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


Index of tables

  1. Workplace and employment counseling
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Joseph Costello’s ‘superb’ practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP excels at corporate compliance, California’s paid sick leave legislation, workplace investigations, and numerous other matters. Advising AMC on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s hazard communication requirements was a highlight for Jonathan Snare and Michelle Seldin Silverman. The client roster also includes Facebook, Morgan Stanley and The Hershey Company. David Bowman leads the resources workplace training practice and stands outs alongside David McManus, a ‘wonderful adviser and brilliant negotiator’ and corporate diversity expert Grace Speights. Carol Freeman and Ross Friedman are also leading figures. In recent team changes, Jacqueline Aguilera, Debra Fischer, and Douglas Schwarz joined as part of the firm’s acquisition of Bingham McCutchen, Harry Johnson arrived from the National Labor Relations Board, Ann Marie Arcadi came from K&L Gates and Michael Schlemmer made partner. Named individuals work in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Silicon Valley, Princeton, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Dallas and Chicago. Rebecca Eisen and Rene Johnson retired, and William Doyle joined McGuireWoods LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP’s strengths include handling employment issues arising out of corporate transactions, compliance and advising on access requirements under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, Washington-based Kenneth Willner is skilled in designing and validating pre-employment tests. Kenneth Gage, who splits his time between New York and Chicago, recently handled several domestic force reductions and successfully avoided discrimination lawsuits and Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act issues for US and multinational clients across a range of sectors. Recent work also includes labor negotiations, The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) evaluations, trade secrets and diversity initiatives. The diverse client base includes American Airlines, Bank of America and Target. In Los Angeles, Nancy Abell, Al Latham, and Heather Morgan are highly regarded. Kirby Wilcox and Jon Geier are other names to note in San Francisco and Chicago respectively. Geoff Weirich recently launched Weirich Consulting & Mediation.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s new departmental structure enables clients, including The New York Times, McGraw Hill Financial and the NBA, to access specific advice through separate practices, such as the California employment law, immigration and strategic corporate planning groups. These teams regularly advise on new regulations put in place by state or local authorities as well as on federal changes introduced by the OFCCP, Department of Labor (DOL) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Advising a mass media conglomerate on employee transfers connected to selling a business was a recent work highlight as it required cross-border consultations. Katharine Parker and Allan Weitzman are key contacts in the group, which provides ‘tremendous value for money’ and lawyers in multiple US offices. Co-head of the international law and employment law practice Erika Collinsis an exceptional lawyer’. Other key names include Bettina Plevan, Nigel Telman, Kathleen McKenna, Keisha-Ann Gray and Connie Bertram. OFCCP expert Guy Brenner recently made partner.

At Seyfarth Shaw LLP, David Baffa’s team ‘does not disappoint’, with the ‘outstanding’ Ellen McLaughlin, Pamela Devata, who is ‘devoted to ensuring her client’s needs are always met’, and Condon McGlothlen being leading practitioners in Chicago. ‘Excellent resources such as SeyfarthLink’ optimize the group’s services and form part of the business model of SeyfarthLean, which concentrates on business objectives set by clients and innovative technology solutions. Several clients, including a large grocery retailer and a financial services company, utilized this approach for monitoring accommodation requests under the ADA and Family and Medical Leave Act. Matters concerning employee classification, data breaches, auditing the policies of companies and hiring test assessments formed part of the varied workload. In New York, Robert Nobile and William Perkins are revered, as are senior counsels Lawrence Lorber and Debbie Caplan, who has a ‘tremendous amount of expertise’, in Washington DC and Los Angeles respectively. Partner promotions saw Chelsea Mesa, Johanna Wise and Giselle Donado made up in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago respectively. Boston-based Cindy Westervelt’s arrival from independent practice and Paul Kehoe’s departure to Booz Allen Hamilton were some changes at senior counsel level.

