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Editorial

Overview

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In the labor and employment arena, boutique and full service firms were active in advising on compliance following legislation gridlock in Congress and the Obama administration’s championing of enforcement actions and creation of laws outside of Congress through executive orders and agency rules.

The Department of Labor (DOL) introduced several controversial laws that were temporarily enjoined or permanently blocked. Among these were the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, better known as the ‘Blacklisting’ order; new regulations for overtime pay that would have increased minimum wage for exempt employees; and the ‘persuader rule’, which would have required employers and consultants to report their activity concerning labor relations advice and services with the purpose of dissuading employees from participating in union organization and collective bargaining.

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has stated that he intends to repeal many of Obama’s executive orders. However, it was confirmed in January 2017 that Trump will continue enforcing the order barring discrimination against LGBT employers that work for federal contractors.

At the state and local level, an influx of new laws filled in the gaps left by federal legislation. Recent changes included Washington State’s enactment of a minimum wage rule from the beginning of 2017 and Missouri bringing in a right-to-work law, which will come into effect later in 2017. California remains one of the most liberal and employee-friendly states, having increased its minimum wage and revised overtime exemption for teachers in 2017.

Attorneys noticed an uptick in whistleblower, restrictive covenant and trade secret legislation, as well as pay equity counseling. Wage and hour class and collective actions remain popular, especially in cases challenging employee misclassification and related overtime claims.

In previous editions, employee benefits and executive compensation work was covered in a single editorial table. However, market feedback indicated that this lumped together firms engaged in vastly contrasting work. In an effort to make the rankings more accurate, this chapter has been divided into two sections: Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions) and Employee health and retirement plans. The former will pertain to pension and health plan work stemming from corporate transactions and senior executive contracts, while the latter covers day-to-day and ongoing advice on the regulatory and legislative landscape in the areas of healthcare, fiduciary relations and pension plans.

In the transactions space, it was an active year for capital markets and M&A, especially in the private equity area. Firms noticed a slight sense of uncertainty in public M&A in the wake of the presidential elections, and reported that some clients adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude while hoping for a degree of deregulation at the hands of the future administration. The coal and energy sectors continued to experience a slump, thereby forcing some of its biggest players into bankruptcy, restructuring and/or takeovers. Firms representing senior management teams or individuals found a significant amount of work in these proceedings. Some also expect a new political climate to tame an active and inquisitive DOL, which has generated considerable compliance as well as litigation work for firms, whose clients looked to prepare for potential audits or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigations. Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo! involved eight firms, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and stands out as one of the most significant transactions of the year, alongside AT&T’s merger with Time Warner and Monsanto’s acquisition by Bayer. All three generated considerable employee benefits and executive compensation issues.

The employee benefits sphere continued to provide steady work for firms, including advice relating to retirement and health plan design as well as administration and management. On the healthcare side, serious doubts were raised over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in light of Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race. This generated a significant amount of work for ACA experts, who were sought out by health plan sponsors and providers to advise on future options. Recent legislative changes regarding same-sex marriage also affected providers, especially in the context of ‘church plans’, which had to amend their plans to comply with the new regulatory environment and avoid litigation. In other important developments, the financial services and insurance sectors were marked by the DOL’s landmark redefinition of the term ‘fiduciary’, which pushed clients to review their products and seek compliance advice from firms. On the ERISA front, the US market witnessed a surprisingly high level of DOL and IRS activity in terms of audits and investigations. As far as non-litigious matters go, firms were involved in compliance and pre-emptive counsel for clients expecting or seeking to avoid such exposure.

Some firms are expecting a wave of ERISA litigation in connection with the expected changes to - or possible repeal of - the ACA promised by the incoming Trump administration and are already involved in advisory and compliance work with clients. Firms noticed a high level of activity in class action suits related to 401(k) plans. These tend to either be stock-drop cases alleging overly cautious or excessively risky investment line-up management or excessive fee actions. There also emerged a dozen high-profile suits directed at elite universities’ 403(b) plans, keeping firms such as Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Jenner & Block LLP considerably busy.

Firms such as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP are heavily involved in the new regulatory environment created by the DOL’s landmark redefinition of the term ‘fiduciary’, which has generated a significant amount of litigation work for defendant firms. Church plans also came under scrutiny following the legislative decision on same-sex marriage. Plan participants have brought suits against these plans claiming that this change in legislation affects the benefits owed to them and their spouses.

Prior to the Trump administration, immigration was already a hot topic. Immigration deportations hit record levels under President Obama and there were also movements to restrict the H-1B visa scheme to clamp down on US outsourcing companies using the program to bring in cheap labor. Immigration policy looks set for further restrictions under Trump, who made immigration reform one of the cornerstones of his election campaign. Against this political backdrop, immigration practices are reporting that compliance work has never been busier, as companies look to analyze their potential exposure to stricter immigration regulations. Due diligence work is also rising, as acquisitive companies look to ensure that all key non-US personnel are legally secure and locked into the target company before committing to deals, particularly in the technology sector. In fact, immigration generally has climbed up the boardroom agenda, as multinational corporations look to safeguard - and to continue attracting - the best global names in their industry against a backdrop of ever-tightening foreign labor restrictions. To keep up with demand, firms are looking at hiring new staff and broadening their practices to make sure they have robust capability across the full spread of visa procurement, compliance, corporate support and, increasingly, enforcement matters.

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The law firm market is an interesting mix of major international immigration law specialists such as Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy; smaller boutiques such as Foster LLP and Chin & Curtis LLP; firms specializing in labor and employment law such as Ogletree Deakins and Jackson Lewis P.C.; and full-service firms with a long track record in labor and employment work such as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP.


ERISA litigation

Index of tables

  1. ERISA litigation
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which ERISA litigation clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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The ERISA litigation practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLPmakes the experience of a class action lawsuit relatively painless’ and is led by Jeremy Blumenfeld and Brian Ortelere in Philadelphia and Deborah Davidson in Chicago. The team took over a stock-drop case brought against Pilgrim’s Pride claiming breach of fiduciary duties, and Ortelere dismissed a purported class action suit against AlliedBarton claiming wrongful discharge from employment to prevent plaintiffs receiving benefits. Blumenfeld represented Cigna and its subsidiary LINA in several suits relating to the alleged denial of long-term disability benefits. Other notable highlights included two putative ‘church plan’ cases on behalf of OSF, and New York’s Melissa Hill successfully dismissing a retiree medical case in connection with Weyerhaeuser’s termination of the plaintiffs’ medical benefits. Clients also recommend Christopher Boran, Chicago.

Proskauer Rose LLP provides ‘exemplary’ advice ‘of the highest quality’ and is ‘a joy to work with in the fires of ERISA litigation’, including stock-drop, church plan and withdrawal liability cases. Clients praise ‘all-wise ERISA guru Howard Shapiro in New Orleans and rising star Russell Hirschhorn in New York defended Wells Fargo and Avon in class action stock-drop suits alleging failure to uphold fiduciary obligations. Shapiro, assisted by senior counsel Stacey Cerrone, is also defending over a dozen healthcare providers in a wave of church plan suits. The ‘practical, tactical legal geniusMyron Rumeld in New York acted for Intel, Neuberger and Renco in 2016; the last of these in connection with a PBGC withdrawal liability claim. Recent work also saw the team defend Foot Locker in a class action alleging violations of its disclosure obligations under ERISA in connection with the conversion of its pension plan to a cash balance plan.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP attracts high-profile, nationwide class action litigation from large corporate clients. Practice co-chair Paul Ondrasik won an appeal at the Fifth Circuit in connection with a putative class action seeking to recover losses on employer stock following the 2010 gulf oil spill, while Eric Serron defended Carfax in an ERISA action alleging the client wrongfully denied supplemental life insurance benefits to the spouse of a deceased participant. Ondrasik, Serron and practice co-head Gwen Renigar defended MagnaCare in a suit regarding the client’s provision of healthcare services, and defended Express Scripts against fiduciary, ACA, RICO and contract breach allegations. Los Angeles’ Ed Gregory advised on an administrative pension calculation challenge. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC except where indicated otherwise.

Covington & Burling LLP’s Washington DC-based team has a strong presence in the US appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, and handles high-profile class action suits at the forefront of ERISA regulation. Experienced litigator and ERISA expert Robert Long advises on issues related to ESOPs and stock-drop allegations. Senior counsel Jeffrey Huvelle specializes in employment discrimination law and counsels on fiduciary breach and prohibited transaction claims in the context of spin-offs and insolvency. Christian Pistilli has represented pension plans, their sponsors and fiduciaries in complex class actions in trial courts and on appeal.

Based in Washington DC, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ERISA litigation team advises clients such as Boeing, Kodak and Aetna. Michael Collins, Eugene Scalia and Jason Schwartz, who jointly lead the practice, defended Ford in two separate wrongful benefit denial and fiduciary breach ERISA actions. The firm was also retained by ABF Freight to advise on a suit in which multi-employer and welfare plans associated with Local 710 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters alleged ABF failed to make necessary contributions to the plan; this case was handled William Kilberg and of counsel Paul Blankenstein. Scalia also represents USC in a putative class action, one of numerous such suits brought against a number of universities across the country. Litigation expert Richard Doren is also a key contact.

Lars Golumbicknows ERISA and conveys his knowledge in a way that imbues confidence’ and leads the ‘outstanding’ litigation practice at Washington DC’s Groom Law Group. The team consists of ‘highly responsive’ lawyers advising on issues including fiduciary breach claims, excessive fee and stock-drop matters, and retiree health suits. Of counsel Sean Abouchedid has ‘a deeper understanding of the impact of legal developments’ and assisted Golumbic in the defense of CHI in a class action suit claiming its retirement plan did not qualify as a ‘church plan’ exempt from ERISA, among other issues. Other notable names include Sarah Adams, Edward Meehan and Mark Nielsen, all of whom advised ESOP and multi-employer plan trustees in fiduciary breach cases in 2016.

