practice. Northern Virginia-based duo Martha Schoonover and Pamela Mak, and Kate Kalmykov, who is working in both the New Jersey and New York offices, are also key members. Courtney Noce was promoted to partner in Atlanta office in March 2018.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP‚Äôs team, which ‚Äėalways responds in a timely fashion and delivers‚Äô, provides business immigration advice across a number of areas for multinational companies, advertising agencies, hedge funds, sports leagues and teams, financial organizations but also individuals of extraordinary ability as well as high-net-worth foreign national investors. Co-chair Mark Koestler¬†advises prominent Broadway theatrical production companies on all immigration matters, including visa work for actors, directors and designers. Koestler also handles immigration work for more than one-third of the 50 largest advertising agencies in the US, particularly petitioning the USCIS for the most senior executives and permanent residence applications in the extraordinary ability visa category. Other co-chair Matthew Dunn¬†advises on the immigration aspects of mergers and acquisitions. The team moreover has notable expertise in representing major companies in the financial, technology and hospitality sectors regarding worksite investigations conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Counsel Theodore Ruthizer¬†is the other key team member.

Based in Washington DC, Mayer Brown’s immigration practice manages visa and work permit applications, but also deals with risk management and compliance issues. The team is also adept at handling M&A due diligence for visa-holding clients such as Mead Johnson. American Express is also a key client for whom the group handles various immigration matters. Practice head Elizabeth Stern, together with Grace Shie, handles CoStar’s global mobility portfolio, which includes management of all employee visa needs from non-immigrant to permanent residency. Litigation work also features in the firm’s workload; in a specific example, the team is involved as lead counsel in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS seeking to invalidate a policy regarding unlawful presence that potentially imposes re-entry bans on tens of thousands of students each year. Paul Virtue, counsel Lisa Pino and associate Timothy D’Arduini are the other key team members. Yoshihide Ito joined the group in March 2018, which also coincided with the firm opening an office in Tokyo. Yoshihide, who was previously with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, assists foreign corporations doing business in the US and Japan on, among other things, matters involving immigration. Maria Ferre is another addition, who joined the San Francisco office as counsel from top-tier firm Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP in July 2018.

Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has experience in advising on immigration policy changes as well as several visa categories, most notably EB-5 and H-1B petitions. The clientele consists of multinational companies, start-ups, private equity firms and individuals. Founding Chair Susan Cohen was active in the M&A space, acting for anchor client Thomson Reuters in the sale of its Financial & Risk Unit to private equity firm Blackrock, advising on the immigration aspects. Cohen also does contentious immigration work. She represented London Economics International in a lawsuit against USCIS relating an incorrect visa denial, which settled in favor of the client. Cohen also helps a number of individuals in obtaining US citizenship. Immigration chair Kevin McNamara is noted for handling employment-related immigration matters and his clients range from professional athletes, sports teams and financial services firms to major corporations. Special counsel Angel Feng is recommended.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is a full-service firm dealing with the full spectrum of issues surrounding global mobility. The global immigration practice is embedded in the firm’s global labor and employment department.  As a result, it can draw on the expertise of the firm’s wider network when there is a need to advise on immigration-related matters such as non-US visas and work permits, foreign employment law and taxation. Washington DC-based Eleanor Pelta and San Francisco-based James Vázquez-Azpiri jointly chair the practice. In a recent work highlight, Vázquez-Azpiri and his team helped new client Proofpoint to develop a new immigration policy, and provided training on how to deal with USCIS site visits and other governmental investigations. Other clients include Cameron Mackintosh, Extreme Networks, Fujitsu America and Hitachi America. Nicholas Hobson was made partner and Christina Gonzaga cf counsel in May 2018. The team was further strengthened by the arrival of Shannon Donnelly to the DC office, and of counsel Laura Garvin to the firm’s Miami office, as well as a team of associates. They all joined from Baker McKenzie LLP. Donnelly has particular expertise in cross-border movement of key executives, managers and workers with specialized knowledge, particularly on behalf of employers in the US and Canada.

Proskauer Rose LLP is very active in obtaining non-immigrant and immigrant visas for executives, managers and individuals with specialized knowledge, but the team is equally adept at handling the immigration aspects in corporate transactions. Other work relates to advice on immigration policies, unlawful immigration practices and internal audits. Recognized immigration law expert David Grunblatt, who is very knowledgeable on the I-9 program and matters surrounding mandatory compliance and record keeping, leads the practice alongside special counsel Valarie McPherson in Newark. McPherson has a diverse practice including guiding clients through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa process. Financial institutions, large corporations, not-for-profit organizations, churches and universities are among the firm's clients.

Located in New York and led by Colleen Caden, the ‚Äėvery responsive‚Äô and ‚Äėefficiently operating‚Äô Pryor Cashman LLP's immigration team handles immigration matters for medium to large indigenous and multinational companies as well as individuals such as artists and entertainers. Clients come from a variety of sectors, including aviation, education, financial services, fashion, technology, pharmaceuticals and entertainment. The team has particular expertise in sports immigration law, where it advises leagues, teams and individual athletes. ‚ÄėCompassionate‚Äô and ‚Äėincredible‚Äô Avram Morell, who is ‚Äėan out-of-the-box thinker‚Äô, is recommended. Maria Gandarez,¬†who joined from Ogletree Deakins¬†in March 2018, helped the partner of a high-level executive from Ingredion, who was being transferred to the US from Germany, obtain an annotated B-2 visa, which she was initially refused due to an error made by the interviewing embassy officer. Additionally, Gandarez does a lot of compliance work, such as I-9 audits. Associate Dina Weinstein¬†is recommended. Alice Stock took a position at the National Labor Relations Board in June 2018.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s global immigration practice is led by Betsy Morgan in Chicago. The firm takes a holistic approach to immigration by working hand-in-hand with the tax, corporate, employment and data privacy attorneys of the firm. The focus is on multinational clients such as T. Rowe Price and the Mozilla Corporation. The work focuses on inbound US immigration as well as global immigration management, and is often carried out in tandem with offices located in other countries. As a representative example, Morgan and her international team advised AGCO on US and global immigration and related issues, including the development of a repayment agreement for permanent residence sponsorship to ensure compliance with employment and immigration law. Also based in Chicago, Ginger Partee is adept at handling the immigration-related aspects of M&A, I-9 audits and government investigations related to compliance with immigration laws. Melissa Allchin was made partner in January 2019. The Chicago office has also been bolstered by the arrival of several associates: John Foerster joined in summer 2018, as did Noha El Maraghi. Amalia Rioja is a new senior associate who joined in late summer of 2018, and primarily handles litigation mandates. Further, associate Sandhya Sharma joined the team from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy and associate Alessandra Faso joined from a position at the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Shannon Donnelly and Laura Garvin left for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in January 2019.

Due to its ability to draw on attorneys in the tax, labor and employment, corporate, finance departments, the ‚Äėresponsive‚Äô, ‚Äėvery knowledgeable‚Äô ‚Äėefficient and well-managed team‚Äô at Cozen O'Connor¬†provides comprehensive immigration advice to domestic and international companies as well as individuals on short and long-term visa solutions. Housed in Miami and Philadelphia, with the Miami office focusing on clients in the hospitality, banking, construction and real estate, the team has seen an uptick in I-9 audit work; in one example, practice head Scott Bettridge¬†conducted internal I-9 audits for Banco Itau International, including periodic updates to guarantee accuracy of all I-9 forms. Frances Rayer¬†‚Äėis an absolute pleasure to work with‚Äô. Other work included obtaining O-1 extraordinary ability visa for individuals, employment visas in categories such as TN, H-1B, L-1, and foreign investor visas in the E-2 and EB-5 classes. In August 2018, of counsel¬†Randall Sidlosca¬†moved to¬†Spiritus Law, and¬†Marcela Stras¬†joined Caplan & Earnest. Velika Nespor¬†is a new associate in the Philadelphia office, having started in January 2019.

Fisher & Phillips assists clients with the full spectrum of immigration matters, from employment authorizations for foreign employees, visa petitions for green card and PERM applications, to advice on compliance, such as Form I-9 issues, government audits and the development of immigration strategies and policies. Headquartered in Atlanta, the firm has 34 domestic offices. Co-chair Shanon Stevenson, based in Atlanta, concentrates on immigration matters in the information technology sector. Seattle-based Davis Bae is the other co-chair. Bae’s clients come from the software, construction, manufacturing, utilities, fine arts, sports, international trade and engineering field. Atlanta-based Jessica Cook is experienced in handling H-2B, EB-1 and O-1 visa type applications, and acts for clients in higher education, healthcare, hospitality and manufacturing. Other key team members include Denver-based Angelica Ochoa ans Jocelyn Campanaro and Memphis-based David Jones.

Ford & Harrison LLP focuses on all aspects of business immigration, from start-up immigration advice for new companies, to citizenship and naturalization processes, to compliance training, as well as handling administrative appeals and litigation. Geetha Adinata, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Atlanta, leads the practice. Adinata has expertise advising on all types of non-immigrant and permanent visa options, including I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues, and further on the immigration-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions. In a representative example, Adinata advised hospitals across the country with respect to J-1 and H-1B visa programs to recruit and retain foreign physicians committed to serve in medically underserved communities. Minneapolis-based Charles Roach is also a key name.

Washington DC-based immigration specialist Grossman Young & Hammond, as it is now known, after its merger with Grossman Law in November 2018 (previously Hammond Young), provides advice to companies of all sizes, research institutions, individuals and nonprofit organizations on the full range of immigration matters, including visas and green cards, PERM labor certification, and I-9 and E-Verify compliance. Becki Young and immigration litigator Sandra Grossman jointly head the practice. Denise Hammond is senior counsel. Young has a particular focus on advising clients in the hospitality sector, where she has represented more than 100 prominent US hotels and restaurants, such as the Dinex Group and Punjab Grill. In one representative matter, Young successfully assisted Michael Engelmann to obtain a O-1 extraordinary ability visa based on his preeminence in the wine industry. In another example from the entertainment business, Young helped Argentinian DJ Nicholas Borromeo to obtain an O-1 visa for extraordinary ability. Young and Grossman also assist El Salvadorian immigrants in the DC area who had their temporary protected status revoked in December 2017, developing strategies that enable them to stay in the country. Grossman is also involved in advising foreign government officials who want to come to the US but who have been convicted of a crime.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has a wide client base that includes governments, sports organizations, major corporations and universities. The firm also has specific expertise in export control issues for a large number of clients such as IBM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pfizer. Aleksander Dukic jointly heads the practice with Beth Peters. In one work highlight, Dukic is assisting Venture Global LNG with immigration and tax-related matters for potential employee assignments in Singapore, China and Hong Kong, as well as advising on US visa options and obtaining non-immigrant visa petition approvals regarding its US operations.