Under Susan Eandi and Scott Nelson, Baker McKenzie LLP’s ‘talented group of attorneys’ excels in US and cross-border issues involving M&A and post-acquisition integrations and restructurings. The practice is ‘among the best for global work’ and is retained by multinationals such as FedEx, Mozilla Corporation and Cameron International. Eandi assisted Hewlett-Packard with the employment aspects of separating its PC and printer business from its software and corporate hardware offering. Douglas Darch ‘works well with clients’, Cynthia Jackson is rated by some as ‘the best’, the ‘phenomenal’ Robert Lewis ‘gets to the heart of the issue’, and Richard Hammett and Nelson provide ‘skilled advice’. Carole Spink, Robert Mignin, Jennifer Field, James Baker and Joseph Deng are also highly regarded. Celina Joachim returned to the firm from Direct Energy, of counsel Kevin Whittaker joined from Reed Smith LLP and Arthur Rooney arrived from Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Benjamin Ho, Jordan Faykus and Ryan Vann were made up to partner. Named practitioners work out of Houston, Chicago, Palo Alto, San Francisco and New York.

Jones Day’s expertise includes non-discriminatory reductions in force and plant closures connected to divestitures, termination risks, conducting investigations into sexual harassment, compliance, misconduct, and developing policies and procedures to reduce litigation risks. Cleveland’s Stanley Weiner and Washington DC’s employee benefits and executive compensation expert Kevin Noble advised a US client on transfer rights and other matters relating to pension and retiree medical programs involved in spinning-off a division unit from the larger business. Lawrence DiNardo and Michael Gray in Chicago, San Diego’s Rick Bergstrom, Silicon Valley-based Fred Alvarez and Atlanta’s Deborah Sudbury are the primary contacts. In New York, Terri Chase and Doreen Davis were joined by Martin Schmelkin from Goldman Sachs and Kari Levine retired in San Francisco.

As a ‘go-to law firm for executive employment issues’, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP specializes in matters arising out of M&A, corporate restructuring and bankruptcies, as well as large-scale force reductions, ERISA issues, restrictive covenants and C-Suite terminations. The ‘outstanding’ Jeffrey Klein is a ‘pragmatic litigator, who seeks solutions’, and Gary Friedman is also well respected. Counsel Lawrence Baer is an authority on issues faced by debtor employers; he recently assisted The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in New York, which involved substantial restructuring in order to sell store locations and satisfy over $1.2bn in secured debt. In other recent work, Klein advised on the terminations of four senior employees for Perella Weinberg Partners after the company learned that they planned to start a competing business; the matter is now in the Supreme Court and concerns the forfeited equity and deferred compensation that took place as a result of the terminations. Millie Warner was promoted to counsel in New York, where all recommended attorneys are based. Mark Jacoby retired from the partnership.

Davis & Gilbert LLP’s ‘knowledge of US employment law in all jurisdictions, not just New York, is excellent’. Gregg Gilman and Howard Rubin head the New York-based team, where expertise includes compensation and incentive agreements, protecting public image, securing employees through retention strategies, and handling issues presented by social media and new technologies. It has ‘unmatched advertising industry knowledge’ and assisted INVNT’s senior management with negotiating terms for employment agreements involved in the agency’s sale to Time Inc. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Time Warner Cable and PR Newswire. Gilman, Daniel Feinstein and Gregg Brochin are ‘experienced and practical problem solvers’. Jessica Golden Cortes and employee benefits and executive compensation specialist Alan Hahn are also noted. The ‘amazing’ Shira Franco made partner and ‘excellent negotiator’ David Fisher was promoted to counsel.