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Washington DC’s Miller & Chevalier Chartered focuses on high-stakes ERISA health benefits litigation brought by classes and governmental authorities. Recent highlights include defending a putative class action against Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiary Acme; practice head Anthony Shelley led a team that obtained a dismissal in federal district court. Adam Feinberg led the representation of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield against allegations of ACA violations, while Timothy O’Toole and Michael Khalil were key in a suit involving the novel question of whether in-network healthcare providers qualify as ERISA beneficiaries. Elsewhere, the Department of Labor (DOL) filed a suit against numerous entities including FCE - represented by Theresa Gee - related to administrative and claims processing services provided to Chimes DC’s welfare plan.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP specializes in high-profile cases and advises heavyweight clients such as JPMorgan Chase and ING. The practice was engaged by Citigroup and the fiduciaries of its pension plans to defend two stock-drop suits; Lewis Clayton and Brad Karp, who jointly lead the team, secured the dismissal of both actions. Robert Fleder and other team members defended Dave & Buster’s in a Section 510 putative class action related to the employer mandate under the ACA. Clayton and executive compensation and employee benefits expert Andrew Gaines advised Primerica on fiduciary regulation changes. All named partners are based in New York.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s ‘mastery of ERISA and multi-employer pension plans is extremely strong’, according to clients. Acclaimed by clients, Chicago-based Ronald Kramer is representing Republic Services in a complex withdrawal liability action, while Ada Dolph - known for her ‘persuasive advocacy’ - worked on a 401(k) excessive fee suit. In San Francisco, the team is handling a high-stakes action by plan trustees against a former third-party administrator alleging a breach of fiduciary duties, and defended PMA’s welfare plan and its trustees in a claim brought by the Omidi family and several ambulatory surgical centers on the grounds of unpaid benefits. Ian Morrison and Amanda Sonneborn lead the practice and are also key contacts.

The ERISA litigation department at Sidley Austin LLP is spread across the country and represents a diverse client roster. Mark Blocker and Joel Feldman defended The Hartford in a putative class action wherein plaintiffs alleged the defendant violated ERISA through cross-subsidization pricing, while practice head Anne Rea represents Merrill Lynch in a 401(k) excessive fees claim brought by a former litigation partner at Clifford Chance. The firm continues to deploy a multi-office team, including Chris Meyer and David Carpenter in Los Angeles, in a complex, 12-year, multifaceted suit involving two separate classes and numerous ERISA challenges filed against client Bank of America in connection with fund transfers from the defendant’s 401(k) plan to its pension plan. Named partners are based in Chicago except where otherwise stated.

The ‘expert, strategic, pragmatic and cost-effective’ team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is ‘simply the best litigation team’, according to one client. ‘Exceptional lawyerNicholas Pappas, who leads the practice with Jeffrey Klein, and Paul Wessel - who also serves as head of the firm’s executive compensation and employee benefits practice - obtained a precedent-setting victory before the Second Circuit for Marsh, and defended UHG (and related entities) and its self-funded ERISA health plans in a class action suit brought by ambulatory surgery centers. Other notable clients include Genworth and AIG. Named attorneys are based in New York.

James Baker heads Baker McKenzie LLP’s ERISA litigation department from San Francisco and led the defense of Quest Diagnostics in a class action suit brought by a terminated employee seeking voluntary separation agreement benefits; the team secured dismissal twice. In Chicago, Douglas Darch represented Whirlpool in an action filed by 2,100 retirees alleging the defendant’s changes to their level of health insurance benefits violated their vested rights to unchanged benefits. Other highlights included withdrawal liability cases and plan contribution disputes.

Goodwin’s two-partner ERISA litigation practice stands ‘among the best’ and handles district, federal and Supreme Court cases for financial services clients and plan providers. The firm represented clients in cases surrounding allegations of fiduciary breaches, prohibited transaction violations, and stock-drop and excessive fee practices. Spearheaded by the client-recommended James Fleckner, the group is defending American Century and its affiliates in a class action suit filed in Missouri regarding the use of proprietary funds for its 401(k) plan. Alison Douglass, whom clients also recommend, and Jack Cleary are other key contacts. All named individuals work in the Boston office.

The nationwide practice at Greenberg Traurig, LLP represents clients such as DeVry University, Whole Foods and GlaxoSmithKline in a wide array of employment law cases. In Atlanta, Todd Wozniak is defending a healthcare consulting entity and its ESOP in a class action suit filed by a former participant alleging the termination of the plan in 2011 violated ERISA regulations; in New Jersey, Robert Bernstein recently obtained summary judgment dismissing all counts of a suit wherein the plaintiff sought to recover benefits allegedly promised orally. The group was also engaged by multiple clients, including GlaxoSmithKline, to defend them and their medical plans in ERISA violation and unfair competition suits arising out of their denial of claims for services provided by out-of-network providers.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s ERISA litigation team derives much strength from the firm’s employee benefits practice and has specific expertise in healthcare-related litigation. Recent highlights include Bill Boies’s representation of longstanding client State Street in an action filed by 400 retired Chrysler executives alleging fraud and breach of trust when Chrysler used $200m from the ‘top hat plan’ for company operations during the company’s near bankruptcy in 2008. Chris Scheithauer defended Northrup Grumman, Yahoo! and Aecom in actions regarding the wrongful denial of benefits, the failure to properly reimburse the plaintiff following in-network medical care, and various ERISA violation challenges following a DOL audit. Boies and Scheithauer jointly lead the practice and are based in Chicago and Los Angeles respectively.

Brian Boyle leads the practice at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and is representing CVS in a class action suit filed in Rhode Island claiming the stable value fund’s cash equivalent holdings were excessive following the economic crisis, thereby depressing the returns of CVS’s 401(k) investment line-up. Other key contacts include Catalina Vergara in Los Angeles, who is defending Chevron is an excessive fee case; Shannon Barrett, who obtained the dismissal of a stock-drop claim for Evercore on the basis of the Dudenhoeffer standard; and Gregory Jacob, who secured two victories for Boeing in stock-drop and fiduciary breach class actions. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC except where otherwise noted.

Arent Fox LLP’s Washington DC-based ERISA litigation practice works closely with the firm’s employee benefits and executive compensation team and has particular expertise in healthcare litigation. Caroline Turner English represents the Suffolk School employees, its health plan and its trustees in a withdrawal liability case brought by the Sayville school district, while Carol Connor Cohen advised a separate client on insolvency-related PBGC issues. Associate Alison Andersen handled administrative appeals and disputes in connection with ERISA-governed health plans and is also a key contact.

Dentons has a nationwide practice that acts on behalf of plan sponsors, fiduciaries, third-party administrators and insurance companies in individual and class action suits. Spearheaded by Alan Gilbert in Chicago, the firm represents Hanover in a national class action seeking millions of dollars in alleged underpayments of lump sum distributions from the client’s pension plan, while Martin Moderson led the advice on stock-drop and excessive fee cases brought against two 401(k) plans by the DOL. In the healthcare sector, the team handled suits claiming underfunding of pension plans and the denial of due payment to out-of-network service providers. Brian Cousin leads the practice from New York.

Fantastic attorneyAmanda Amert leads Jenner & Block LLP’s ERISA litigation practice from Chicago and works closely with Craig Martin on a wide array of claims on behalf of heavyweight international clients. The team ‘understands a corporate client’s needs’ and recently obtained a complete victory for Dow in a class action challenging benefits provisions for certain retirees. Northern Trust also engaged the team to defend it in a class action arising from seven allegations of ERISA violations, including breach of fiduciary duty, anti-cutback claims and discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Martin’s representation of Northwestern University in a suit regarding its 403(b) plan and its fiduciary duties under ERISA is also a recent highlight.

Jones Day’s practice, jointly led by Michael Gray and Matthew Lampe, was recently strengthened by several lateral hires and acts for clients such as Boeing and Meggitt. Cleveland’s Stanley Weiner is defending GE in a suit brought by its unions and 26 retirees claiming that their medical benefits are vested and cannot be modified or terminated, while Washington DC’s Evan Miller represents C&S and its former subsidiary in a withdrawal liability suit. In Atlanta, Craig Friedman led the defense of Flower Foods in a nationwide class action claiming plaintiffs were unlawfully denied benefits for being misclassified as independent contractors.

King & Spalding LLP is particularly focused on the energy and financial sectors, but is also retained by clients such as Coca-Cola and Home Depot to handle employment and ERISA disputes. Atlanta-based David Tetrick is part of AIG’s national fiduciary liability panel and is also representing Peabody in a stock-drop suit as well as SunTrust in class actions alleging that the client retained its mutual funds as investment alternatives for its 401(k) plan despite charging excessive fees and poor returns. In Washington DC, Bobby Burchfield handles healthcare litigation, especially regarding vested retiree benefits issues; clients of his include Moen, CNH and BorgWarner.

Mayer Brown’s practice is ‘very strong, very knowledgeable in ERISA and strong in client relations’ and acts for a diverse roster of clients. Washington DC’s Brian Netter, assisted by Chicago-based practice head Nancy Ross, represents three Ivy League universities in connection with the recent wave of litigation aimed at their 403(b) plans. The pair also defended FreightCar in a class action brought by the United Steelworkers challenging the termination of retiree medical benefits. In Los Angeles, Elizabeth Mann is defending ASH in several class actions pertaining to provider non-discrimination violations under the ACA.

At Paul Hastings LLP, Stephen Harris, Lawrence Hass and Mark Poerio lead the ERISA practice from Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC respectively. The team, which handles high-value, complex litigation, has recently worked on cases pertaining to benefits claims, specifically in connection with allegations of wrongful benefits termination, the offsetting of benefits, and ACA issues. Recent work highlights also include a multi-employer withdrawal liability suit. New York-based Patrick Shea is also a key contact.


Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions)

Index of tables

  1. Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions)
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions) clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s executive compensation team advises on transactions, corporate governance, and ERISA compliance issues. Highlights included Michael Albano’s work on Airgas’ acquisition by L’Air Liquide, and Western Digital’s $19bn purchase of SanDisk. Arthur Kohn handled the compensation issues in Natixis’ acquisition of a majority stake in PJSC. The firm was engaged by Coca-Cola to oversee the merger of three European bottling entities; this transaction was spearheaded by counsel Kathleen Emberger. Counsel Mary Alcock advised Google on a $4bn credit facility and a $5bn commercial paper program. Robert Raymond is also a key contact. All named attorneys are based in New York.

The executive compensation group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is prominent in mid-market private equity transactions, especially in the healthcare and technology sectors. Practice head Edmond FitzGerald advised Aetna on its proposed but ultimately canceled $37bn purchase of Humana alongside new partner Veronica Wissel. Other notable highlights included Jeffrey Crandall’s work on Technip’s combination with FMC Technologies and Markit’s all-share merger with HIS. Emerson enlisted the firm to handle several transactions, including the sale of its Network Power division and the acquisition of Pentair’s Valves & Controls business. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team is led by New York-based Scott Price and advises an enviable client roster featuring 3G Capital, Carlyle and Avis. Michael Krasnovsky advised Cerberus Capital Management on the carve-out of Avon’s North American business and strategic investment in Avon’s international business, and handled Corning’s strategic realignment of its interest in its joint venture with Dow. Other notable highlights included Exelon’s acquisition of Pepco, KKR’s investment in the UFC, and Price’s work on behalf of Baxalta regarding its $32bn unsolicited takeover by Shire. Laura Bader joined Jones Day.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s group is attached to the firm’s tax practice and works closely with the corporate team. New York-based practice co-chair Bradd Williamson advised Leonard Green on the compensation issues involved in its acquisition of ExamWorks, and assisted Odyssey with its purchase of Aero Precision. Los Angeles-based of counsel James Barrall, a former practice co-chair, assisted Legendary Entertainment with the sale of a majority stake to Dalian Wanda, and represented Caesars in the carve-out sale of its mobile gaming business Playtika. Washington DC-based David Della Rocca and Adam Kestenbaum worked on various transactions for Carlyle; Laurence Seymour (Los Angeles) and Lori Goodman (New York) are also key contacts.