‚ÄėWholly reliable‚Äô and ‚Äėtrustworthy‚Äô, New York-based immigration boutique Laura Devine Attorneys LLC¬†is the US associate office of stellar UK immigration boutique Laura Devine Solicitors. The group is known for handling inbound and outbound immigration matters between the US and the UK. The ‚Äėexcellent, ‚Äėcommitted‚Äô and ‚Äėdedicated‚Äô team, which is noted for ‚Äėgoing over and beyond to achieve success for their clients‚Äô advises businesses, families and high-net-worth individuals across a wide range of industries, such as finance, fashion, technology, food, government, legal as well as arts and entertainment. Anastasia Tonello, who is the incumbent President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, leads the practice. Jennifer Stevens¬†is the other key name.

Taking a partner-led approach to business immigration, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s immigration group, led by New-York based Joan-Elisse Carpentier, is recognized for advising clients on all prevailing visa categories, including citizenship matters, Form I-9 compliance programs and immigration due diligence aspects of mergers and acquisitions. The team also assists companies develop appropriate corporate policies for dealing with immigration issues. Carpentier regularly represents clients from the arts and entertainment industries, including actors, writers, singers, dancers, composers and filmmakers. Her recent workload includes advising a French company operating in Dubai and the Middle East to obtain E-2 investor visas for the president of the US division and the director of marketing.

Working alongside corporate immigration consultancy Emigra in a joint venture to advise on global immigration strategy, case management and visa preparation, Ogletree Deakins represents indigenous and multinational companies in the immigration space. The team assists employers in obtaining non-immigrant business visas and permanent residence for foreign national employees. It also advises clients on the immigration consequences of mergers and acquisitions. Andrew Merrils heads up the firm’s immigration group in Raleigh. In Denver, Christopher Thomas, supported Arcadis US with a range of immigration, compliance and global mobility matters; among other things, Thomas filed new H-1B cap cases for the client, the majority of which have been accepted and approved, and completed the permanent residence process for two foreign nationals. Other key team members include Greenville-based Rebecca Sigmund and Denver-based John Combs.

Baker & Hostetler LLP’s areas of expertise include audit compliance, and temporary and permanent visa petitions for clients in the sports, entertainment and professional services industry. In addition to helping a number of individuals obtain O-1 extraordinary ability visas, Columbus-based practice head Matthew Hoyt secured P-1 professional athlete visas for an entire eSports team. Atlanta-based James Levine is also active advising clients in sports-related immigration matters; he assisted an international motorcycle manufacturer in obtaining a P-1 visa for an international motorcycle racer and, in another work highlight, helped to obtain a visa for the general manager of Major League Baseball. Levine also acts for very wealthy Canadian investors active in the real estate sector. In the entertainment side, Hoyt secured an extraordinary ability green card classification for a young Canadian actress and an extraordinary ability visa for a social media influencer.

San Antonio-based managing partner Victoria Garcia¬†leads Bracewell LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėeffective‚Äô and ‚Äėvery knowledgeable‚Äô immigration group, which is active for clients operating in the energy, technology and healthcare sectors. Garcia, who ‚Äėis definitely the subject matter expert on immigration issues‚Äô and is known for her ‚Äėgood bedside manner‚Äô, attracts praise for her ‚Äėterrific knowledge of DHS regulations‚Äô. She delivers ongoing immigration advice on a variety of immigration matters to Valero Energy, Sirius Computer Solutions, CPS, Key Energy Services and ArjoHuntleigh, including non-immigrant visas, preparing applications for employment and family-based permanent resident and citizenship, compliance with I-9 and H-1B processes and E-Verify issues. In another matter for High Sierra Pools, in addition to preparing various applications, Houston-based senior counsel Nelli Nikova¬†represented the client in objecting to an opinion letter by the Department of State that put pool management companies in the same category as staffing agencies, which negatively impacted the client‚Äôs ability to place summer workers through its J visa program.

Dentons’ global mobility practice provides strategic advice to employers, entrepreneurs and investors with all types of business visas. Matthew Schulz leads the Silicon Valley-based team, which serves clients in the technology, telecoms, life sciences, construction, financial services and entertainment industries, with help and support from the employment, employee benefits, corporate and tax departments when necessary. Schulz helped Saudi Arabian social networking app developer Sibly to develop and implement a US visa strategy when it decided to relocate to San Francisco. In another matter, Schulz provides ongoing support for Symphony Communications in relation to its visa procurement, obtaining visas for high-level employees. New clients include, DJI, Beijing Rui Xin Tong and VF Outdoor.

Providing ‚Äėa one-stop shop of incredibly knowledgeable attorneys‚Äô, the ‚Äėknowledgeable and experienced‚Äô team at Dykema Gossett PLLC¬†has permanent and temporary visa work at its core, but also handles asylum, labor certification and naturalization applications. On the contentious front, the firm deals with worksite investigations, removals and database errors. Michigan-based James Aldrich¬†is the practice head, and is adept at representing clients before the US immigration service, the Department of Labor and other governmental agencies.

‚ÄėService is exceptional‚Äô at ‚Äėcompletely reliable and straightforward'¬†boutique firm Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, which covers the full range of immigration law, from obtaining temporary work visas, permanent residence and citizenship to high-level executive transfers under L blanket programs and O-1 extraordinary ability visas. In addition, the team deals with I-9 compliance issues and deals with the immigration aspects of mergers and acquisitions.¬†Ian Band¬†leads the practice and ‚Äėattentive‚Äô Adam Rosser¬†is known for turning around work very fast. In one work highlight, the team had to obtain visas for chefs on very short notice for a production company regarding a cooking show available on a well-known streaming service in order to avoid having the company lose time and money.¬†Natalie Tynan¬†joined in January 2019 as senior attorney after being with the Department of Homeland Security for more than nine years.

With nine offices around the country, Jackson Lewis P.C. is well equipped to handle the full spectrum of immigration work. Washington DC-based Michael Neifach and Omaha-based Amy Peck jointly lead the practice. Peck is adept at defending employers against government audits and discrimination claims. Located in Seattle, KoKo Huang, in addition to providing general advice to new client Funko on authorization sponsorship and compliance with immigration rules, successfully filed an H-1B petition for a development operations engineer employed by Funko. Huang also assists clients with obtaining visas under numerous categories, including O-1 extraordinary ability, L-1, H-1B, E-2 and B-2. Maggie Murphy, who is in Austin, and Marko Maglich, who is in New York are also key names.

Full-service firm Polsinelli PC does a variety of immigration work, including strategic immigration planning, securing work visas and permanent status for key employees, as well as dealing with compliance issues. The team was active for healthcare and financial service institutions, technology companies and universities. Jeffrey Bell chairs the immigration practice and handles Optiv’s outside immigration work for their foreign national employees, including security analysts, software engineers and other IT professional employees. The team can also draw on the firm’s other departments when necessary. Sarah Hawk and Raazia Hall joined in January and June 2018, respectively. Hawk joined from Ogletree Deakins, while Hall arrived from Jackson Lewis P.C.. The team was further bolstered by the arrivals of senior associate Terra Martin and associate Katherine Smith in June 2018.

Vedder Price provides strategic business immigration advice to a wide range of domestic and international companies as well as investors. The team handles temporary and permanent visa applications at US embassies and consulates on almost every continent, but also conducts I-9 audits and E-Verify procedures to promote best practices and ensure compliance with immigration rules and policies. Another strength of the firm is the ability to draw upon capabilities in the corporate, employment and tax departments when needed. Chicago-based Sara DeBlaze now leads the practice by herself, after Gabrielle Buckley left in June 2018 to become director of The Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.

Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense

Index of tables

  1. Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

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In a cross-platform collaboration between GC magazine and leading IP law firm Finnegan, key partners and senior in-house clients explore the challenges for women in assuming leadership roles in the legal profession.

The labor and employment practice of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP covers the full gamut of contentious matters. It has a particularly strong record in class action litigation and notable experience handling suits which challenge independent contractor status in the 'gig economy'. The team is led by Catherine Conway in Los Angeles and Jason Schwartz in Washington DC. Conway is, besides her litigator activity, also involved in several high-stakes investigations. Schwartz, who is appreciated for his 'great expertise', is the lead partner in a team retained by Amazon to represent it against the Communications Workers of America, which filed a putative class action against Amazon and other employers regarding allegedly violating laws prohibiting age discrimination. The team also successfully represented Uber and Phillips 66 in employment proceedings. Eugene Scalia, also in Washington DC, handled various matters for Ford. Michele Maryott in Orange County, together with litigation partners Theodore Boutrous and Theane Evangelis, is highlighted for her success in representing GrubHub in a landmark case regarding the classification of independent contractors. Los Angeles-based Jesse Cripps and Katherine Smith, as well as Joshua Lipshutz, newly promoted partner Greta Williams and of counsel Molly Senger in Washington DC, are further names to note.

The team at Jones Day is appreciated for its 'tremendous experience in all aspects of employment law and related disputes, particularly in high-level and high-stakes matters'. It handles a variety of matters, including wage-and-hour class and collective actions, employment claims, as well as trade secret and employee mobility cases. The 'smart, creative and responsive' practice is led by Matthew Lampe in New York and Chicago-based Michael Gray. The latter was part of the group which successfully represented McDonald's in a state-wide wage-and-hour class action. In New York, Terri Chase and recently promoted Kristina Yost settled a class action jury trial for Bloomberg regarding the question of whether a class of Analytics Representatives were misclassified as exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as New York and California state laws. Wendy Butler is a further key contact from that office. DC-based Donald Munro as well as Elizabeth McRee, Michael Rossman, Efrat Schulman, and the 'brilliant' Jonathan Linas in Chicago are also noted. Mark Earnest in Irvine and Thomas Chiavetta in Washington DC also made partner in January 2018. The team lost Eric Dreiband, who became the assistant attorney general of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division in October 2018, while Doreen Davis, Lawrence DiNardo and Willis Goldsmith retired.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 'provides top-notch advice' and is appreciated for providing 'work quality at the highest level and having an excellent client service reputation'. It is capable of handling the full range of labor and employment matters on a national and international level. Washington DC-based Grace Speights, who is well versed in employment discrimination claims, leads the 'efficient and competent' group. Anne Marie Estevez in Miami represents Uber in a series of ADA accessibility litigation cases regarding the client's alleged failure to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles and alleged denial of service animals. Thomas Hurka in Chicago and Robert Jon Hendricks in San Francisco successfully handled various matters for Boeing. Davis McManus, who splits his time between New York and Boston, 'is the lawyer you want when stakes are high'. Michael Banks, Joseph Costello, Sarah Bouchard, Steven Wall and Michael Burkhardt are noted individuals in Philadelphia. Paulo McKeeby in Dallas 'brings value and trusted guidance' and Stephanie Sweitzer in Chicago is praised for 'her persistent engagement and leadership in managing cases, which is tremendously valuable'. Orange County-based Barbara Miller's 'wage-and-hour class action knowledge is impressive'. Houston's Ethel Johnson 'gets to the core of the issue quickly and efficiently while being the utmost professional'. Recommended practitioners are also Samuel Shaulson and Ira Rosenstein in New York, Lincoln Bisbee in Washington DC and Debra Fischer in Los Angeles. The team had several partner promotions in October 2018, including Jocelyn Cuttino in Washington DC.