The lawyers at Epstein Becker & Green, a lot of the “heavy lifting” required’. The diverse client base ranges from the New York Yankees to Fox News and JPMorgan. Jeffrey Landes is representing Dolce & Gabbana in an ongoing putative class action relating to the payment of interns. In addition, George Carroll Whipple, who recently joined from Credit Suisse, and William Milani, who provides ‘exceptional client service’, advise Credit Suisse Securities (USA) on preventing personnel disputes. Ian Carleton Schaefer, Newark-based Maxine Neuhauser and Jeremy Brown are highly regarded. New hires include Marc Mandelman, Joshua Stein and Washington DC’s Nathaniel Glasser from Proskauer Rose LLP. Unless otherwise stated, all named attorneys are based in New York.

The ‘extremely responsive and client-focusedGreenberg Traurig, LLP provides day-to-day advice to employers on compliance, training, ADA issues, workplace safety and environmental laws, and on drafting employment agreements. Washington DC’s Johnine Barnes represented Bayhealth Medical Center in a disability discrimination and wrongful termination suit and continues to advise the client on a number of matters. Wolverine World Wide, AARP and The Hillsborough County Civil Service Board are other clients. Kelly Dobbs Bunting in Philadelphia ‘provides valuable advice’ and comes highly recommended along with New Jersey’s Wendy Johnson Lario and Kristine Feher. ‘Go-to’ Atlanta attorney John Richards was promoted to shareholder and new hires include Shira Yoshor and Patrick Martin, who joined in Houston and Miami from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Littler Mendelson, P.C. respectively.

Boutique Jackson Lewis P.C. divides its counseling capabilities into separate practices, including Weldon Latham’s corporate diversity counseling and Francis Alvarez’s disability, leave and health management groups. Other areas of focus are corporate governance and internal investigations, workplace training and privacy, and e-communication and data security. The firm was recently retained by a retail store chain to revamp its leave and accommodation procedures and in another matter, the group represented a wholesale company in a DOL audit. Pfizer, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Anheuser-Busch are key clients. Philip Rosen, Richard Greenberg, Elayna Youchah, Joseph Lazzarotti, Margaret Strange and Portsmouth managing principal Debra Weiss Ford are also key members of the team, which is spread across multiple offices.

In 2015, boutique Littler Mendelson, P.C. established web-based platforms ComplianceHR and Littler X-celerator, which enable in-house lawyers, HR professionals and emerging companies to make fast decisions on matters such as hiring independent contractors, while ensuring compliance with state and federal laws is met. Seattle-based Katherine Franklin’s expertise includes harassment prevention training and investigations, while Washington DC’s Stefan Marculewicz focuses on advising multinational corporations on addressing and responding to international labor standards. George Chaffey in Walnut Creek and David Goldstein in Minneapolis jointly lead the OFCCP practice group and are recommended alongside New Haven’s George O’Brien, who represented the University of Connecticut in collective bargaining for a first contract with the United Automobile Workers. Recent personnel changes saw Los Angeles-based Naomi Seddon promoted to shareholder, and Atlanta’s Leslie Dent and Beth Moeller arrive from Paul Hastings LLP and Ogletree Deakins respectively. Suellen Oswald and Frank Melton departed to Jackson Lewis P.C., and David Goldman joined Congregation Emanu-El.

In 2015, Ogletree Deakins launched The Innovations Center, a service for in-house and HR professionals combining knowledge management tools and compliance solutions in a series of products, including O-D Comply and IntelliCase. Timothy Garnett, managing director Joseph Beachboard, Margaret Campbell, Ron Chapman and David Powell are the main contacts. Leigh Nason chairs the affirmative action and OFCCP compliance group and is also revered. Robert Jones and of counsel Carolyn Hall successfully defended Vitran Express against a class of California truck drivers, which claimed that its policies on rest and meal breaks were defective after alleging that breaks were discouraged or thwarted by Vitran. Team changes include Robert Shea’s hire from Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC, Diana Nehro’s promotion to shareholder and Jathan Janove leaving to establish Janove Organization Solutions. Shareholders are spread across San Francisco, Torrance, Los Angeles, Boston, Stamford, Columbia, St Louis, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Denver and Indianapolis.

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