The executive compensation team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPgoes above and beyond for its clients’ and advises them on the creation and modification of executive incentives and change-of-control contracts. Robert Fleder heads the practice and assisted Walter Energy with all aspects of its Chapter 11 case, including the sale of all of its core mining and operating assets. Andrew Gaines advised on Time Warner’s $78.7bn merger with Charter Communications, and Lawrence Witdorchic worked on several transactions for Apollo Global Management. Other notable clients include DreamWorks, VICE, and Viacom. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP specializes in compensation advice on high-profile private equity transactions. The practice was reinforced by senior counsel Erin Murphy in Palo Alto from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and newly promoted partner Andrew Blau, who is assisting team head Brian Robbins with CNCC’s $43bn acquisition of Syngenta. Greg Grogan is advising Microsoft on equity compensation arrangements in dozens of jurisdictions in relation to its all-cash acquisition of LinkedIn, and has previously advised Microsoft on its purchases of Skype and Nokia’s phone business. Hilton also engaged the practice to oversee its separation into three separate business entities. Named attorneys are based in New York except where noted otherwise.

Regina Olshan leads the New York-based employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Olshan advised DuPont on the labor and employment aspects of its $130bn merger of equals with Dow Chemical - a transaction which will create DowDuPont - and its subsequent separation into three publicly traded entities. The team also represented EMC in its acquisition by Dell and assisted Rite Aid with its sale to Walgreens Boots Alliance, both under the leadership of Neil Leff. Other notable clients include NXP, Merck, and Yahoo!

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP centers its practice on high-profile corporate transactions. The team, which is spearheaded by acquisitions and divestitures expert Matthew Friestedt and Marc Trevino, was strengthened by the promotion to partner of Heather Coleman, who represented AIG in its joint venture with subsidiaries of Hamilton and Two Sigma to create Attune. Friestedt advised ACE on its $29.5bn acquisition of Chubb, and assisted Cablevision with its sale to Altice. The group also advised on FirstMerit’s merger with Huntington and assisted with First Niagara Financial Group’s $4.1bn acquisition by KeyCorp; Trevino and special counsel Rebecca Coccaro in Washington DC led on these matters. Named attorneys are based in New York except where noted otherwise.

Leading M&A firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advises clients on the executive compensation aspects of various corporate transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs and IPOs. Financial sector specialist Jeannemarie O’Brien handles high-value deals and compensation structures, while Andrea Wahlquist is an expert in the acquisition and management of portfolio companies for private equity sponsors. The team is headed by Michael Segal, who acts for senior executives; key contacts also include spin-offs and corporate governance expert Adam Shapiro.

Baker McKenzie LLP promoted Victor Flores and Lindsey Minnis to partner in the San Francisco and New York offices respectively. Practice co-heads Valerie Diamond and Maura Ann McBreen, based in San Francisco and Chicago respectively, demonstrated the firm’s capabilities in the technology sector in advising on executive compensation matters for SanDisk and Western Digital, and Microchip. Chicago-based Brian Wydajewski is another name to note.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP provides ‘the highest level of service’ in executive compensation and is ‘absolutely at the top of the scale’, according to clients. Practice head Eric Hilfers advised British American Tobacco on its $93bn merger with Reynolds American, and Jennifer Conway represented IBM in numerous transactions over the past year, including its acquisition of Bluewolf and The Weather Company’s produce and technology business. New partner Jonathan Katz handled matters for Alere, Mylan, and Starwood and is also a key contact.

The New York-based group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is led by Lawrence Cagney. The Dolan family enlisted the firm to oversee Cablevision’s $17.7bn sale to Altice - a matter led by Elizabeth Pagel Serebransky. Cagney advised Activision Blizzard on its acquisition of King Digital, and assisted StanCorp with its sale to Meiji Yasuda. The team also advises Apple, Walt Disney Allianz and UBS on various employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Jonathan Lewis and Meir Katz represented Prudential in the de-risking of its group annuity contracts.

Clients engage the team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP to negotiate, structure and document compensation arrangements for executive staff, especially in the context of corporate transactions. Jeffrey Ross and newly promoted partner Adam Kaminsky, who is based in Washington DC, handled the complicated acquisition of an equity stake in Genesys by affiliates of Hellman & Friedman, which involved negotiations surrounding the treatment of vested equity. Practice head Donald Carleen advised Media General on several transactions, including its $4.6bn merger with Nexstar, its merger with Meredith, and its agreements to divest a total of five stations in a sale to Graham Media and Gray Television. Attorneys mentioned are based in New York except where noted otherwise.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s executive compensation team ‘understands what is practical instead of simply idealistic’ and acts for an impressive client roster, including Liberty Mutual, Apple Inc, and MasterCard. Chicago-based Diane Morgenthalerknows her audience and takes the time to understand who she is working with’; she led the advice on Evonik’s cross-border acquisition of Air Products’ performance material division. Steven Eckhaus and Erin Kartheiser joined the practice in New York and Chicago respectively, and are key contacts. Since publication, David Rogers has moved to Winston & Strawn LLP.

Spearheaded by Steven Spencer in Philadelphia and Craig Bitman in New York, the ‘very knowledgeable, timely and practical’ team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP advises on all areas of benefits and compensation. The firm was engaged to represent Health Net in the closing of its public merger with Centene, and the Philadelphia-based Amy Pocino Kelly assisted TriMark USA with multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liability in two recent transactions alongside newly promoted partner Randall McGeorge, who works from the Pittsburgh office. Other notable clients include Honeywell, Armstrong and Conning & Company.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s nationwide executive compensation team provides ERISA advice in relation to capital transactions, bankruptcies, IPOs and other matters and a does significant amount of work in the private investment sector. Seth Safra joined Paul Hamburger and Myron Rumeld’s team from Covington & Burling LLP and has represented clients with regard to DOL and IRS audits. Andrea Rattner advised on M&A transactions for clients including C-III Capital Partner, Celgene, and the International Securities Exchange; Washington DC-based Joshua Miller led the work for New York REIT, MLG, and Upstream Rehabilitation. The firm also demonstrated its prominence in the sports industry by assisting the NHL with its expansion into Las Vegas and represented the NBA in its collective bargaining negotiations with the NBAPA. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise noted.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s team advises on the ERISA compliance and compensation aspects of M&A, finance and capital markets transactions. Recent highlights include practice head Doreen Lilienfeld’s work on GE’s merger of its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes to create a new publicly traded company, and her advice to Salesforce.com on its $2.8bn public tender offer for Demandware. John Cannon assisted B/E Aerospace in its merger with Rockwell Collins, and advised Japanese insurance company Sompo on its acquisition of Endurance Specialty. Linda Rappaport is also a key contact. Gillian Moldowan joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. Named attorneys are based in New York.

The ‘highly responsive and capable’ New York-based compensation group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP represents a diverse roster of large corporate clients, private equity sponsors, and their portfolio companies with ‘a quality and cost that are top tier’. Paul Wessel leads the team and advises clients on high-value and cross-border M&A transactions, such as Dow’s $130bn merger with DuPont, and Sanofi’s $25bn exchange of Merial, its veterinary pharmaceutical provider, for Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer healthcare business. Clients such as Omers and Advent solicited the ‘extremely knowledgeable and highly experiencedMichael Nissan to work on their transactions. Sarah Downie joined the firm in 2016 and handled Avolon’s acquisition of CIT’s aircraft leasing business. Amy Rubin is also a key contact.

Dechert LLP’s attorneys are ‘among the brightest lights and always appropriately aggressive’ and represent clients in both private and public M&A transactions. Led by Andrew Oringer in New York and the Philadelphia-based David Jones, the practice acted for clients such as Monster, B&G and Credit Suisse in 2016. Eric Rubin, who works with Jones in Philadelphia, advised GIC - the sovereign wealth fund established by the government of Singapore - on the acquisition, alongside Silver Lake, of a substantial stake in Ancestry.com.

Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP’s six-partner executive compensation team is led out of Washington DC by Mark Smith and represents both employee plan sponsors and providers in matters relating to plan design, compliance and corporate transactions. Adam Cohen advised a leading global food brand on a cross-border merger with several European entities, while Meredith O’Leary assisted MassMutual with its acquisition of MetLife’s retail adviser business. The firm also acted for a longstanding client in the telecoms sector with respect to a merger. Vanessa Scott is also a key contact.

Groom Law Group handles benefits and executive compensation issues in a wide range of corporate transactions for clients such as Toshiba and Hess, and is particular strong in the area of spin-offs. Jon Breyfogle is ‘a standout in the employee benefits world’; he represents benefits plans in front of federal regulatory bodies and advises on multi-employer pension plans alongside Jennifer Eller, Jeff Kroh and Jeff Witt. The practice is based in Washington DC and is headed by John McGuiness.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has established an enviable inventory of clients in the technology and media sectors and handles executive compensation issues related to mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs. Practice co-chair Margaret de Lisser is based in Washington DC and led a cross-practice team advising Dell on its sale of its global IT services to NTT Data as part of its strategy to fund its pending acquisition of EMC. The New York-based Martha Steinman advised GE on matters relating to the sale of its healthcare financial services business to Capital One, the second divestiture in GE’s plan to sell most of its financing arm. Washington DC-based Carin Carithers is also a key contact and acted for American Homes 4 Rent and Daimler.

The executive compensation lawyers at Jones Day have ‘substantive knowledge’ and ‘the quality of their advice is top notch’. New York-based Daniel Hagen leads the generalist practice with Washington DC-based Evan Miller and assisted Reynolds American with the sale of its international rights to the Natural American Spirit brand name and trademarks to JT. Other work highlights included working on Excelis’ acquisition by Harris, including advising on antitrust, employee benefits and tax issues; and assisting Explorys in its merger with IBM. In Chicago, Erik Lundgren joined from Winston & Strawn LLP and Laura Bader joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, while pensions and tax specialist Victor Chang joined in Washington DC.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered specializes in compliance with respect to tax and federal regulatory authorities. Marianna Dyson conducts internal investigations for major financial institutions in relation to IRS and DOL audits alongside Elizabeth Drake and Frederick Oliphant. Highlights also included domestic and cross-border de-risking transactions as well as ESOP and deferred compensation agreements.