The labor and employment department at Proskauer Rose LLP has a strong market reputation and is praised for 'always focusing on the clients' best interest'. Led by the experienced Elise Bloom and Neil Abramson, the team is regularly engaged by corporates, universities, sport leagues, and other law firms. Bloom, Howard Ganz and Adam Lupion represent the Major League Baseball (MLB) in an ongoing wage-and-hour putative class action brought by minor league baseball players alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state wage-and-hour laws before the Ninth Circuit. Lupion and Joseph Baumgarten acted for the National Hockey League (NHL) when, after more than five years of litigation, the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a former player was dismissed. Nigel Telman in Chicago, who has 'an exceptional approach and is customer focused', acts for McDonald's in various matters. The impressive client portfolio also includes UBS, the NFL and MetLife. Mark Batten in Boston settled a class action case for Harvard University in connection with the challenging of independent contractor status. Los Angeles' Anthony Oncidi is particularly active in the entertainment industry. Further recommended individuals are Bettina Plevan, Allan Bloom, Lloyd Chinn, Steven Hurd, Kathleen McKenna, John Barry, and Evandro Gigante. Chicago's key contact is Steven Pearlman and Newark's Lawrence Sandak and Joseph O’Keefe. Special counsel Jurate Schwartz in Boca Raton, Guy Brenner in Washington DC, Keisha-Ann Gray and counsel Rachel Philion are also noted. Harris Mufson made partner in November 2018. The practice lost its former head Connie Bertram to Polsinelli PC in September 2018. Named attorneys are based in New York except where indicated otherwise.

Led by Apalla Chopra in Los Angeles, the team at O'Melveny & Myers LLP has extensive experience in particular in labor, wage-and-hour, and discrimination and harassment matters. It covers wide range of industry sectors, including aviation and entertainment. Silicon Valley-based Eric Amdursky favorably settled a in a wrongful termination lawsuit for Starz. Robert Siegel in Los Angeles and Adam KohSweeney in San Francisco obtained two summary judgment wins for United Airlines which confirmed that California labor and employment law does not apply to individuals who work primarily outside the state's borders. Jeff Kohn in New York is representing RBC Capital Markets in litigation against a former employee in connection with his alleged entitlement to indemnification for liability and damages after rejecting an offer by a competitor. Mark Robertson, also in New York, and Adam Karr in Newport Beach are further key contacts. San Francisco's Susannah Howard made partner in January 2019 and is also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has a good track record in employment disputes and the team - which is jointly led by Julie Totten, who splits her time between Sacramento and San Francisco, and New York-based Mike Delikat - is regularly engaged by clients from the financial services, technology, retail and higher education sectors. Delikat and Jim McQuade, also based in New York, represented Microsoft in a trade secret litigation against IBM, while Lynne Hermle and Jessica Perry in Silicon Valley helped achieve for the same client the rejection of class certification in a proposed nationwide gender discrimination class action. The duo also successfully defended Twitter in a highly publicized dispute relating to a gender class action filed by a former software engineer. Jill Rosenberg and Renee Phillips in New York obtained a complete defense verdict for RBS relating to an alleged whistleblower retaliation. Oracle, Apple, Sephora and Citibank are other key clients. Recommended individuals also include Andrew Livingston and Michael Weil in San Francisco, as well as Joe Liburt and Julia Riechert in Silicon Valley. Also in New York, Lisa Lupion, who made partner in January 2019, and senior associate Mark Thompson are further names to highlight.

Paul Hastings LLP has strong capabilities in the labor and employment sphere. Clients regularly engage the team to handle class actions and high-stakes claims relating to wage and hour, discrimination and trade secrets. New York-based practice head Patrick Shea has more than 35 years of experience; together with Barbara Brown and Carson Sullivan, both in Washington DC, he continues to represent Goldman Sachs in a nationwide gender discrimination class action. The group also handles a variety of matters for Google; in a recent work highlight, Cameron Fox is defending the tech giant in a widely publicized class action against a former employee, who claims that caucasians, males and political conservatives have suffered discrimination at Google. Elena Baca successfully acted for Fiber Systems International after a former executive and his new employer, Glenair, tried to invalidate the executive’s lawful post-employment restraints as well as the ones in every FSI contract on a nationwide level; Baca, alongside Fox and Jennifer Baldocchi, was able to dismiss the claims. Other members of the practice group include Nancy Abell, who is a widely recognized employment specialist, and Paul Grossman. Zach Hutton, Paul Cane and Jeffrey Wohl are key practitioners in the San Francisco office. Further recommended individuals are Neal Mollen and Kenneth Willner in Washington DC, Kenneth Gage and Marc Bernstein in New York, Bradford Newman in Palo Alto, as well as Donna Melby and Leslie Abbott. Felicia Davis made partner in February 2018. Stephen Sonnenberg retired. Named attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where indicated otherwise.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP fields a team of 'good experts, comprising seasoned lawyers supervising stellar long-term associates'. Noted for its expertise in wage-and-hour class actions and workplace litigation alleging discrimination, the nationwide group is praised for being 'hands on, extremely thorough, and extraordinarily knowledgeable'. Work highlights included Noah Finkel and Andrew Scroggins acting for Epic Systems as co-counsel (alongside Hogan Lovells US LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP) in a landmark case decided by the Supreme Court in May 2018, relating to the enforceability of the agreement into which the plaintiff entered requiring the parties to resolve wage-hour disputes through individual arbitration and waive class and collective proceedings. The 'one-of-a-kind' Gerald Maatman continues to lead a team acting for Sterling Jewelers (together with co-counsel Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP) in an employment discrimination class action. Brian Ashe successfully acted for Digital Realty Trust before the Supreme Court in a case relating to the definition and statutory application of the term 'whistleblower'. Camille Olson is a 'world class lawyer' and Washington DC-based Raymond Baldwin is a ' zealous advocate for his clients with a practical approach'. In Los Angeles, Andrew Paley is an 'extremely well-versed adviser', and Jon Meer is praised for his 'immense knowledge and trial practice'. Atlanta's Robert Stevens is described as an 'expert in restrictive covenant work'; clients also appreciate Kerry Friedrichs in San Francisco and Pamela Devata for 'being leaders in their field and being able to answer questions on the spot'. Further recommended individuals are practice head Laura Maechtlen and Christian Rowley in San Francisco, Boston's Richard Alfred and the 'greatly experienced and knowledgeable' Lisa Damon, Lorie Almon and Gina Merrill in New York, as well as Richard Lapp. In Houston, the team was strengthen by the arrival of Scott Nelson from Baker McKenzie LLP in May 2018, while John Yslas joined the Los Angeles office from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in July 2018. Named attorneys are based in Chicago except where indicated otherwise.

The well-reputed team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York handles class action litigation, single-plaintiff cases, and restrictive covenant disputes, and has particular expertise in wage-and-hour and discrimination claims. Jeffrey Klein leads the team and has over 30 years of experience. He successfully defended Sterling Jewelers (together with co-counsel Seyfarth Shaw LLP) in a 44,000-plaintiff class arbitration on alleged gender discrimination. Employment expert Gary Friedman is representing Nuance in a putative class and collective action involving claims of breach of contract, fraud and violations. Klein and Friedman were also engaged by HCTec in a wage-and-hour putative collective action filed in Nashville. Klein continues to represent Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP) in an $80m lawsuit filed by terminated employees. Other notable practitioners are Nicholas Pappas, counsel Lawrence Baer and senior associate Ami Zweig.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a strong track record in class and collective actions as well as in equal employment opportunity disputes. Practice head Robert Lian has more than 25 years of litigation experience. The recommended Daniel Nash defended Ernst & Young in a highly publicized dispute in which the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that an arbitration agreement entered into by the plaintiff was enforceable, thereby dismissing a putative wage-and-hour class action. In another work highlight, Nash and Stacy Eisenstein were engaged by the NFL after a running back appealed his suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy. Other clients include Starbucks, Caesars Entertainment and Home Depot. Other highlighted individuals are Nate Oleson and Esther Lander. All aforementioned practitioners are based in Washington DC. Greg Knopp and Gary McLaughlin in Los Angeles, Richard Rabin and Lauren Leyden in New York, and Donna Mezias in San Francisco are also noted.

Greenberg Traurig LLP's practice is jointly led by Naomi Beer, James Boudreau and David Long-Daniels, based in Denver, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively. It 'distinguishes itself by the breadth of its scope, which ranges from geographic access to subject matter expertise', and works closely with the firm's other practices, such as the corporate and tax groups. Los Angeles-based Mark Kemple represented Marriott in various matters, including a wage-and-hour case which was dismissed. Natasha Wilson in Atlanta was engaged by Atlanta Public Schools regarding a collective action alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Charles Birenbaum and counsel Lindsay Hutner are key contacts in San Francisco. Other names to note are Jonathan Sulds in New York as well as Wendy Johnson Lario, Kristine Feher and Robert Bernstein in New Jersey. Michael Mason re-joined the firm in Phoenix in April 2018 from Pinnacle West Capital, and of counsel Alicia Voltmer was a new arrival to the Dallas office from Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC in September 2018. The team had several partner promotions, including Adil Khan (Los Angeles) in March 2018 and Ashley Farrell Pickett (Los Angeles) and Jack Gearan (Boston) in January 2019.

