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1133 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY 10036, USA
Tel:
Work +1 212 336 2000
Fax:
Fax +1 212 336 2222
Email:
Web:
www.pbwt.com

Lisa Cleary

Tel:
Work 212-336-2159
Email:
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

Work Department

Employment Law

Position

Lisa Cleary, Patterson Belknap’s Co-Chair and Managing Partner, works closely with a broad range of corporations and tax-exempt organization clients on employment issues related to their highest level executives and other key employees. A thoughtful strategist, she brings valuable insights to clients beyond the law and the facts, anticipating the responses an employer might expect when taking employment action, and how to limit that action’s disruptive impact on the organization. Her clients benefit from her big-picture understanding and insightful perspectives, which allows clients to implement the most effective strategies for their organizations. For over 20 years, Ms. Cleary has regularly advised boards of directors on issues including the negotiation of executive compensation, performance evaluation, transition and employment termination of CEOs. She provides this sensitive advice for public companies, private entities and tax-exempt organizations and foundations, all of which operate under the same rules in these circumstances. Her work with a significant number of tax-exempt organizations has given her a deep understanding of the interplay between their specific legal requirements and the employment issues they face, such as tax rules on compensation and addressing whistleblower complaints. Ms. Cleary often assists companies in navigating difficult situations where CEO termination occurs in the midst of critical litigation or other corporate crises. She also advises in-house counsel, human resources personnel, and line managers on minimizing the legal risks of individual employee terminations beyond executives, as well as counseling clients to ensure compliance with applicable laws. Her practice includes assisting clients in employment-related litigation matters before administrative agencies, state and federal courts. She frequently advises and defends clients facing EEOC, Department of Labor, and New York City Human Rights Commission charges, audits and inquiries. She counsels clients with respect to employment contracts and regularly defends clients in wrongful discharge cases. In addition, Ms. Cleary provides training on a broad range of employment matters, drafts and vets personnel policies and handbooks, and also provides advice on employer recordkeeping requirements. When her clients are faced with employee theft, whistleblower claims and complaints of discrimination and harassment, Ms. Cleary advises them on best approaches and frequently conducts highly sensitive internal investigations regarding such matters. She has also worked with local, state and federal prosecutors on behalf of clients in a wide range of situations. In addition, Ms. Cleary defends and prosecutes cases involving employment-related restrictive covenants, drafts and negotiates employment contracts and represents employers in connection with claims arising under ERISA. She also conducts diversity training seminars and provides counsel on employee classifications and overtime issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Where consistent with client goals, Ms. Cleary incorporates alternative dispute resolution procedures to achieve optimum results for clients.

Career

Admitted in: U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Court; Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York; District of Colorado; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; Eleventh Circuit; New York

Member

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America; American Bar Foundation; Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education Program (May 2006); MFY Legal Services, Inc. (Chairperson, Board of Directors, 1994–2000; Member of Board, 1992–Present); Volunteers of Legal Service, Inc. (Member, Board of Directors, 1996–Present); Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Member, Board of Directors, 2006-Present); Member, Practising Law Institute (Pro Bono Advisory Committee, 1997–Present), American Bar Association (Litigation and ADR Sections); New York State Bar Association (President’s Committee on Access to Justice, 1996-2004), New York County Lawyers' Association (Chair, Pro Bono Committee); Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Member, 2010-2013, Secretary, Judiciary Committee 2012-2013); Student/Sponsor Program

Education

J.D., 1983, Duke University School of Law (Chancellor's Scholarship Recipient); B.A., 1980, Harvard University and Radcliffe College (magna cum laude)


United States: Finance

Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)

Within: Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)

‘Excellent’ firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP houses one of the largest nonprofit practices in the US from its office in New York. The group has the ‘highest degrees of expertise and knowledge of the industry’. Chair of the TEOs practice Robin Krause has notable expertise in grant-related issues and program-related investment matters. The ‘business-minded’ John Sare is able to ‘break the most complex problems down and provide workable advice’, and he has considerable experience in matters involving charitable giving and endowments, particularly within the arts sector; his recent workload includes advising artist-endowed/focused private foundations on art loans and art sales, as well as compliance matters. Laura Butzel is ‘excellent in the private foundation space’, advising entities on obtaining private foundation status and on program- and mission-related investments, alongside a range of other corporate and tax issues, and she continues to advise charities on internal, federal and state investigations. Butzel also has experience in the education sector, handling a workload involving advising university boards on tax-exemption, governance, data privacy and student conduct issues. The ‘business-minded and eloquent’ Tomer Inbar continues to advise public charities and private foundations on environmental conservation projects in the US, Argentina and Chile, and has been handling joint ventures and mergers for nonprofit entities. Other names to note in the practice are Lisa Cleary, who handles litigation as well as providing ‘pragmatic and credible employment law advice’, Megan Bell, who was made up to partner in December 2017, and counsel Janine Shissler.

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