Morrison & Foerster LLP advises private equity clients on corporate governance and compensation issues in M&A transactions. Recent work includes assisting DaVita with its acquisition of Renal Ventures, and advising Brookfield on its purchase of substantially all of the assets of Holtwood - an entity owned by Talen. The practice is led from San Francisco by Paul Borden, who advised IMT on the formation of a $630m private equity fund, while New York-based Domnick Bozzetti worked on cross-border transactions such as Futamura’s acquisition of Innovia’s cellophane business.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP focuses its four-partner practice on the technology, software and financial services sectors, and advises individuals as well as large corporate clients. Cisco retains the group for all its tax and equity compensation matters, including proxy disclosures, and benefited from San Francisco-based practice leader Jonathan Ocker’s advice regarding the acquisitions of Open DNS, Jasper, and Cliqr. Laura Becking is based in New York and represents Facebook and Snap in all of their cross-border employee benefits and executive compensation needs. Other notable clients include Visa, The Gap, and Keysight. Michael Yang was appointed to partner in the Menlo Park office.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s executive compensation practice is led by New York’s Susan Serota, whom clients praise as providing ‘guidance in a well-thought-out fashion’, and is ‘very responsive, timely and knowledgeable of current issues and trends’. Recent work highlights include advising NTT Data on its acquisition of Dell Services, and representing BancWest - a subsidiary of BNP Paribas - in the spin-off and first public offering of First Hawaiian Bank.

The Boston-based executive compensation practice at Ropes & Gray LLP works closely with the firm’s transactional team and advises on benefits due diligence, the implementation of new employment agreements, and compliance with ERISA regulations. Renata Ferrari and Loretta Richard lead the group from Boston and the pair advised Mattress Firm on its takeover by Steinhoff and assisted TSSP with its acquisition of part of Credit Suisse’s distressed portfolio. Jonathan Zorn assisted Shire in its merger with Baxalta, while Jennifer Rikoski acted for Bain in the sale of Blue Coat to Symantec.

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘superior’, according to some, and provides ‘excellent services in all areas’. Beth Dickstein and Matthew Johnson lead the executive compensation practice from Chicago; Michael Frank is a new addition in Palo Alto from Morrison & Foerster LLP. The firm was engaged by Donnelley to advise on the spin-offs of LSC and DFS to create three independent publicly traded companies; this was led by Mary Niehaus. Johnson advised on Cabela’s merger with Bass Pro Shops and the sale of its credit card business to Capital One. Other notable clients include AT&T, Keurig Green Mountain and Harris.

Vinson & Elkins LLP represents clients in a vast range of compensation matters. The firm was engaged by Avenue Capital and other equity investors to advise on their plan to assume control of Oncor, a transmission and distribution utility, before the plan was aborted. Practice head David D’Alessandro advised on the $16bn three-way merger between two NorthStar entities and Colony; and assisted portfolio company Nexeo in its merger with WL Ross. George Gerachis in Houston, who leads the practice alongside Dallas-based D’Alessandro, provides tax-related advice and is also a key contact. Stephen Jacobson was recently promoted to partner.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s New York-based executive compensation team is led by Michael Katz and advises clients such as Citigroup, Aberdeen and Bloomberg on ERISA obligations and benefits plans in connection with corporate transactions. Jordan Messinger, John Schwolsky and Laura Delanoy advised MetLife on the sale of its retail adviser arm to MassMutual. The firm also assisted Colony Capital in its $17bn cross-border merger with NorthStar, and MedAssets with its sale to Pamplona. Peter Haller is also a key contact.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s compensation attorneys are based in New York and Chicago, and handle all benefits issues arising from transactions entered into by the firm’s corporate clients. Practice head Michael Falk provides ongoing advice on benefits and incentive compensation plans, while Scott Landau advised Verizon on its landmark acquisition of Yahoo! and on its takeover of Fleetmatics, Telogis and Sensity. Steve Flores was promoted to partner in September 2016. Since publication, leading lawyer David Rogers has joined the firm’s Washington DC office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Baker Botts L.L.P. is ‘on top of current issues but also cognizant of where trends are headed’. Gail Stewart, who heads the benefits and compensation team from Houston is ‘the gold standard, and no other firm has anyone who can come close to her’, according to one client. Recent work includes Dallas-based Eric Winwood’s advice on Hunt’s purchase of Oncor as part of EFH’s bankruptcy proceedings, and on Halliburton’s acquisition of Baker Hughes’ outstanding shares in a cash and stock transaction.

Spearheaded by Bruce Jocz in Houston, the team at Bracewell LLP typically advises clients in the energy industry on the benefits and compensation aspects of their transactions. Great Plains engaged the firm to oversee its pending acquisition of Westar, which involves a bridge loan from Goldman Sachs and a preferred stock investment. Scott Sanders advised Kinder Morgan on the sale of 50% of its equity interest in the Utopia pipeline project to Riverstone, and is assisting Venoco and affiliates in relation to its Chapter 11 proceedings.

The New York-based practice at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP provides advice on fiduciary standards and transactional matters. In the corporate space, the firm assisted The Medicines Company with the divestiture of three of its cardiovascular products to Chiesi Farmaceutici. The firm also represented the senior management of NYU Lutheran in connection with their separation of employment after their acquisition by NYU Langstone Medical Center. Practice head James Frazier and Linda Swartz are also key contacts. Gillian Moldowan moved to Shearman & Sterling LLP.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s ten-partner benefits and executive compensation team is led by Cisco Palao-Ricketts in Palo Alto, Rita Patel in Washington DC, and Rich Ashley in Chicago. The group advises major corporate and financial services clients, and handled all benefits and compensation issues related to the acquisition of a leading American telecoms company. Ian Kopelman and Anne Pachciarek in Chicago act on multimillion-dollar deals and are also key contacts.

Michael Collins and Stephen Fackler lead the benefits and compensation practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP from Washington DC and Palo Alto respectively. The practice provides comprehensive and integrated advice regarding equity compensation and benefits plans. The firm advised Marriott on its $12.4bn acquisition of Starwood, and assisted Williams Companies with its proposed but ultimately canceled takeover by Energy Transfer Equity. Sean Feller works from Century City and is also a key contact.

Goodwin’s practice cuts across four departments - real estate, technology, private equity and financial services - and counts Opower, Xoom and GE Asset Management among its clients. In Boston, Scott Webster heads the practice and advised Russell Investments on its acquisition by TA Associates alongside Natascha George, who also handled Fleetmatics’ $2.4bn sale to Verizon. In Menlo Park, Lynda Galligan advised Atlassian on matters related to its IPO, and Alessandra Murata joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Mayer Brown’s executive compensation team is led by Maureen Gorman in Palo Alto and advises domestic and international corporations. Recent highlights include Ryan Liebl’s work on the acquisition of PrivateBancorp by CIBC, and Debra Hoffman’s advice to Textura regarding its acquisition by Oracle. Lennine Occhino assisted an international private equity fund with the structuring and offering of an investment vehicle. Named attorneys are based in Chicago except where otherwise indicated.

Paul Hastings LLP provides ‘technically sound but also commercial and user-friendly’ advice for ‘fees that represent good value for money’ and advises clients such as Equinox and Brocade. Mark Poerio in Washington DC jointly leads the team with Lawrence Hass in New York and Los Angeles-based Stephen Harris, who supports the firm’s corporate practice by handling the benefits issues of major transactions. Washington DC-based Eric Keller is also a key contact.

Vedder Price represents high-profile senior executives and financial services companies in benefits and compensation matters. Co-chaired by Thomas Desmond and Kelly Starr, the practice handled the transition of senior management personnel in Baxalta’s acquisition by Shire, and was brought in by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to advise on the employment agreements of PrivateBancorp’s management team and CEO in connection with its purchase by CIBC. Robert Simon assisted several senior executives and is also a key contact. Named attorneys are based in Chicago.

White & Case LLP’s employment, compensation and benefits team works closely with the firm’s corporate practice and provides advice with regard to private and public M&A, banking, and financing transactions. Key contacts include New York-based practice head Henrik Patel, who advised Fortis on its $11.3bn acquisition of ITC Holdings alongside GIC, and assisted Qingdao Haier with its purchase of GE’s appliances business. Counsel Kenneth Barr handles 409(a) and tax-related issues and is also a key contact.

Arent Fox LLP’s compensation practice provides an ‘ideal client/counsel relationship’ and is led from Washington DC by the ‘amazing, phenomenal and second-to-none’ Quana Jew as well as Bill Charyk. The group advised Par Pharmaceutical on its $8bn sale to Endo, and is regularly contracted by other firms such as Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to handle the executive compensation aspects of major corporate transactions.

Baker & Hostetler LLP handles transactional-related compensation issues from its Ohio offices, spearheaded by Raymond Malone and Georgeanne Peters. The former led the advice on longstanding client Scripps’ digital media purchases, while Peters assisted TRW Automotive with the liquidation of its existing deferred compensation arrangement and the implementation of a new one after its acquisition by ZF Friedrichshafen. The firm also represents clients in the healthcare sector, including Trinity Health, Cardinal Health, and OhioHealth.

Gregory Keating heads Choate, Hall & Stewart’s four-partner Boston-based executive compensation and benefits department, where ‘the level of service is outstanding’. Clients heavily recommend ‘exceptional practitioner’ Arthur Meyers, who handles employment and relocation agreements for senior executives, and handles stock purchase plans and equity structures. Notable clients include Aon Hewitt, Brooks Automation and Putnam; Sean Monahan is also a key contact.

The employment lawyers at Clifford Chance advise on transactional compensation issues and clients ‘rate them highly’. Working closely with the firm’s corporate practice, team leader Howard Adler assisted clients with acquisitions and spin-offs in the insurance and real estate sectors, while counsel Robert Stone assisted in work for clients such as Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Colony Capital and Fidelis. Associate Janice Chan joined from Ropes & Gray LLP and is also recommended by clients. Named lawyers are all based in New York.

Dentons handles equity and cash-based incentive plans, change in control issues, fiduciary advice, and M&A transactions. Kansas City-based Martin Moderson leads the multi-office team. In Chicago, Pamela Baker advised Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Company with regard to its spin-off from Hewlett-Packard and related restructuring. Washington DC-based employee benefits specialist Michael Maryn restructured an entire equity compensation program and designed the equity rollover structure for a client in anticipation of a sale. Daniel Lange in Chicago is also a key contact.