Clients appreciate Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP for providing 'practical advice of excellent quality'. The New York-based team is regularly engaged by clients from the financial services, technology and media industries and is led by the 'exceptional employment lawyer' Kevin Leblang. Recent work highlights include acting for ABC in a discrimination claim made by a former weekend sports anchor, and acting for Marsh & McLennan after a current employee alleged gender and national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Eliza Kaiser specializes in employment law litigation and advisory matters; she regularly works with Facebook and recently defended the client in litigation brought by an applicant for a position alleging age discrimination. Robert Holtzman is well versed in executive compensation matters.

Employment boutique Littler Mendelson, P.C. has a broad national network and handles the full gamut of related matters. Firm leaders Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth are based in Philadelphia and San Diego respectively. A team led by Atlanta-based Lee Schreter and Richard Black was able to reduce a nationwide putative class and collective action alleging wage-and-hour violations by client Acosta to a two-plaintiff lawsuit. Philadelphia's William Leahy successfully defended a federal contractor in a New Jersey retaliation and defamation case. Robert Long in New York regularly advises on issues arising from corporate transactions. In Washington DC, Paul Kennedy handles restrictive covenants, employee raiding and trade secrets theft, and Maury Baskin is another key practitioner. Dallas' Robert Friedman and Jacqueline Johnson as well as Patricia Martin in St Louis and Renata Neeser in New York are also noted. The firm had multiple new arrivals, including Bradley Schwan from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. David Warner left for Dorf & Nelson in January 2019.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP  has particular experience advising clients from the retail, entertainment, healthcare and financial services sectors. The mostly West Coast-based team is led by Esra Hudson, who has broad expertise in the employment area. She successfully represented CashCall in a private attorney general representative action under California’s PAGA. Andrew Satenberg was engaged by Del Taco in a class action complaint by former employee Michael Jaffey involving several claims, including alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Washington DC's Deborah Kelly acted for the United Nations Foundation in a dispute regarding alleged discrimination towards a former employee. Alan Brunswick, Robert Platt and Orange County's Mandana Massoumi and associates Cherise Latortue and Matthew Golper are also names to note. The New York office was strengthen by the arrival of Brian Turoff in July 2018 from Venable LLP. Reid Davis made partner in March 2018. Named individuals are based in Los Angeles unless otherwise stated.

Mayer Brown has an 'incredible team of lawyers', which defends clients in employment class and collective actions as well as litigates matters involving contemporary issues such as in cybersecurity, social media and privacy. The group, known as 'efficient, pragmatic, and providing excellent advice', is led by Marcia Goodman and John Zaimes in Los Angeles. The latter, together with Ruth Zadikany from the same office, represented PetSmart in a hybrid nationwide FLSA collective action on behalf of employees who alleged that the company misclassified its operations managers as exempt and thus failed to pay these employees overtime. Andrew Rosenman successfully defended Welltec in a similar matter. Counsel Maritoni Kane 'quickly distills complex legal situations'. John Nadolenco in Los Angeles is also noted. Named individuals are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

Ogletree Deakins advises clients ranging from international companies to start-ups from a variety of industry sectors on disputes involving, among other things, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, non-competition and non-solicitation, and wage-and-hour issues. Managing shareholder Matthew Keen is based in Raleigh. Work highlights included successfully acting for Waterstone Mortage Corporation in an appeal regarding the question of who is to decide whether an arbitration can proceed on a class or collective basis; Spencer Skeen in San Diego and David Schenberg in St Louis were part of the team advising the bank. Other noted individuals include Dallas' Ron Chapman, the Los Angeles-based Jack Sholkoff and Robert Roginson, Sacramento''s Anthony Decristoforo and Danielle Ochs in San Francisco. Jeffrey Londa and Thomas Deer are key contacts in Houston and Chicago respectively. The firm had multiple new arrivals, including Tamsen Leachman from Littler Mendelson, P.C. in Portland, and Tampa-based Peter Zinober from Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Reed Smith LLP covers the full range of labor and employment disputes, with core capabilities being wage-and-hour class actions and discrimination, harassment, and pay equity claims. The team is led by Mark Temple, who splits his time between Houston and Chicago; he has particular experience in the healthcare sector. In Los Angeles, senior counsel Linda Husar has more than 30 years of experience, and Remy Kessler and recently promoted Mara Curtis are are also names to note. Houston-based Peter Stuhldreher has expertise in unfair competition and wrongful termination matters, while Betty Graumlich in Richmond is well versed in claims in connection with violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, among others. Casey Ryan, James Glunt and counsel James Holt in Pittsburgh, as well as John McDonald and Don Innamorato in Princeton, are names to note. Also highlighted are New York's Cindy Schmitt Minniti and counsel Hannah Sorcic in Chicago, where Jill Vorobiev joined from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in February 2018. New arrival Thomas Posey, who joined from Faegre Baker Daniels in October 2018, is based in Chicago and Los Angeles. Several partners left for Holland & Knight LLP in September 2018, including Sara Begley and Thomas Hill.

The 'very experienced and knowledgeable' team at Winston & Strawn LLP is led by Michael Roche and assists clients from a variety of industry sectors, including banking, energy, retail, food and beverage. Joe Torres successfully represented Caterpillar in an impact collective action age discrimination lawsuit after multiple employees alleged the company’s termination and distribution of a supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) had an adverse impact on certain employees based on age. Daniel Fazio obtained a win for his client Fannie Mae after a former employee alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII. The strong client portfolio further includes Accenture, LVMH, and Marsh & McLennan Companies. Rex Sessions and Joan Fife in San Francisco both have more than 30 years of experience. In Los Angeles, Laura Petroff is experienced in trade secrets and non-competes, while Monique Ngo-Bonnici specializes in wage-and-hour claims; associate Jason Campbell is also noted. Derek Barella left for Schiff Hardin LLP in September 2018. Named individuals are based in Chicago except where indicated otherwise.

Led by David Grant in Washington DC, the practice at Baker & Hostetler LLP is experienced in handling multiparty employment disputes, class actions and individual private-plaintiff actions. A team comprising New York-based Amy Traub, Houston's Dennis Duffy and Patrick Muldowney in Orlando defended Cost Containment Group in a class action enforcement lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a class of former employees accusing the company of religious discrimination. Melissa Siebert in Chicago obtained a favorable judgement for Southwest Airlines after plaintiffs alleged that Southwest violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The group also handles a variety of matters for McDonald's. Other recommended individuals are Eric Barnum in Atlanta, Joel Griswold, Kevin Shaughnessy and Joyce Ackerbaum Cox in Orlando, Edward Friedman and Drew Tipton in Houston, as well as the Los Angeles-based Margaret Rosenthal. M. Scott McIntyre in Cincinnati, Gregory Mersol and Martin Wymer in Cleveland, Jennifer Edwards in Columbus and Peter Fischer in Washington DC are also names to note. The Atlanta office was strengthen by the arrival of Jason D’Cruz, Brian Harris and Mark Zisholtz in April 2018 from Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP. Louis Cannon in Washington DC and Shareef Farag in Los Angeles made partner in January 2018.

Baker McKenzie LLP is noted for providing a 'one-stop' service and is regularly engaged by national and international clients to handle labor and employment matters. The team, which is led by William Dugan in Chicago and the 'outstanding' Michael Brewer in San Francisco, is experienced in wage-and-hour class actions, whistleblower cases and EEOC pattern or practice proceedings, among others. Dugan, whose 'knowledge, persistence and affability make for a client-focused experience', acts for Virtu Financial in its attempt to prevent a former employee making use of his proprietary information. Emily Harbison in Houston was engaged by NetSync to represent the company in employee trade secrets/restrictive covenants litigation against a former employee, valued at $4m. Palo Alto's Todd Boyer and Chicago-based Arthur Rooney defended Kiewit in a putative wage-hour class action. Further names to note are Emily Harbison in Houston, Robert Lewis and Meredith Kaufman in New York as well as Miriam Petrillo in Chicago. On the West Coast, the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices were strengthen by arrivals of Robin Samuel in March 2018 from Hogan Lovells US LLP and Michael Leggieri in July 2018 from Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP is appreciated for being 'strategic, and forward thinking'. The team covers the full gamut of labor and employment disputes and is regularly engaged by companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations across the country. Practice heads Kenneth Sulzer, Maureen Knight, Steven Moore and Randy Loftis are based in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Denver and Winston-Salem respectively. Moore assisted Western Distributing in an EEOC lawsuit which alleged discrimination against its truck drivers based on disability. Jim Goh in Denver acted as a lead counsel for the University of Denver in a lawsuit brought by EEOC on behalf of multiple female law professors alleging unequal pay. Other names to note are Donald Prophete in Kansas, Kimberly Talley in Los Angeles, and Ellen Kearns in Denver.

Dentons has strong cross-department cooperation and regularly involves its immigration, corporate, litigation and white-collar defense teams in resolving tricky employment issues. The group handles the full scope of labor and employment law, with an active restrictive covenant, trade secret and unfair competition litigation practice on the East Coast and notable strength in wage-and-hour class actions in California. Practice head Brian Cousin is based in New York and, in addition to employment matters, is also well versed in ERISA and benefits litigation. The Los Angeles based Nick Pujji represents Bloomingdale’s in a putative class action case filed by shoe department employees relating to allegedly unpaid wages. Kansas City's Brian Baggott acted for Schenck Process in a non-compete and trade secrets dispute against a former employee and its competitor. Based in the same office, Gregory Wolf settled a class action for Sprint Nextel after employees alleged Sprint failed to properly pay commissions. Atlanta's Daniel Beale and Richard Scharlat in New York are also noted. Jim McNeill in San Diego left for the position of assistant city attorney.

Dickinson Wright PLLC is known to be 'aggressive and very knowledgeable'. The team is also appreciated for being 'honest to a fault in guiding through very difficult terrain'; it is regularly engaged in wage-and-hour collective and discrimination class actions. Detroit-based practice head Timothy Howlett is well versed in employment litigation. In Nashville, Reid Estes acted for McDonald’s Restaurants of Kentucky after it was sued by a former employee for violations of the FLSA and various state law claims. Ann Arbor's William Thacker, Cynthia Alexander in Las Vegas and Ben Dolan in Troy are 'very thorough in research, advice and application of the law'. Kathryn Wood, also in Troy, and Samuel Coffman in Phoenix are further noted.

DLA Piper LLP (US) has an 'outstanding practice across the board', and is known to cover the full range of labor and employment disputes for clients from the financial services, advertising, fashion, and healthcare sectors, among others. Brian Kaplan heads the department and is considered an 'extraordinary lawyer'. He was part of a team that successfully defended New York University in multiple lawsuits and charges in excess of $50m against a former adjunct instructor relating to alleged discrimination. Joseph Piesco represents Fox in several disputes, each alleging race discrimination. Piesco and Norman Leon also reached a favorable judgment for Domino's after employees of numerous franchisees tried to hold the client liable as a 'joint employer'. Counsel Garrett Kennedy, who is the 'perfect partner in challenging disputes', was also involved in both cases; Daniel Turinsky is noted. Aforementioned lawyers are based in New York. Other highlighted individuals are San Diego's Mary Dollarhide and Joseph Guarino in New Jersey. In Dallas, Marc Katz and Isabel Crosby, who joined from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in February 2018, are the key contacts. Evan Parness in New York made partner in April 2018. New arrivals to the team include Holly Lake in Los Angeles from Miller Law Group in September 2018 and Ryan Vann in Chicago from Baker McKenzie LLP. In March 2018, the Chicago-based former department head Michael Sheehan left the firm for McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and not long after, in April 2018, a team including Rachel Cowen, Ron Holland and Maria Rodriguez made the same move.

The team at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has broad capabilities in the labor and employment sphere and is regularly engaged by clients from the healthcare, hospitality and financial services sectors. David Garland, who is based in New York, leads the team. Carmine Iannaccone, Patrick Brady and James Flynn, all in Newark, cover a wide range of employment litigation. Washington DC's Paul DeCamp is co-chair of the firm’s national wage and hour practice, while Kathleen Williams and Frank Morris are also noted. Richard Frey, who joined the Los Angeles office from Venable LLP, is experienced in trade secrets and employment mobility. New York-based John Fullerton specializes in representing employers in whistleblower litigation defense in retaliation cases. Ronald Green, Aime Dempsey, Ian Carleton Schaefer and Joshua Stein are other key contacts in that office. Deborah DeHart Cannavino in Stamford, Jonathan Brenner and Michael Kun in Los Angeles as well as Brian Spang are also names to note. The firm had several new arrivals, including Eric Moran in New York in July 2018 from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

Labor and employment boutique Ford & Harrison LLP is regularly engaged for discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour and non-compete matters, among others, and has a particular focus on the aviation and healthcare sectors. Managing partner Allen McKenna is based in Orlando. Sarah Pierce Wimberly in Atlanta defended ExpressJet Airlines against a claim alleging violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and state civil rights law; a former employee sought reinstatement of her position and back pay with damages after she was suspended for refusing to serve passengers alcohol due to her religious beliefs. Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Jeffrey Lehrer defended Southern Concrete & Construction in a collective action alleging wage-and-hour violations. Other work highlights included Tampa's Tracey Jaensch acting for 21st Century Oncology in a dispute against a former CEO involving breach of contract, ERISA, and non-compete claims. Salvador Simao in Berkeley Heights specializes in in wage-and-hour litigation and compliance. Louis Britt in Memphis and Atlanta-based Jeffrey Mokotoff are also noted.

Jackson Lewis P.C. fields a large group of dedicated lawyers that handles a high volume of matters, including class actions, multi-jurisdictional cases and single-plaintiff proceedings. Kevin Lauri in New York and William Anthony in Albany jointly chair the workplace law firm. The latter successfully represented multiple universities in student-athlete litigation against the NCAA in which the plaintiffs alleged they are employees who are entitled to a minimum wage. Hartford's Beverly Garofalo acted as the lead counsel for the Citizens Financial Group in a lawsuit filed by the former senior vice president, who claimed he was terminated in retaliation for taking leave under the FMLA. Leonora Schloss in Los Angeles represented AECOM in a California wage-and-hour class action on behalf of all non-exempt employees alleging failure to pay all overtime wages, among other things. Theresa Marchlewski from the same office was active for the American Red Cross and the Emergency Department Physicians Medical Group. Victoria Woodin Chavey in Hartford is also noted. Orlando-based Stephanie Adler-Paindiris, David Golder in Hartford and Eric Magnus in Atlanta jointly lead the firm's class actions and complex litigation practice group, while Chicago's Nadine Abrahams and John Nolan in Philadelphia head the general employment litigation team. The firm welcomed several new arrivals, including Gary Tocci in Philadelphia from Reed Smith LLP in February 2018 and Gillian Yee in Detroit from Ogletree Deakins in July 2018.

K&L Gates regularly acts on the management side in a wide array of employment matters, including whistleblower claims, enforcement of non-competition agreements, discrimination and retaliation, as well as wage-and-hour class actions. The team is led by Rosemary Alito, who is based in Newark; besides workplace litigation, she is active in class actions under ERISA and the Labor Management Relations Act. Patrick Madden has more than 25 years of experience. Todd Nunn specializes in class action defense. Both lawyers are based in Seattle. Newark's George Barbatsuly, Nickolas Spiliotis in Houston and Spencer Hamer in Orange County are also noted. Román Hernández left for Troutman Sanders LLP in February 2018.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP's 'level of expertise is beyond exceptional'. The group handles the full range of employment law but specializes in particular in non-compete litigation as well as accessibility cases. It was significantly strengthen with the arrival of former members of DLA Piper LLP (US)'s employment team in April 2018, including Michael Sheehan in Chicago who now heads the practice. He is well versed acting for IT companies and recently represented Dimension Data in a theft of employer information and trade secrets case. The Los Angeles-based Maria Rodriguez is regularly engaged by Verizon, as the team handles all of its California employment litigation and counseling. She also defended Paramount Pictures in a dispute against a former employee who claimed gender discrimination and brought a pay equity case. The client portfolio also includes Warner Brothers, Airbnb and LATAM Airlines. Further names to note among the new recruits are Rachel Cowen in Chicago and Ron Holland in San Francisco. Kerry Scanlon and Jeremy White in Washington DC from the existing team are also recommended.

Ropes & Gray LLP employment practice has capabilities in class actions, trade secret and restrictive covenant litigation as well as whistleblower defense, among others. Practice head Jeffrey Webb splits his time between Boston and San Francisco; he assisted Behrman Capital with a putative WARN Act class action filed by former employees. Boston-based counsel Jenny Cooper represents Key Food after a union, which represents employees of several stores that Key Food’s members purchased, alleged that unfair labor practices were committed and Key Food should be held liable as a joint employer. Webb and Cooper are also acting for Berkeley Research Group in an action challenging the enforceability of restrictive covenants of three of its executives in California. Other clients include Bain Capital and Aegerion Pharmaceuticals. Peter Ebb and recently promoted Doug Brayley are also key practitioners.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP handles the full range of labor and employment disputes, from single plaintiff cases to class actions. The team is jointly led by Kelly Hensley, Greg Labate and Jonathan Stoler, who are based in Los Angeles, Orange County and New York respectively. Palo Alto's Paul Cowie successfully represented Swift Transportation in a wage-and-hour rest break putative class action, as well as Granite Rock in a wage-and-hour case, which had multiple millions of dollars at risk. The Century City-based Thomas Kaufman was able to obtain a victory for Cox Communication when a judge granted a class-wide summary judgment on the claim for failure to pay field technicians for certain time spent driving in company vehicles. Derek Havel, Daniel McQueen as well as Tracey Kennedy and Richard Simmons in Los Angeles are noted. In March 2018, Denise Giraudo became a part of the team in Washington DC, joining from Ogletree Deakins, and, shortly after, Stephen Fox joined in Dallas from Polsinelli PC. Travis Anderson and Justine Phillips in San Diego and Robert Mussig in Los Angeles made partner.

Led by Amy Bess in Washington DC, the team at Vedder Price is regularly engaged by clients from the retail, financial services, manufacturing and distribution industry sectors. Heather Sager is 'a go-to lawyer in complex issues'; she defended a Californian retailer in a class action involving allegations of missed meal and rest breaks and unpaid overtime, among others. Brendan Dolan was successful in obtaining a voluntary dismissal for Oracle relating to a claim in a class action brought by the Sanford Heisler law firm alleging Oracle's sales compensation plan violates California state law. Sager and Dolan are based in San Francisco, while Nicholas Anaclerio, Joseph Mulherin, Thomas Wilde and Patrick Spangler are key contacts in Chicago. Thomas Petrides in Los Angeles is also noted. Washington DC's Sadina Montani was promoted to partner. New arrivals include Nicole Smith from Venable LLP, Candice Zee from Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Eugene Boyle from Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP; the new recruits are based in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Chicago respectively.

Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): plaintiff

Index of tables

  1. Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • David Borgen - Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho
    • Eve Cervantez - Altshuler Berzon
    • Kelly Dermody - Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
    • James Finberg - Altshuler Berzon
    • Cara Greene - Outten & Golden LLP
    • Adam Klein - Outten & Golden LLP
    • David Lowe - Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP
    • Michael Rubin - Altshuler Berzon

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

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The team of Altshuler Berzon regularly acts for labor unions, workers, other public interest organizations, and public entities in complex disputes. Recent work highlights include filing EEOC and state-level charges on behalf of workers at McDonald’s who are alleging having been sexually harassed at work. Michael Rubin has noteworthy expertise in appellate litigation and class actions. James Finberg specializes in workplace discrimination and wage-and-hour violations. Other names to note are Casey Pitts, Eileen Goldsmith, Barbara Chisholm, Stacey Leyton and Peder Thoreen. Eve Cervantez is the contact for civil rights and discrimination matters. The firm is based in San Francisco.

The team at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP has a strong track record in class actions in gender and race discrimination, wage-and-hour, and ERISA disputes. Kelly Dermody chairs the firm's employment practice and has notable experience in the fields of pay equity, #MeToo issues, and diversity and inclusion; she and Anne Shaver, both in San Francisco, were involved in filing a gender discrimination class action against Google, alleging that the technology company has paid women less than men who performed substantially equal or similar work in several job families. The team is generally involved in multiple significant gender discrimination suits against Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and KMPG, among others. Further highlighted practitioners are Rachel Geman in New York, Daniel Hutchinson, Lin Chan and Dean Harvey (all in San Francisco). Tiseme Zegeye, Michael Levin-Gesundheit and Michelle Lamy in San Francisco are noted associates.