Jenner & Block LLP advises on the full range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters for clients such as General Dynamics, Hertz and Nissan. The four-partner team is led from Chicago by Matthew Renaud and recently handled multi-jurisdictional divestiture, spin-off and de-risking projects. Sarah Haddy was promoted to partner in January 2017.

King & Spalding LLP’s team regularly advises on the ERISA aspects of real estate and other transactions. Recent examples include New York-based {Kenneth Raskin 53309} advising Jamestown Premier Partnership Fund on its acquisition of several high-profile real estate assets, including Chelsea Market and One Times Square in New York. In the Atlanta office, Sam Choy and associate Ryan Gorman acted for a publicly traded client with respects to the design and implementation of executive benefit programs for its expatriate workforce, including senior executive compensation based on the client’s common stock performance. Other work highlights include assisting an affiliate of Roark Capital Group with a growth equity investment in Orangetheory Fitness. Based in New York, senior associate Laura Westfall plays a key supportive role in the team and is also a key contact.

Headed from New York by Steven Rabitz, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s team regularly works on transactions, advising on the associated compensation issues. Recent highlights include advising HH Liquidation on its Chapter 11 proceedings, and assisting an ad hoc group of holders of Avaya Inc notes regarding the restructuring of Avaya’s capital structure. The ‘creative, smart and established’ Rabitz acted for JPMorgan in the structuring of a tax-driven investment vehicle to permit clients to acquire 49% in a private REIT and other corporate entities. Marissa Holob is another key name.

WilmerHale’s team represent employers and executives in ERISA regulation and executive compensation issues and has a notable cross-border practice. Led by Scott Kilgore in Washington DC and Amy Null and ‘great listener and excellent attorney’ Kimberly Wethly in Boston, the practice advises clients such as Asics, American Science and Engineering, and Demandware on various M&A transactions.


Employee health and retirement plans

Index of tables

  1. Employee health and retirement plans
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Next generation lawyers

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The Washington DC-based ERISA team at Covington & Burling LLP regularly represents clients in Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits and investigations, as well as advising on plan structures and management. Robert Newman led the advice on the termination of 21st Century Fox’s pension plan and also advised the NFL with regards to retirement plans and healthcare reform. Practice head Richard Shea served as lead domestic and global employee benefits counsel to Dow and Solenis. Other notable clients include ERIC, a leading trade association, which Michael Francese represented in connection with the DOL’s new fiduciary rule. Seth Safra moved to Proskauer Rose LLP.

The benefits practice at specialist firm Groom Law Group is ‘extremely responsive, knowledgeable in terms the legal and industry sides, and overall top notch’, and advises clients on all aspects of health and retirement plans. ‘Outstanding lawyer’ Jennifer Eller is an expert in fiduciary regulations and ‘strikes the balance between collaborative and assertive’; she represents numerous clients with regard to the DOL’s fiduciary ruling alongside Jon Breyfogle and new partner Erin Cho. Breyfogle also handled healthcare reform work for health insurance suppliers, Fortune 100 companies, and health plan administrators, and worked on mental health parity compliance. Other key contacts include Daniel Hogans, Gary Ford, Elizabeth Dold and Lars Golumbic. The team is based in Washington DC.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP divides its benefits practice into seven task forces: fiduciary regulation, retirement plans, executive compensation, health plans, fringe benefits and payroll tax, multi-employer plans, and ESOPs. Led by Steven Spencer and Craig Bitman from the Philadelphia and New York offices respectively, the team assists clients such as Honeywell with their day-to-day benefits matters, including 401(k) and welfare plan issues through Andy Anderson in Chicago and Amy Pocino Kelly in Philadelphia. Other notable clients include DHL, Toyota and UBS. Randall McGeorge was promoted to partner in the Pittsburgh office in October 2016.

Recently joined by Seth Safra from Covington & Burling LLP, the nationwide employee benefits practice at Proskauer Rose LLP assists clients with single- and multi-employer plans, ERISA compliance, and fiduciary obligations. In Washington DC, Paul Hamburger advised the Met, Bass Pro Shops and SCANA on healthcare reform and retirement plan administration and design. From the New York office, Andrea Rattner provides ongoing benefits advice to clients such as Foot Locker, Ascena, and Celgene. Neal Schelberg and Steven Weinstein designed the implementation of a new benefits plan and amended existing retirement arrangements for the NHL following its expansion into Las Vegas. Ira Golub, Rory Albert and Robert Projansky are also key contacts. Attorneys are based in New York except where indicated otherwise.

Paul Ondrasik, Melanie Nussdorf and Gwendolyn Renigar lead Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s employee benefits and executive compensation team from Washington DC. The team has been advising clients on the change in fiduciary regulations, and Eric Serron assists with the administration and management of 401(k) and cash balance plans for large financial institutions. The firm also assists several healthcare clients with regard to DOL investigations, and Patrick Menasco was part of the team acting for Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, and Deutsche Bank in their respective applications for QPAM tax exemption under ERISA.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP provides ‘expert knowledge on how to structure a benefits offering’ and advises clients on the drafting and implementation of group health plans as a result of healthcare reform, as well as on retirement plan management and ERISA compliance, and also represents companies in DOL audits. Its clients include the likes of Google, Xilinx and Republic Services. The global benefits and compensation practice is led by Leslie Klein, who splits his time between Phoenix and Chicago, and Jeffrey Mamorsky in New York. Magan Ray who also sits in Phoenix ‘provides high-quality guidance with practical suggestions and options’; Ian Herbert and Renée O’Rourke are based in Washington DC and Denver respectively and are also key contacts.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Washington DC’s Miller & Chevalier Chartered is especially strong in ACA and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance matters. Health insurance carriers engage the firm to work with their HR, tax and marketing departments to ensure they provide legally compliant products to clients and to their own employees. The team is led by Marianna Dyson and includes Elizabeth Drake, who handles pension plan de-risking and 401(k) design matters. Anthony Shelley leads the ERISA litigation department and is also a key contact.

Spearheaded by Susan Serota from the New York office, the employee benefits practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP advises clients on all issues related to benefits and executive compensation. The San Diego-based Marcus Wu and Christine Richardson, who is based in San Francisco, represent MUFG and Live Nation respectively in benefit plan restructuring and issues pertaining to cross-border integration proceedings. Serota’s clients include BNY Mellon, while New York’s Peter Hunt assists ClearWater with plan amendments, including negotiating a new record keeper for its 401(k) and deferred compensation plans.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s expertise extends to healthcare, ACA reform, and the amending, drafting and termination of retirement and benefit plans. The practice is advising Nike regarding a major redesign of its employee benefits programs through the Chicago-based Adam Greetis, while Randell Montellaro assists Northwell Health with its tax-qualified retirement plans, cash balance plans, and 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans from the New York office. On the ACA side, Howard Pianko, who is also based in New York, represents a major publicly traded health company with regard to healthcare reforms. Robert Flanagan heads the team from Chicago and is handling Northrop Grumman’s transition of service providers.

Winston & Strawn LLP acts as counsel on a variety of issues related to the ACA, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans compliance under ERISA, and fiduciary oversight. From Chicago, practice head Michael Falk provides day-to-day advice to clients such as Ventas, Lear, and Société Générale regarding their employee health and retirement plans, while new partner Steve Flores advised on compliance with the IRC and the fiduciary requirements of ERISA. Erik Lundgren departed for Jones Day and Erin Kartheiser became a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Joanne Youn and Richard Skillman handle Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered’s employee benefits work. Skillman advises the Kaiser Foundation on its 403(b) and retiree medical plans alongside Ronald Cluett, who also assisted Skillman in his work for VALIC. Youn assists MBN with its payroll tax, and advises Teekay on ongoing cross-border issues related to its benefits plans. The team also represents the World Bank and the IMF in connection with their defined benefit plans and executive compensation agreements. Both partners are based in Washington DC.

Dentons advises on the administration and design of benefit plans and represents clients in IRS and DOL audits and investigations. The team, which is led by Martin Moderson in Kansas City, recently assisted a client with the structuring of a profit-sharing plan for a future ESOP scheme, and advised a government-owned healthcare system on the termination of its defined benefit plan. Washington DC-based Michael Maryn provides ongoing advice to McDonald’s regarding benefits issues - most recently on fiduciary compliance.

Goodwin’s employee benefits attorneys advise on the full range of ERISA and regulatory matters. The team is led from Boston by Scott Webster, who advised John Hancock and Manulife on the integration of the retirement plan business from New York Life. John Cleary advised State Street on updating benefit wrap agreements with its stable clients and on several DOL audits regarding compliance issues. Key contacts also include Natascha George, who provides ongoing employee benefits advice to Partners Healthcare.

The practice at Jackson Lewis P.C. handles fiduciary regulations, plan administration, multi-employer plan withdrawal liability and virtually all other aspects of employee benefits work. St Louis-based of counsel Stephanie Zorn advised a large southern hospital on the termination of its defined benefits plan, and for four months served as in-house counsel for a global insurance and financial services company in connection with health and retirement plan issues. In Dallas, of counsel Raymond Turner represented a healthcare company in an IRS audit revolving around the client’s ‘last day’ allocation requirements. The practice is led by Joy Napier-Joyce from Baltimore.

The ‘excellentK&L Gates’ practice is spread across the country and acts for clients across the full spectrum of employee benefit matters. Based in Pittsburgh, Michael Hart impresses clients by being ‘extremely responsible and an expert in his field’; he recently handled a pension de-risking transaction for PPG alongside Charles Smith. The Seattle-based Karrie Diaz advised SSL and Zulily on their benefit programs - specifically their 401(k), welfare and health plans - and provides them with ongoing advice on fiduciary obligations. James Earle and Smith lead the team from Charlotte and Pittsburgh respectively.

Mayer Brown’s team assists clients with benefits issues such as ESOPs, cross-border tax qualifications and pension plan de-risking under the leadership of Maureen Gorman in Palo Alto. In Chicago, Lennine Occhino and James Williams advised a global financial institution on the structuring of an integrated 401(k) platform, including trustees, record keeping, distribution and investment management. The firm also represents the CIBC, and handles the development of ERISA compliance policies along with day-to-day advice on benefit issues for a large hedge fund. Chicago-based Debra Hoffman is also a key contact.

Thompson Hine LLP is ‘fast and accurate’ and ‘excellent to do business with’, according to clients. Kim Wilcoxon is ‘by far the best ERISA attorney’ that one client has worked with, and leads the advice on Cardinal Health and Fifth Third’s 401(k) and group health plan alongside practice head Laura Ryan, who is also recommended by clients; they are both based in Cincinnati. In the Cleveland office, Julia Love and Karen Youngstrom advise AkzoNobel, based in the Netherlands, on 409A and ACA compliance. Other notable clients include Credit Suisse, Eaton, and NCR.