Outten & Golden LLP is widely recognized as one of the market leaders for plaintiff representations. The firm has a substantial class action practice and handles the full spectrum of claims, including harassment and discrimination, wage and overtime, and leaves of absence. Managing partner Adam Klein is experienced in class actions and impact litigation of employment discrimination and wage-and-hour claims. Together with Washington DC's Peter Romer-Friedman, of counsel David Lopez and San Francisco's Jahan Sagafi, Klein represents job seekers and the Communications Workers of America in a suit filed against Amazon, as the company allegedly violates age bias laws by aiming Facebook job ads at younger workers. Cara Greene acts for women in a class action gender bias lawsuit against Goldman Sachs. Former managing partner and founding member Wayne Outten and Tammy Marzigliano jointly lead the firm's whistleblower and retaliation team. Darnley Stewart, Justin Swartz, Juno Turner and Laurence Moy are also highly regarded, as are Ossai Miazad and Wendi Lazar. Sally Abrahamson in Washington DC and Molly Brooks chair the LGBTQ workplace rights practice. Kathleen Peratis and Chicago's Lori Deem are the practice heads of the sex discrimination and sexual harassment group. Rachel Bien is a key contact in San Francisco. Individuals are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC 'provides top-notch service across the board'. The team has a broad practice which covers a variety of employment matters and is led by the 'incredibly knowledgeable' Joseph Sellers. It continues to represent a class of 69,000 female sales employees in a nationwide Title VII and Equal Pay Act dispute against Sterling Jewelers. Associate Shaylyn Cochran and Sellers, on behalf of blind students of BarBri, settled claims against the company for denying them fair and equal access to components of BarBri’s test prep offerings. Chochran is appreciated for always 'looking for new ways to press an important case forward'. Christine Webber, known to be 'strategic and collaborative', is experienced in wage-and-hour collective actions. Besides being active in plaintiffs' employment litigation, Kalpana Kotagal's diversity efforts are particularly noteworthy, and she co-authored the 'inclusion rider', a provision used in actors' and filmmakers' contracts committing to a certain level of diversity on set. Of counsel Michael Hancock's 'US Department of Labor experience brings an incredible depth of knowledge and strategy'. All lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho is well versed in representing plaintiffs in its three core areas: employment discrimination, disability access, and wage-and-hour violations. The Oakland-based group was recently involved in filing a gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike on behalf of a proposed class and collective of female employees that alleges that Nike fails to offer women pay and promotions equal to their male counterparts and fosters a work environment that is hostile to women. The firm further handles civil rights and compliance audits. Of counsel David Borgen has public interest complex litigation experience, while Laura Ho is a specialist in California and federal wage-and-hour class and collective actions. Linda Dardarian focuses on disability rights. Andrew Lee is also noted.

The San Francisco-based law firm Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP is engaged by workers, professionals and senior executives to assist with a variety of employment matters, including discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, among others. The team advised a former employee of Google - who was fired after posting comments challenging the hostile work environment on the internal social networking forum - on bringing a lawsuit against the company. David Lowe has a strong track record in individual and class action cases. Michelle Lee, Chaya Mandelbaum, John Mullan and Erin Pulaski are noted, as are of counsels Steven Zieff and Alan Exelrod.

Labor-management relations

Index of tables

  1. Labor-management relations
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Jones Day fields a team of dedicated lawyers experienced in representing employers in a variety of labor matters, including collective bargaining, disputes, and labor strategy. The global labor and employment practice is chaired by Chicago-based Michael Gray and Matthew Lampe in New York. Labor experts in Chicago, David Birnbaum, Brian Easley, and Michael Rossman, were active as the chief spokespeople for the Kraft Heinz Company in negotiations regarding collective bargaining agreements. Donald Munro successfully represented a coalition of the majority of the nation’s freight railroads, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee, in an arbitration against two labor unions regarding proposed healthcare plan design changes and the subsequent potential compensation entitlements. The team is also currently still involved on the side of McDonald's, which is being prosecuted as an alleged joint employer by franchisee employees. Michael Ferrell in Chicago and Jessica Kastin in New York are other names to note. In the Washington DC office, Patricia Dunn and recently promoted partner Thomas Chiavetta are recommended. Associate Samantha Woo in Chicago advises public and private employers. Willis Goldsmith and Doreen Davis retired.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's team comprises 'smart, efficient problem solvers', who have experience with labor unions and representing clients before all relevant federal, state and local agencies. The group is 'capable of handling the most sophisticated traditional labor matters' and is jointly led by Philadelphia-based Joseph Ragaglia and the 'intellectual giant' Harry Johnson in Century City. Labor-expert Jonathan Fritts had an active year in the transport sector, which included representing Boeing Company in several matters. Senior counsel Thomas Reinert successfully acted for Southwest Airlines in arbitration proceedings with its mechanics’ union regarding the union's efforts to obtain the exclusive right to perform aircraft movement work. Philip Miscimarra, who is the former chairman of the NLRB and is considered as 'one of the single greatest traditional labor lawyers of his time', re-joined the firm in February 2018, switching positions with John Ring, who went in the other direction. Daniel Bordoni specializes in collective bargaining and matters arising under the NLRB. Aforementioned lawyers are based in Washington DC. Ross Friedman in Chicago and Steven Wall in Philadelphia are other highlighted practitioners. Los Angeles' Nicole Buffalano made partner in October 2018.

The 'exceptional' labor team at Proskauer Rose LLP has a particularly strong track record when it comes to representing US professional sports leagues in collective bargaining negotiations. It covers the full gamut of the law, with clients appreciating the group for 'providing excellent advice in every aspect of labor and employment'. The New York-based Elise Bloom and Neil Abramson jointly chair the department. The latter, who is also the head of the public sector group, negotiated a collective bargaining settlement for the City of New York with the Police Benevolent Association. Paul Salvatore and Zachary Fasman in New York and Chicago's Steven Pearlman have longstanding relations with a variety of universities, including Washington University, Yale University, and Cornell University, which they advise in labor law matters. Bernard Plum, Michael Lebowich, Joseph Baumgarten, Howard Robbins and senior counsel Steven Porzio are other key contacts in New York, while Boston's Scott Faust and Los Angeles' Mark Theodore are also names to note.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP's team is praised for providing 'sound advice and excellent representation'. It assists clients from a variety of sectors, such as healthcare, sports, hospitality and transportation, among others, in traditional labor matters. Bradford Livingston, who is based in Chicago, is the head of the practice group and has noteworthy expertise in collective bargaining negotiations. Further key contacts in this office are Kenneth Dolin and Brian Stolzenbach, while Arthur Telegen is the name to note in Boston. Atlanta's Stuart Newman is a diversified labor lawyer with experience in disputes, collective bargaining and strike situations. Joe Damato in Washington DC 'resolves issue efficiently and effectively'. The New York office fields experts such as counsel Marshall Babson and Glenn Smith. Kyllan Kershaw in Atlanta and Howard Wexler in New York made partner in January 2018. Karla Sanchez is an associate to watch in Chicago.

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The 'battle-tested' lawyers at Jackson Lewis P.C. are regularly engaged in negotiations, organizing drives, unfair labor practice claims, and arbitration. Praised for being 'accessible and approachable', the labor practice is jointly led by Philip Rosen and Jonathan Spitz, based in New York and Atlanta respectively. Laura Pierson-Scheinberg, who is based in San Francisco, assisted a retail chain in reaching an agreement in a significant bargaining unit. Baltimore's Stephen Silvestri is a 'seasoned litigator and trusted adviser'. Other notable practitioners include Daniel Schudroff in New York, Howard Bloom in Boston, Jeffrey Schwartz in Atlanta, and Chad Richter in Omaha. R. Michael Lowenbaum joined the St Louis office from the now defunct firm Lowenbaum Law.

As the largest labor and employment law firm in the world, Littler Mendelson, P.C. has deep experience representing management in a wide variety of labor matters. Memphis-based Tanja Thompson and Mark Schneider in Minneapolis co-chair the large, dedicated traditional labor practice, which covers the gamut of associated matters, as well as assisting its clients with training programs. Robert Long in New York acted as the special labor counsel to the secured lenders in the Tops Markets bankruptcy with regards to the debtor’s collective bargaining agreements and the reformation of these. A. John Harper III in Houston is recommended.

International labor and employment law firm Ogletree Deakins works in dedicated industry groups for a variety of clients. The team has experience advising on union representation campaigns, collective bargaining negotiations, and strike preparations, as well as NLRB proceedings and labor arbitrations. Memphis-based W. Chris Harrison and Dallas' Fito Agraz led the team assisting Flexjet on a campaign which ended with the pilots' vote to end representation by the Teamsters union. Further names to note in the Dallas office are Ron Chapman Jr and Jonathan Wilson, who also jointly chairs the newly founded mergers and acquisitions practice group, while Brian Hayes is a key practitioner in Washington DC. Greenville's Mark Stubley is recommended. Managing partner Matthew Keen is based in Raleigh.

Baker & Hostetler LLP has a longstanding labor relations practice, which covers the full spectrum of related matters. Led by Jay Krupin in Washington DC and Patrick Muldowney in Orlando, the team advises clients from, in particular, the media and hospitality sectors on contentious and non-contentious issues. Columbus-based Mike Asensio has more than 25 years of experience and is regularly engaged by private and public sector companies. Daniel Guttman from the same office represented the Ohio Department of Medicaid in an arbitration regarding its ability to unilaterally manage operations under the state’s labor contact in a new way. David Grant, Peter Fischer and newly promoted partner Louis Cannon are other key contacts in Washington DC.

DLA Piper LLP (US) has experience assisting clients with managing a unionized work force as well as with helping maintaining non-union status. It also has a dedicated strategic campaign team, which advises companies on how to respond effectively to corporate campaigns by labor unions and their allies. Brian Kaplan in New York is the US chair and global co-chair of the group. Ryan Vann, who joined the Chicago office from Baker McKenzie LLP in July 2018, is well versed in a variety of labor matters. Washington DC-based Harriet Lipkin is another name to note. In March 2018, Michael Sheehan left the firm for McDermott Will & Emery LLP, closely followed by a team including Ron Holland, Pankit Doshi, Marilyn Pearson, Ellen Bronchetti, and David Durham.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. is regularly engaged by clients from, in particular, the healthcare, financial, and hospitality sectors. Its clients range from multinationals to nonprofit organizations and public employers. New York-based David Garland chairs the firm’s national employment, labor and workforce management steering committee. In Los Angeles, Adam Abrahms has a strong standing with hospitals regarding labor matters in California and Kat Paterno made partner in January 2019. Newark's Jeremy Brown represented a variety of clients against unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB and in arbitrations. Another name to note in New York, Steven Swirsky, has experience in union avoidance, organizing campaigns, and collective bargaining.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP's team is well integrated in the international network and also works closely with the firm's other departments, in particular the corporate group. The team is jointly led by Naomi Beer, James Boudreau and David Long-Daniels, based in Denver, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively. San Francisco-based Charles Birenbaum is assisting Hornblower Cruises in its expanding transportation project regarding the negotiations with organized labor to staff the system. Jerrold Goldberg in New York is regularly engaged as the transactional labor counsel by SL Green Realty. Terence McCourt is a noted practitioner in Boston. Michael Mason re-joined the firm in Phoenix from Pinnacle West Capital Corporation in April 2018; another new arrival is counsel Alicia Sienne Voltmer in Dallas, who came from Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC in September 2018.

The team at O'Melveny & Myers LLP is active in the full gamut of labor matters, advising employers in union avoidance, elections, strikes, injunctions, and decertifications as well as representing clients in the defense and prosecution of unfair labor practice charges and other issues before and against the NLRB. The group, which is led by Apalla Chopra, has a particularly strong standing in the aviation industry. For example, Robert Siegel is regularly engaged by Atlas Air and American Airlines, and led a team which successfully represented the latter against a proposed class action brought by the airline's pilots following the merger with US Airways. Chopra and Siegel are based in Los Angeles. DC's Aparna Joshi advises Spirit Airlines on a several matters. Counsel Tristan Morales is another name to note from this office. Jeffrey Kohn and Mark Robertson are key contacts in New York.

Reed Smith LLP is experienced in the full spectrum of labor-related matters, ranging from strike and lockout preparations and collective bargaining agreements to grievance arbitration and representation in unfair labor practice charges. The group, which is led by Houston-based Mark Temple, is particularly active for clients from the energy, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Karl Fritton in Philadelphia and Betty Graumlich are regularly engaged in labor arbitration cases. While the group added Thomas Posey, joining from Faegre Baker Daniels in October 2018, several partners, including Christina Tellado, left for Holland & Knight LLP in September 2018.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP's practice handles a high number of unfair labor practice allegations and is active in a variety of industries, including retail, healthcare, logistics, food processing, and aviation. Phoenix- based Steve Wheeless leads the team; he is representing Walmart before the NLRB regarding allegations by the NLRB that Walmart unlawfully disciplined and discharged scores of employees who participated in short-duration strikes as part of the United Food and Commercial Workers International 'work center' campaign to ultimately organize Walmart. Alan Feldman has expertise in advising employers facing union organization campaigns, as well as managing the campaigns in accordance with the NLRB and the Railway Labor Act.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP's New York-based team has a good standing with clients from the public sector, which it assists in collective bargaining as well as representing them in arbitration and improper practice proceedings. The team is led by Alan Klinger and Charles Moerdler, who both have a strong track record in representing labor unions from a variety of industries. Klinger co-counseled the New York State United Teachers and United Teachers of Northport in proceedings brought in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v AFSCME, seeking repayment of agency fees paid pre-Janus as well as making a variety of constitutional challenges to provisions of New York labor law. Specialist counsels Dina Kolker and David Kahne as well as associate Arthur Herskowitz are other noted team members.

Vedder Price has a comprehensive labor law practice, which advises on collective bargaining agreements, strikes, union organizing and disputes, among other areas. The team is also well versed when it comes to required representation before the NLRB in unfair labor practice and representation (election) matters. Amy Bess, who is based in Washington DC, leads the  practice. A team in Chicago is regularly engaged by AAR Corp for agency representation and litigation matters. Names to note from this office are Patrick Spangler, Kenneth Sparks and Mark Stolzenburg. Heather Sager is a key contact in San Francisco. The Los Angeles office was strengthened by the arrival of Candice Zee from Seyfarth Shaw LLP in August 2018, while Eugene Boyle joined in September 2018 from Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.

Winston & Strawn LLP is appreciated for being 'very experienced and knowledgeable'. The team handles labor matters for a variety of clients, in particular from the manufacturing, energy, construction, and healthcare sectors. Chair of the firm's labor and employment practice, Michael Roche, is based in Chicago. The group's client portfolio includes longstanding clients such as Caterpillar and LVMH. Washington DC's William Miossi, who is 'practical, extremely knowledgeable and very responsive', has more than 30 years of experience. Joseph Torres, also in Chicago, is well versed in collective bargaining negotiations and labor disputes. Derek Barella left for Schiff Hardin LLP in September 2018.

Workplace and employment counseling

Index of tables

  1. Workplace and employment counseling
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is well versed in advising clients from various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, retail, technology, energy and transportation, on employment law challenges. The Washington DC office was reinforced by the arrival of former commissioner of the EEOC Chai Feldblum and her then chief of staff Sharon Perley Masling in February 2019. The team is particularly involved in the emerging #MeToo in the workplace area, and practice head Grace Speights, also based in DC, acted as a special investigation counsel to National Public Radio (NPR)'s board of directors’ special committee on sexual harassment. She also led an internal investigation for the Humane Society of the United States regarding sexual harassment complaints against a former CEO. Princeton's Michelle Sedin Silverman represented a government contractor in a matter alleging systemic discrimination against transgender employees. Deputy practice leader David McManus splits his time between Boston and New York and has notable crisis management experience. Michael Banks in Philadelphia, David Bowman and Douglas Schwarz in Boston, Jacqueline Aguilera in Los Angeles and Barbara Miller in Orange County are other key individuals. Further names to note include the Chicago-based Ross Friedman and Stephanie Sweitzer as well as Palo Alto's Michael Schlemmer. Susan Harthill joined the Washington DC office in October 2018 from the US Department of Labor (DOL). Around the same time, there have been several partner promotions, including Jocelyn Cuttino, also in Washington DC.

Paul Hastings LLP has expertise in advising on the full gamut of employment matters, including but not limited to terminations, internal harassment investigations and mandatory arbitration agreements. Practice head Patrick Shea is based in New York and focuses on employee benefits, employment discrimination, and wrongful discharge. He and Kenneth Gage led settlement negotiations in a global mediation for a telecoms company, which followed the acquisition of a satellite service provider. Other clients include Google, IBM and General Electric. In Washington DC, Barbara Brown  handles employment compliance diagnostics and strategic advice on diversity programs, while Kenneth Willner is a key contact for high-level testing and employee selection procedures and related questions; Carson Sullivan is also noted. New York-based Marc Bernstein has more than 25 years of experience. Senior counsel Kirby Wilcox in San Francisco, Bradford Newman in Palo Alto and Nancy Abell in Los Angeles are key contacts in California.

Proskauer Rose LLP¬†fields a team of 'premier advisers in the profession', possessing 'significant expertise in US employment law'. The team handles investigations, compliance and advisory matters for corporations, universities and, famously, several professional sports leagues. The practice is jointly led by Neil Abramson¬†and Elise Bloom.¬†Work highlights included representing CBS in an investigation looking into sexual harassment allegations against a former talk show host; the lead partner on this investigation was Bettina Plevan,¬†who is widely recognized for her expertise in counseling clients in employment matters. Together with Howard Robbins, Plevan also advised the Metropolitan Opera on an investigation of a former conductor. Erika Collins¬†specializes in advising on international and cross-border workplace issues and is praised for her ‚Äėastonishing breadth of knowledge, which is coupled with a practical, strategic approach‚Äô. Chicago‚Äôs Nigel Telman¬†is regularly engaged by McDonald‚Äôs to handle day-to-day counseling and internal investigations. Sports leagues clients include the NFL and NHL, and the firm also advises several media organizations. Kathleen McKenna¬†is a key contact for other law firms in sensitive matters. Washington DC-based Guy Brenner, Keisha-Ann Gray,¬†Evandro Gigante¬†are further noted individuals. Harris Mufson¬†made partner in November 2018. The practice‚Äôs former head Connie Bertram¬†left for Polsinelli PC¬†in September 2018, and Michelle Gyves¬†joined¬†Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP¬†in 2019. Named attorneys are based in New York, except when indicated otherwise.

Clients appreciate Seyfarth Shaw LLP¬†for being ‚Äėsmart, creative, practical and for genuinely caring about getting the best quality‚Äô. The team has experience in advising on organizational change and developing innovative technology tools as well as in workplace discrimination and harassment counseling. Chicago-based David Baffa¬†chairs the workplace compliance solutions practice group and is an expert on a variety of employment-related matters, such as workforce reductions and restructurings, pay equity and training. Senior counsel Lawrence Lorber¬†in Washington DC is regularly engaged by the US Chamber of Commerce in connection with employment issues, including regulatory representation on pending rule making. Ellen McLaughlin, who is based in Chicago, assisted an automotive manufacturer in increasing productivity while staying compliant with federal and state laws. The firm also has a dedicated group advising on pay equity, which is led by¬†Christine Hendrickson¬†(recently promoted to partner) and Annette Tyman¬†in Chicago. Lisa Damon¬†in Boston has ‚Äėdetailed knowledge of the law and is pragmatic and unfailingly responsive‚Äô. Further notable practitioners are the ‚Äėfantastic‚Äô Daniel Waldman¬†in New York, the ‚Äėexcellent strategist‚Äô Jon Meer¬†in Los Angeles and Frederick Smith¬†in Atlanta, who has a ‚Äėgreat amount of experience to lean on‚Äô. In New York,¬†William Perkins¬†is well versed in the different forms of discrimination and harassment claims, while associate Joshua Seidman¬†specializes in paid sick leave matters. Chelsea Mesa¬†in Los Angeles has a ‚Äėmeticulous no-nonsense approach‚Äô.¬†Scott Nelson¬†was a new arrival in May 2018 in the Houston office, joining from¬†Baker McKenzie LLP.