Kelly Starr and Thomas Desmond lead the employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Vedder Price in Chicago. ArcelorMittal and Follett engaged the firm to advise on pension, 401(k), medical and welfare plans. Thomas Hancuch handles pension de-risking transactions and benefit plan amendments, and provides ongoing advice to clients regarding ACA compliance and IRS reporting. Other notable clients include Amsted, Central Steel & Wire, and MB Financial.

Michael Katz leads the four-partner employee benefits and executive compensation team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Following the DOL’s redefinition of fiduciary duty, Peter Haller is advising Credit Suisse and other financial services clients on reviewing the retirement plan products they offer investors. The firm is also representing Aberdeen Asset Management in ERISA compliance issues associated with the management of large separate account mandates, private funds and bank collective trusts. Attorneys are based in New York.

Arent Fox LLP’s employee benefits practice is led by Quana Jew and specializes in amending and managing health and retirement plans. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, Bill Charyk assists Catholic Charities and other non profit organizations in connection with potential healthcare plan amendments; the firm’s work for watchdog AARP revolves around keeping its internal benefits plan up to date. High-end fashion clients such as Diane von Furstenberg and Lacoste retain the practice to advise on their benefits packages. The firm also manages plans for other law firms and individual partners.

Georgeanne Peters and Raymond Malone lead the employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Baker & Hostetler LLP and provide advice relating to all types of retirement, health, welfare and savings plans. New client Red Lobster benefited from Susan Lubow’s advice on the establishment of new retirement and welfare plans following its spin-off from Darden, while John McGowan and John Boyd advised the Kaiser Foundation on the restructuring of its individual benefit distribution channels to comply with the ACA. The practice is spread across the firm’s Cleveland and Columbus offices.

The quality of service at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. is ‘very high’ and the practice was strengthened by the arrival of Christopher McMican from Miller Canfield P.L.C. in the Detroit office and Sharon Lippett from Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York. Practice head Michelle Capezza is also based in New York and handled several pension de-risking matters, including advising EmblemHealth on a lump-sum cash-out window to terminated and deferred vested employees. The firm’s New York and New Jersey offices cooperated to update BlackRock’s welfare plans to reflect recent regulation changes. Other clients include Kindred, Ipsen and Sumitomo.

The employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has been advising clients on the DOL’s changes to the fiduciary rule. Practice head Mark Smith has assisted over 60 financial services entities with regard to this landmark change alongside Vanessa Scott. Adam Cohen is also a key contact and handles a wide range of benefits issues, including lump-sum windows and welfare plans. The team is based in Washington DC.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s benefits practice provides fiduciary compliance advice to clients following the DOL’s landmark definition ruling, and assists plan sponsors with plan designs. Eugene Scalia filed a comment letter on behalf of Primerica and is challenging the fiduciary rule change for several trade associations, including SIFMA and the Chamber of Commerce. Practice co-head Michael Collins and William Kilberg represented the NFLPA in negotiations with the NFL over benefits matters, specifically benefits provided for cognitive disabilities. The team is based in Washington DC.

Washington DC-based boutique firm Ivins, Phillips & Barker recently added the former chief of staff of Congress’s joint taxation committee Harry Gutman to its ranks; Gutman now heads the federal tax policy group as of counsel. The practice handles health plan drafting and ERISA compliance, and represents clients in DOL and IRS audits. Notable clients include Bayer, GE, IBM and Saudi Aramco. Rosina Barker joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Jenner & Block LLP’s employee benefits practice represents clients such as General Dynamics, Hertz and Nissan and is headed by the Chicago-based Matthew Renaud. Recent highlights include Raymond Sinnappan and Renaud’s work on an $800m pension de-risking transaction, and the team’s advice to several clients on maintaining, amending and managing defined benefit plans, as well as on ERISA compliance and ACA-related reform. Tony Ling is also a key contact and Sarah Haddy recently made partner.

The Boston-based team at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. represents domestic and global clients on welfare and retirement plans, and pension trusts. Key contacts include Alden Bianchi, who specializes in ACA and ERISA fiduciary compliance issues and advises Marsh McLennan on all its retirement and welfare plans; and of counsel Patricia Moran, who handles all benefits issues for TransPerfect and American Well. Washington DC-based employment litigator David Barmak leads the practice with Bianchi.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP’s practice is jointly led by retirement plan and ACA specialist Patricia Cain, and Jeffrey Bakker, who has experience in a wide array of labor and employment matters, including defined benefits plans and fiduciary responsibilities. In recent highlights, the team assisted a client with obtaining a determination letter from the IRS on its retirement plan, and represented a capital management client regarding the retention of a new plan adviser and preparation of a new document and summary plan description. A major accounting company engaged the group to advise on its non-qualified retirement plan for partners, including deferred compensation rules under section 409a of the Internal Revenue Code.

Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren SC has ‘top talent and always brings the right team member for the situation at hand’ and practice head Steven Huff is praised as being ‘a great listener, team-oriented and client-focused’. The practice acts as fiduciary counsel to Schreiber Foods, which administers three defined benefit plans, two ESOPs and a 401(k) plan. Clients such as MSA and Suburban Electrical Engineers and Contractors engaged the firm to advise on their ESOPs and the benefit implications of their shifts from C corporation to S corporation status. Huff is based in Milwaukee.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP serves as outside counsel to an impressive roster of clients in the financial services sector regarding their benefits-related issues, including how to plan and manage their public and private US retirement assets. The team was engaged by over 17 financial services companies to advise on the landmark proposed changes to the term ‘fiduciary’ by the DOL; practice head Steven Rabitz provided such advice to SIFMA, for example. Marissa Holob handles all aspects of Emblem Health’s qualified and non-qualified plans. Of counsel Bruce Gallant is also a key contact. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Clients find David Guadagnolitop notch and always easy to work with’ and ‘can’t really say enough good things about’ the team at Sullivan & Worcester LLP, which Guadagnoli leads. The team works closely with the firm’s adjacent practices and advises on the full spectrum of employee benefits matters. Amy Sheridan is recognized for her expertise in compliance issues under IRS sections 409A and 457A, as well as healthcare law reforms. The practice is based in Boston.

Thompson & Knight LLP provides ‘excellent services, with specialist knowledge of issues in the oil and gas industry’; clients for benefits advice include the likes of Nexen, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and BNSF. Dallas-based Sharon Fountain works with Neely Munnerlyn and Russell Gully to advise Mary Kay, Interstate Batteries and USA Compression on all areas of employee benefits.

Venable LLP’s benefits practice advises on healthcare reform, HIPAA compliance and retirement plans, and is led by Thora Johnson in Baltimore. In Washington DC, Kenneth Hoffman assists clients with PBM reporting and the design of their health plans; and Baltimore-based Harry Atlas handles 401(k) plan design and multi-employer pension funding liabilities.


Immigration

Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP is an ‘outstanding strategic partner’ and ‘a top choice for multinationals looking to manage global immigration issues’. Significantly, its lawyers stand out as ‘true experts’ and their ‘high level of expertise brings exceptional value to the table’, according to clients. The firm has seven US offices, and nine international platforms, all of which focus exclusively on corporate immigration law, ensuring a ‘comprehensive and seamless global approach’. From Dallas, managing partner Jeremy Fudge oversees ‘a technically excellent group’ with ‘a service philosophy that far exceeds that of competing firms’. Fudge is the key contact for the firm’s ongoing representation of a global engineering services company and regularly advises it on migration issues involving over 20 countries. The ‘extremely efficientKortney Gibson is also recommended in Dallas and manages some of the largest immigration programs in the US, with a particularly strong showing in the telecoms sphere. In San Francisco, ‘excellent global strategistDavid Berry provides ‘strong service management’; he continues to advise a multinational IT company on immigration issues spanning 26 countries. Washington DC managing partner Lynden Melmed is an ‘instantly recognizable name in the immigration space’ and his office also includes senior counsel Jeffrey Gorsky, who recently joined from the Visa Office at the Department of State. In 2016, Shawn Orme left the Houston office to join Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.

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Few firms have the prominence of ‘leading immigration shopFragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, which is hailed as a ‘major force in the global market’. The firm has 40 offices across 20 countries and is able to provide immigration services in more than 100. The firm’s US network comprises 16 offices, all of which focus solely on immigration law and routinely cover the full scope of visa applications, strategy issues and compliance matters. New York-based Austin Fragomen is widely regarded as a thought leader in the immigration space. Atlanta-based Daryl Buffenstein is also a leading light and brings to bear a strong track record in writing immigration legislation. Other key names include Cynthia Lange, who leads the firm’s hi-tech practice from Silicon Valley, and Washington DC-based Bo Cooper, who leads the firm’s government strategies and compliance group. There were also some significant staff changes over the past year. Among the outgoing names, New York’s Michael Patrick retired and San Francisco’s Steven Brotherton joined Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA. The firm also promoted eight attorneys to partner and hired new Houston co-managing partner Shawn Orme from Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP.

Full service firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP has diversified considerably since its establishment as a specialist employment and labor practice in 1945, but its traditional strength remains a cornerstone of the practice and it shines in corporate immigration matters. Its broad service model gives it an edge in M&A-related work, alongside strategic planning, case preparation, visa applications and compliance issues. Los Angeles-based Angelo Paparelli is ‘one of the most knowledgeable, connected and thorough immigration attorneys in the US’ and is highly sought after for complex matters; he has been involved in several high-stakes cases for clients in the hospitality industry over the past year. Boston managing partner Russell Swapp chairs the ‘very professional and efficient’ national practice alongside Atlanta-based James King; both are key figures behind the team’s commitment to stay ahead of the curve in terms of hi-tech service delivery and continue to shape the firm’s immigration management programs. Atlanta-based ‘rising star’ Gabriel Mozes is also recommended and recently overturned a Department of Labor denial of a labor certification on behalf of a leading management consulting firm. In 2016, the group welcomed the arrivals of senior counsels Dawn Lurie in Washington DC and Mahsa Aliaskari in Los Angeles, both from Polsinelli PC.

The immigration team at mid-market powerhouse Akerman LLP acts for a diverse range of clients, receiving a steady flow of instructions from companies across the hospitality, restaurant, media, communications, banking and manufacturing sectors. It also leverages its Latin America and Caribbean practice in providing immigration services relating to those territories. Thomas Raleigh co-chairs the national group from Orlando and also covers a wide range of immigration work; his recent highlights included advising Qvantel USA on employing two H-1B employees and one Australian (E-3) to support the launch of its US affiliate business. Following the departure of Michael Benchetrit, the group is now led by Maria Casablanca, who joined the Miami office in 2016 from her own immigration firm, Casablanca & Associates.

Among the best in the country for corporate immigration’, Duane Morris LLP finds favor for its ‘excellent service and advice’. The group handles the full gamut of immigration work, including work permit, global visa and residence applications, compliance audits, in-house training, transactional support and removal issues. Among the names to note, Washington DC-based department head Denyse Sabagh is singled out as ‘a top immigration attorney who is very responsive to client needs’. Sabagh leads a six-partner team that acts for a broad mix of multinationals, medium-sized companies and start-ups, with particular experience in technology, media, manufacturing, life sciences, financial services and education; representative names include Bittorrent, SITA, Zensar Technologies and Apollo Education Group. San Francisco-based Lisa Spiegel is also recommended and recently assisted two major corporations to secure approvals for PERM applications that had previously been denied.

Texas stalwart Foster LLP focuses exclusively on immigration law from its three US bases in Houston, Austin and Rio Grande Valley - the firm also maintains a small international office in Mexico City. From Houston, firm founder and chairman Charles Foster spearheads a large team that is regularly called upon to advise on the full spectrum of visa issues, global compliance management and contentious work. EB-5 visas are a particular area of specialism and the firm is widely regarded as a leader in immigrant investor visa petitions. Clients include some of the largest employers worldwide, as well as emerging and mid-market companies and investors. Other high-profile names on the team include Austin-based Robert Loughran, who heads the emigration and employer sanctions practice, and Houston-based Judy Lee, who has strong expertise in non-immigrant visas and immigrant visa processing.

Knowledgeable, technical and great to deal with’, Greenberg Traurig LLP earns praise for its ‘extremely professional and effective lawyers’. Proficient across the full spread of immigration services, the team specializes in advising multinational corporations on strategic immigration planning - both into and out of the US. However, the group is also recognized for its strong skill sets in policy development, compliance matters and contentious work, as well as traditional visa issues. ‘Standout specialistLaura Reiff is ‘among the best in her field’, and splits her time between the firm’s McLean and Washington DC offices. Reiff co-chairs the practice alongside McLean-based Martha Schoonover, who is highlighted as ‘incredibly experienced’. Other recommended names in the team include Kate Kalmykov, who splits her time between New York and New Jersey, Atlanta-based Ian Macdonald and McLean-based Pamela Mak.

The ‘knowledgeable, dedicated and personable’ group at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP attracts rave reviews for being ‘all that you could ask for in a firm’. Theodore Ruthizer co-chairs the New York-based group and is singled out for his ‘peerless market knowledge’; Ruthizer has an impressive record, advising corporations, NGOs and financial services companies across all phases of the hiring, transfer and retention of foreign national professionals, investors and performing artists - he also advises on global workforce planning and mobility issues. The ‘phenomenal’ Mark Koestler is sought after for his experience in the advertising, media and technology fields; significantly, he represents more than one-third of the 50 largest US advertising agencies on the recruitment and retention of extraordinary talent. The ‘uniquely knowledgeable and reliable’ Matthew Dunn and the ‘extremely smart and very easy-to-work-with’ Allison Gray are also highly regarded.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s ‘excellent team’ is singled out for its ‘strong sector knowledge and fast response times’. Washington DC-based Eleanor Pelta is ‘a safe pair of hands for complex matters’ and co-chairs the firm’s global immigration practice alongside James Vázquez-Azpiri in San Francisco. The firm’s extensive international network and full-service offering enables it to provide a comprehensive inbound and outbound practice, advising on the full scope of global mobility issues. It blends its comprehensive coverage of US-related matters with experience in non-US visas and work permits, foreign employment laws, and taxation issues. Clients are drawn from a diverse spread of sectors, including technology, energy, financial services, life sciences and retail; Deutsche Post DHL, Samsung Research America and Fujitsu America are representative names.

A standout firm for major immigration issues’, Ogletree Deakins is ‘significantly better than its competitors’, according to some. The specialist employment firm’s large immigration practice particularly impresses with its ‘leading global reputation’ and ‘broad legal knowledge’. The firm assists domestic and multinational companies with the full scope of immigration issues, handling temporary employment visas, residency applications, corporate support and compliance. The firm maintains a joint venture with Emigra and works alongside the corporate immigration consultancy to advise on global immigration strategy, visa preparation and case management. Lawyers are ‘responsive and dependable’, with Raleigh-based practice lead Andrew Merrills highlighted as ‘outstanding’. Other key individuals in the team include Greenville-based Rebecca Sigmund, who has a broad practice covering the full spread of immigration issues, and Denver-based John Combs, who focuses on inbound immigration and related tax and export control matters.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice is evenly weighted between high-stakes immigration matters, transactional support and day-to-day issues. David Grunblatt is widely regarded as a market leader in immigration law and is highly sought after for his knowledge of the I-9 program, as well as complex corporate-related matters. Grunblatt leads the Newark-based practice.The group’s client base is broad and encompasses financial institutions, multinational corporations, non-profit NGOs, religious institutions and universities; representative clients include HSBC Bank USA, The New York Times Company and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Praveena Nallainathan recently left the firm.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, responsive and ethical’ team is ‘among the very best for global immigration issues’. Largely centered in Chicago, the department also has immigration specialists in Washington DC and Miami as well as across its huge global network. Chicago-based group head Betsy Morgan continues to act for AGCO Corporation on global immigration and related issues, including advising on the impact of a potential corporate reorganization. Ginger Partee is also recommended in Chicago. In Washington DC, the ‘extremely talented’ Shannon Donnelly is ‘superlative’; she leads the team’s management of the T Rowe Price immigration portfolio for the US, UK and Asia-Pacific regions and recently advised it on the development of new recruitment and immigration policies.

Always available and prompt to respond’, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s immigration team attracts praise for its ability to ‘speak in plain English and think level-headedly about business concerns’. From New York, the ‘very professional’ Robert Groban heads a five-partner group that provides the full range of corporate immigration services, with a strong showing in the healthcare space - it also regularly acts for clients in financial services, restaurants, hospitality, technology and fashion. Also in New York, Pierre Bonnefil ‘presents creative alternatives to achieve business goals’; as a former immigration trial attorney, Bonnefil brings to bear an impressive track record in enforcement matters. In Newark, ‘excellent immigration partner’Jungmin Choi stands out for her ‘intimate knowledge of the law and quick, well-thought-out advice’.

Labor and employment boutique Fisher & Phillips combines its 33 national offices with a network of local counsel on six continents, providing coverage of immigration issues globally. The large team has capabilities across the full range of visa procurement, global migration strategy and compliance matters and it is particularly well regarded for permanent residency matters. Atlanta-based Kim Thompson chairs the department and is widely recognized for her specialist skill set in EB-1 category cases, for clients such as scientists, Olympic athletes and internationally recognized academics. Thompson also specializes in governmental agency discrimination charges, and audits and investigations. Denver-based Jocelyn Campanaro is recommended for her sports practice - the hockey and equine areas are notable sweet spots.

Ford & Harrison LLP advises across the full life cycle of immigration issues, from start-up advice for new companies, through to volume immigration management, visa services, expatriate tax, compliance training and administrative appeals and litigation. Los Angeles-based Geetha Nadiminti Adinata chairs a team with a genuine coast-to-coast presence, calling on immigration professionals from California to Massachusetts. Travel (particularly aviation), healthcare and technology are notable areas of strength, though the group acts for a broad range of clients. Representative names include CCP North America, Hi-Rez Studios and Imerys. Minneapolis-based Charles Roach is also a key name in the group. In 2016, the Washington DC office saw the departure of Mary Pivec, who left to form her own firm.

In addition to advising on traditional visa and immigration matters, Hogan Lovells US LLP utilizes its global full-service platform to provide strong supplementary expertise in corporate, tax, national security and labor matters. Group co-lead Beth Peters is also a director of the firm’s international trade and investment group and specializes in advising on immigration matters involving complex export issues for clients such as 21st Century Fox and Carnival Cruise Lines. Aleksandar Dukic co-chairs the Washington DC-based group and also has solid experience in security-related immigration matters. Dukic’s recent work includes advising Intrexon on obtaining authorization for its foreign national scientists to work in the US - both temporary non-immigrant visas and permanent residency applications.

Jackson Lewis P.C.’s ‘solution-oriented and timely team’ stands out for its ‘excellent cost value’ and ‘outstanding work product’. The group advises on non-immigrant and immigrant visas, regulatory compliance, transactional support matters, policy advocacy and outbound immigration. Omaha-based department co-leadAmy Peck maintains a broad practice and successfully represented a client in an Office of Special Counsel investigation concerning allegations of immigration-related discrimination in hiring practices. Reston-based co-lead Michael Neifach is also a key name in the team and recently acted alongside ‘committed and creative’ Nicola Prall in the Raleigh office to successfully advise a foreign national executive denied admission while traveling to the US for business. Austin-based Maggie Murphy is also recommended. In 2016, Forrest Read was promoted to partner in the Reston office.

The ‘outstanding immigration department’ at Mayer Brown calls on the services of ‘some of the best lawyers in the field’. Led from Washington DC, the firm’s extensive global network ensures an ‘efficient and effective approach to multinational visa management’. The group also handles compliances matters, M&A due diligence, policy development and enforcement issues. Department lead Elizabeth Stern is ‘very experienced’ and acted with global mobility specialist Grace Shie and ‘very impressive and knowledgeable’ associate Timothy D’Arduini to advise American Express on various immigration matters, including the development of a bespoke PERM optimization program. Paul Virtue is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s immigration department is led from New York by Joan-Elisse Carpentier, who has strong experience in advising on immigrant and non-immigrant visas, citizenship matters, compliance programs, government audits and transactional support. The media and entertainment industry is a significant source of work and Carpentier continues to provide ongoing advice to broadcaster CBS on H-1B visa matters. Other recent highlights include successfully assisting the Wildlife Conservation Society on transferring a leading animal pathologist from Canada to the US on the NAFTA TN-1 visa. Enstar, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Sonar Entertainment are also on the group’s books.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has a diverse Boston-led practice that has recently advised sports teams, technology companies, universities and financial services companies on immigration matters. Department chair Susan Cohen, widely recognized as a market leader, teamed up with immigration section manager Kevin McNamara to assist the Caribbean Premier League, a professional cricket league, on obtaining visas for its coaches, umpires, referees and six teams to come to the US for a four-day tournament. The firm has also recently advised on permanent residency issues, training programs and transactional support. Other representative clients include SPC America, HRD Marine and Boston College.