The labor and employment team at Jones Day is experienced in advising clients on the full gamut of related matters, including compensation systems, terminations, investigations and compliance. The client portfolio comprises names such as McDonald’s, Verizon and Kraft-Heinz. Joint practice heads Michael Gray, who knows employment policies and disciplinary actions well, and discrimination-specialist Matthew Lampe are based in Chicago and New York respectively. In Dallas, Lindsay Hedrick was engaged on several occasions to conduct investigations regarding allegations of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment, while Stanley Weiner and Brian Jorgensen were active in advising a company on wage-and-hour issues and implementing preventative measures. Deborah Sudbury in Atlanta is well versed in all kinds of investigations, such as inappropriate behavior, code of conduct violations and pay equity. Chicago’s Michael Rossman specializes in discrimination and labor questions. Jonathan Linas, Elizabeth McRee, Michael Ferrell and David Birnbaum are further key contacts in that office. Brian Easley, who divides his time between the Minneapolis and Chicago offices, Joanne Bush in Houston, Columbus-based Tonya Blosser Braun, Terri Chase in New York, and of counsel Elaine Walsh in Atlanta are also names to note. Washington DC-based Thomas Chiavetta made partner in January 2018.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP's team of experienced lawyers counsels employers in a variety of matters, such as internal investigations and compliance audits, workforce reductions, diversity initiatives and compensation arrangements. Recent work includes being engaged by several clients to conduct internal investigations involving claims of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment. Mastercard, Signet Jewelers and Belmond are on the group’s client roster. Practice head Jeffrey Klein is well versed in discrimination claims; he has additional expertise as a sports attorney and player agent and is regularly retained by athletes and sports organizations. Another key contact from the New York-based practice is Gary Friedman, who is experienced in advising companies as well as their boards of directors and committees in internal investigations, as well as assisting employers regarding matters pertaining to organizational changes such as reductions in force, reorganizations, restructurings and changes of control. Senior associate Ami Zweig is also noted.

Baker McKenzie LLP's team is regularly involved in workforce management issues on a global scale and works closely with the international network. Practice head Susan Eandi in Palo Alto is particularly experienced in advising on employment matters arising from transactions; she recently assisted Motorola Solutions with due diligence, arrangement agreement and executive employment agreements in connection with its acquisition of Avigilon Corporation. Together with Todd Boyer from the same office, she advised a series of Fortune 500 companies on issues related to equal pay, gender pay, diversity and inclusion as well as OFCCP compliance. Other clients include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lumentum and Hollister. San Francisco’s Benjamin Ho is well versed in advising clients when entering into new jurisdictions as well as managing their existing workforce. Emily Harbison in Houston and Los Angeles-based Robin Samuel are also recommended. Of counsel Billie Wenter joined the San Francisco office in July 2018 from Littler Mendelson, P.C..

At Davis & Gilbert LLP, the lawyers' 'breadth of knowledge across all areas of employment law makes them an indispensable resource‚Äô. The team, which is jointly led by Gregg Gilman¬†and Howard Rubin, has a strong track record in the service industries and regularly advises on matters relating to harassment investigations, discrimination, retaliation, and employee classification. The ‚Äėextremely knowledgeable, proactive and thorough‚Äô Jessica Golden Cortes¬†was engaged by the City of New York to conduct workplace anti-harassment training for members of the city council. The client portfolio further includes Turner Construction, Fortress Investment and BNP Paribas. Shira Franco¬†is a ‚Äėgold-star employment counsel‚Äô, while Gregg Brochin¬†is praised for ‚Äėhis advice but also his humanity in trying to find win-win outcomes‚Äô. Other names to note are the ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô counsel David Fisher¬†and the ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Daniel Feinstein. Jason Pruzansky¬†is another key contact of the¬†New York-based¬†team.

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The team at Dentons¬†comprises ‚Äėreal strategic partners, who are looking at the totality of the business and workforce‚Äô. It covers the full spectrum of employment-related matters and regularly assists clients on a global level. The ‚Äėproactive, responsive and smart‚Äô Cynthia Jackson¬†in Silicon Valley was engaged to conduct pay equity audits and subsequent pay adjustment advice for multiple publicly traded clients from the tech sector. She further advised Wave, following its acquisition of MIPS technologies, on US and international employment and data privacy post-acquisition integration issues. Brian Cousin¬†in New York leads the team and has noteworthy experience in benefits matters. Sandra McCandless¬†splits her time between San Francisco and Oakland. Other names to note are Nick Pujji¬†in Los Angeles, Richard Scharlat¬†in New York and¬†Daniel Beale¬†in Atlanta. Louise Ing¬†and Corianne Lau¬†in Honolulu became part of the team in September 2018, following the firm‚Äôs combination with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.

The employment group at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.¬†is praised for its ‚Äėprofessionalism, responsiveness and creativity‚Äô. Clients from a variety of sectors - in particular financial services, hospitality, retail, technology and healthcare - engage the team in employment discrimination, wrongful termination and sexual harassment matters, as well as leaves of absence and workplace accommodations, discipline and termination, and wage and hour compliance. Washington DC‚Äôs ‚Äėfantastic attorney‚Äô Nathaniel Glasser¬†regularly counsels on employment law compliance, including drafting and managing employment contracts for senior executives. New York-based Marc Mandelman¬†is the go-to employment counsels for various clients when it comes to implementing new policies and William Milani¬†‚Äėoffers quality guidance‚Äô. Practice head David Garland, vice-chair Susan Gross Sholinsky, Ian Carleton Schaefer¬†and Jennifer Gefsky¬†are other key contacts from this office. In Newark, names to note are James Flynn, Denise Merna Dadika, Jeremy Brown¬†and Carmine Iannaccone, while highlighted practitioners in Stamford, Connecticut include¬†Deborah DeHart Cannavino¬†and Peter Stein.¬†Adam Forman¬†in Detroit is considered to be ‚Äėresponsive and intelligent‚Äô and Paul DeCamp¬†in Washington DC is a ‚Äėpragmatic, executing kind of partner‚Äô. Los Angeles‚Äô¬†Jonathan Brenner¬†and Chicago-based¬†Brian Spang¬†are also recommended.

Greenberg Traurig LLP advises clients on how to be compliant with federal, state and local employment laws in a variety of areas, and is particular noted for its 'rock-solid knowledge of OSHA rules and practices'. Washington DC-based Johnine Barnes assisted Profit Investment Management with corporate restructuring, compliance issues and diversification. Jerrold Goldberg in New York counsels Hello & Hola Media and Sunday Sky on a broad range of employment-related matters. Philadelphia's Kelly Dobbs Bunting handled manager, discrimination and harassment training for GTL. Michael Taylor in McLean is 'exceptionally talented at crafting solutions to OSHA-related problems'. Kelly Dobbs Bunting in Philadelphia and Tiffany Fordyce in Chicago jointly lead the labor and employment practice’s workforce compliance and regulatory enforcement group. New Jersey-based Kristine Feher is also noted. Michael Mason re-joined the firm in Phoenix in April 2018 from Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and of counsel Alicia Voltmer was a new arrival to the Dallas office, coming from Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC in September 2018.

Clients praise Jackson Lewis P.C. for being 'responsive, knowledgeable, practical, hardworking and smart'. The team covers the full range of counseling matters, including in relation to disability and leave management, handbooks and personnel policies, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention. It further offers 'great seminars to assist clients with compliance issues'. New York-based Philip Rosen advises Legends Hospitality on a variety of workplace matters. Brooks Amiot in Baltimore is regularly engaged by Bechtel Corporation to counsel on matters such as reductions in force, the WARN Act and drug testing. Boston's Samia Kirmani is a 'great outside counsel'. Former managing partner Richard Cino and Joseph Lazzarotti in Morristown, Richard Greenberg and Francis Alvarez in New York, as well as Margaret Strange and Beverly Garofalo in Hartford are also noted. The 'particularly recommended' Debra Weiss Ford in Portsmouth has more than 35 years of experience. Jeffrey Brody, Edward Cherof and Francis Alvarez are key contacts in Boston, Atlanta and White Plains, New York, respectively. Kevin Lauri in New York and William Anthony in Albany chair the firm.

Littler Mendelson, P.C. has dedicated teams advising on, among other areas, corporate compliance and ethics, discrimination and harassment, and workplace privacy and data security. The firm is also known for its innovative approach, as it regularly develops products and services relating to emerging issues and stays abreast of technological advancements impacting the workplace. Clients include Siemens, Uber and Marriott. Washington DC-based Maury Baskin is well versed in employment discrimination and wage-and-hour law. Michael Congiu in Minneapolis and Stefan Marculewicz in Washington DC chair the business and human rights group. Other names to note include Arthur Carter in Dallas, George O’Brien in New Haven, Gary Lieberman in Boston and the San Francisco-based Michael Lotito. Minneapolis' David Goldstein and Meredith Shoop in Cleveland are experts in the OFCCP compliance sphere. Co-managers Thomas Bender and Jeremy Roth are based in Philadelphia and San Diego respectively. The firm had several new arrivals, while James Frederick took a corporate counsel position at Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.

Mayer Brown 'pairs legal expertise with compassion in providing advice in highly emotional environments'. The team, which is led by John Zaimes in Los Angeles and Marcia Goodman in Chicago, counsels on OSHA matters, discrimination, harassment and retaliation, among others areas. Goodman regularly advises TH Foods on workforce structure as well as discipline and termination decisions. Chicago-based counsel Maritoni Kane is an 'incredible lawyer'; she provides tourism and marketing agency Choose Chicago with day-to-day labor and employment advice. Andrew Rosenman and counsel Kim Leffert in Chicago as well as Ruth Zadikany and counsel Roxanne Wilson in Los Angeles are also noted.

Ogletree Deakins has a broad practice which handles audits, investigations, training and counseling. The recently launched diversity and inclusion practice advises employers on implementing D&I programs; other areas of expertise include disability access, OSHA matters, drug testing, data privacy, pay equity and governmental affairs. Los Angeles-based Joseph Beachbord regularly assists employers with avoiding work-related legal exposure. Melissa Bailey in Washington DC has experience in workplace safety matters. Dallas' Ron Chapman, Timothy Garnett in St Louis, Margaret Campbell in Atlanta and David Powell in Denver are also noted. Gregory Cheng in San Francisco advises on California employment law. Leigh Nason, Stephen Woods and Nonnie Shivers are further key contacts in Columbia, Greenville and Phoenix respectively. Managing partner Matthew Keen is based in Raleigh. The firm had several new arrivals, including Marcus Brown in Dallas in May 2018 from Winstead PC.

Reed Smith LLP is engaged by clients that are typically active on a national level, and predominantly that are from the pharmaceutical, healthcare, financial services, and food and beverage industries. The team, which is led by the Houston- and Chicago-based Mark Temple, handles workplace harassment prevention, gender pay equity studies and health and safety issues, among other things. Pittsburgh's James Glunt is experienced in workforce changes, wage-and-hour compliance and hire/fire issues, and David McAllister is a compliance specialist. Betty Graumlich is well versed in wrongful discharge claims, defamation and other employment torts. John McDonald in Princeton and Peter Stuhldreher in Houston are other names to note. Jill Vorobiev joined in Chicago from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in February 2018. New arrival Thomas Posey, who joined from Faegre Baker Daniels in October 2018, is based in Chicago and Los Angeles. Several partners left for Holland & Knight LLP in September 2018, including Sara Begley and Thomas Hill.

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