Atlanta-headquartered Arnall Golden Gregory LLP has a strong firm-wide focus on mid-market companies and provides a ‘cost-effective and highly efficient’ immigration practice delivering ‘excellent added value’. The firm covers a diverse spread of industries, including automotive, construction, hospitality, technology and public housing. In addition to advising on traditional immigration matters, such as visa procurement, compliance issues and investigations, the team leverages its Washington DC office to advise on policy matters. Atlanta-based Teri Simmons heads the international immigration and naturalization department.

In 2016, Baker & Hostetler LLP significantly boosted its practice with the hire of immigration specialist James Levine, who joined the Atlanta office from Dentons. The firm advises across the full scope of issues, including temporary work visas, permanent residency visas and compliance audits, and clients include major names within the IT, healthcare, engineering and sports industries. Among the firm’s recent work, it has represented IndyCar and Nascar drivers and support professionals in visa and green card matters. Columbus-based litigator Matthew Hoyt leads the department and has strong experience in employment law and contentious matters, as well as traditional business immigration matters.

Houston-headquartered Bracewell LLP’s reputation in the energy arena ensures that its ‘excellent’ immigration practice receives a steady flow of matters from oil and gas and power industry clients. However, it also has sound experience in technology, life sciences and healthcare. San Antonio managing partner Victoria Garcia heads the group and is revered by clients for her ‘strong knowledge, business acumen and client-focused service’. Garcia continues to advise Valero Energy on all immigration matters, including the preparation of non-immigrant, resident status and citizenship visas, employee applications for asylum, government auditing and compliance trends.

Single-site boutique Chin & Curtis LLP focuses exclusively on immigration law from its Boston base, handling a comprehensive spread of non-immigrant visa applications, permanent residency and naturalization issues, compliance matters and policy drafting. The firm’s client base is equally broad and it regularly acts for start-ups and NGOs right through to major multinational companies. Managing partner Philip Curtis is recommended and brings over 30 years of experience to his role. Lorie Lunn and senior counsel Francis Chin are also key names in the team.

Dentons’ immigration practice may be small nationally, but the two-lawyer team benefits from the support of a sizable global group. Group head Matthew Schulz is based in Silicon Valley, and unsurprisingly therefore the practice has a strong technology bent - although it also routinely represents clients in entertainment, agribusiness and financial services. Recent work includes advising Moviepilot on bringing key staff from Berlin to Hollywood to support the company’s growth. The team has also recently undertaken work for Driscoll Strawberry Associates and ROC-Connect. James Levine left to join Baker & Hostetler LLP in 2016.

Dykema Gossett PLLC’s practice has strength across the full spread of visa processing procedures, labor certification applications, immigration sponsorship and naturalization issues. The group also has considerable firepower on the contentious side and advises on worksite enforcement, removal issues and database errors. El Paso-based Kathleen Campbell Walker heads the practice and is an ‘extremely experienced and well-thought-of immigration specialist’; she is particularly sought after by healthcare providers, global manufacturers, energy companies, construction companies and financial services clients. The national practice also includes Michigan-based litigator James Aldrich, who has a strong track record in representing clients before USCIS and other government agencies.

New York’s Laura Devine Attorneys LLC is the US associate office of top-tier British immigration boutique Laura Devine Solicitors. Its transatlantic model translates into a leading practice advising on cross-border issues between the UK and US, and it is particularly renowned for its strong relationships with government bodies in both counties. Managing partner Anastasia Tonello heads a team of ‘very efficient and plain-speaking’ lawyers, which also includes senior associates Jennifer Stevens, who is ‘utterly fantastic’, and Jessica Churchman, who is ‘always clear on costs and timeline expectations’. Clients are drawn from the finance, fashion, technology, business and entertainment industries, among others, and it also represents several high-profile high-net-worth individuals.

Pryor Cashman LLP remains a key player in sports immigration matters, representing a wide variety of leagues, teams and athletes, including the National Basketball Association and various teams in the National Hockey League. It also has strength in advising on immigration issues in the education, entertainment, financial services, pharmaceutical and technology sectors. Colleen Caden chairs the New York-based team and is recommended for her experience in immigration planning, policy development and corporate support issues. The group also includes Avram Morell, who is widely regarded as ‘a go-to lawyer for complex issues’; he is regularly called upon by financial services clients to advise on global mobility issues, foreign talent recruitment, I-9 procedures and audits, and compliance matters.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘impressive’ two-partner group ‘operates at the cutting edge of business immigration law’, according to sources. Department lead Timothy Payne is an ‘excellent lawyer with exceptional expertise in business immigration’; he has a strong focus on temporary and permanent residency processing for executives, specialized workers and other professionals. The Chicago-based team also includes Marketa Lindt, who combines ‘top-tier professional expertise, sound judgment and strategic thinking’; Lindt heads the firm’s I-9 practice and is highly regarded for compliance and enforcement defense. The firm has recently advised major multinational companies, banks, funds and financial institutions on strategic immigration matters.

Highly responsive’ and ‘able to anticipate issues before they arise’, Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s ‘strong team’ also attracts praise for being ‘built around immense experience and deep knowledge’. The ‘singularly exceptional’ Lynda Zengerle leads the Washington DC-based department and is ‘simply in another class altogether’, according to some. Zengerle advised Honda Americas R&D and Honda Performance Development on their immigration policies and procedures. Of counsel Elizabeth Laskey LaRocca leads the firm’s immigration advice to cement giant Holcim, including handling compliance matters, blanket L transfers and TN, H-1B, PERM and I-140 petitions.

Troutman Sanders’ immigration practice is based in the firm’s Atlanta office and is highlighted by many as ‘one of the best teams in Georgia’. Mark Newman is singled out for his ‘leading sector knowledge and great connections’; he heads an ‘efficient and client-focused’ group that assists with the full spectrum of corporate immigration issues, including visa procurement, training, compliance and advocacy. The group is especially recognized for its strength in contentious matters and routinely handles appeals, re-filings and requests for evidence. Of counsel Robert Lee is also an active member of the team.

Full-service firm Vedder Price has a strong visa procurement practice, which drafts and files temporary and permanent applications on behalf of clients from nearly every continent. The group also works closely with other departments within the firm to advise on immigration matters arising from corporate deals. Gabrielle Buckley co-chairs the team from Chicago and leads the firm’s advice to Mercedes-Benz US on immigration matters including I-9 compliance, non-immigrant visas, permanent residency applications and contentious matters. Other representative clients include AXA Assistance USA, Bank of Ireland and Dyson. Chicago-based counsel Sara DeBlaze co-chairs the practice and is also recommended.


Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense

Index of tables

  1. Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense
  2. Leading individual
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is at the forefront of class actions concerning independent contractor misclassification and arbitration agreements. Alongside Orange County’s Michele Maryott, Los Angeles-based trio Catherine Conway, who co-chairs the practice, Theodore Boutrous and Jesse Cripps are defending Chevron USA in an ongoing nationwide collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), where former well site managers allege that the defendant misclassified them as independent contractors; under California law, the plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime as well as penalties for missed meal and rest breaks, improper wage statements and waiting time. In Washington DC, practice co-chair Jason Schwartz and Eugene Scalia acted for Cablevision (now Altice USA) and its CEO in a high-profile dispute with the Communications Workers of America before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which brought nine unfair labor charges against the company, including claims that Cablevision terminated the employment of a union leader in retaliation for union activities. Schwartz and Dallas-based Karl Nelson enjoined an employee’s attempt to bring a discrimination class action against AlixPartners through arbitration. PwC, Uber and Michaels Stores are additional clients. Julian Poon in Los Angeles, New York-based Gabrielle Levin and Washington DC-based William Kilberg and Joshua Lipshutz also stand out.

Jones Day fields a team of ‘zealous and effective advocates’ and makes ‘a tremendous business partner’. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Matthew Lampe leads the practice with Michael Gray, who is ‘arguably the finest attorney in the country’. Gray, Brent Knight, Elizabeth McRee and of counsel Cindi Ritchey are representing McDonald’s in an ongoing wage and hour class action with over 30,000 former and current non-exempt employees alleging that the fast-food chain violated several conditions of the California Labor Code (CLC) and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), including overtime pay and meal and rest break requirements; in 2016, the defendant’s motion to strike the PAGA claims was granted and the team is handling the plaintiffs’ second motion for class certification. New clients include AMG Resources, Virgin America and Ecolab. Jacqueline Holmes, Donald Munro, Eric Dreiband, Alison Marshall and Patricia Dunn are key figures in the Washington DC office and were joined by recent hires Elizabeth Dougherty and Douglas Hall from Ogletree Deakins and Ford & Harrison LLP respectively. Efrat Schulman is ‘outstanding’ and Lawrence DiNardo, Jonathan Linas, David Birnbaum, Willis Goldsmith, Doreen Davis and the ‘very thorough’ Terri Chase are also recommended. The firm launched its Minneapolis office with several hires, including Roy Ginsburg from Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Fred Alvarez is now of counsel and Lindsay Hedrick made partner. The team fields experts in Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego and Silicon Valley.

The ‘strong team’ at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is adept at handling federal, state and local law, FLSA litigation, and whistleblower, discrimination and various other disputes. Robert Jon Hendricks and Ira Rosenstein won a significant dispute for Delta Air Lines against flight attendants challenging the company’s pay structure under California minimum wage law. Another highlight saw Michelle Seldin Silverman and Terry Johnson defend the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in a dispute with female employees, who claimed that the hotel’s appearance and weight policies amounted to systematic discrimination and harassment. Under Grace Speights’ leadership, the practice gained Aecom, Warner Bros and Billabong US as new clients. Former practice head Joseph Costello, Richard Rosenblatt, Samuel Shaulson, Michael Puma and Anne Marie Estevez are highly regarded, as are Eric Meckley, Melinda Riechert and Michael Burkhardt. Sarah Bouchard is ‘excellent’ and Barbara Miller ‘develops strategy that produces successful results’. Ethel Johnson arrived from Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP and Melissa Rodriguez’s and W. John Lee were made up to partner. The named individuals are based in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco, Silicon Valley or Washington DC.

Singled out for sports, entertainment and retail sector work, Proskauer Rose LLP acts for Marvel Entertainment, Sony Music, Marc Jacobs, National Hockey League and other large employers. Howard Ganz, who co-chairs the sports law group, Elise Bloom, labor expert Neil Abramson and Adam Lupion are representing Major League Baseball and all 30 of its clubs in a wage and hour putative class action with minor league baseball players alleging that they are owed minimum and overtime wages. Bettina Plevan and Kathleen McKenna handle disputes ranging from racial discrimination to sexual harassment cases, often on behalf of law firms. Other work for the practice included handling class actions that challenged unpaid internships, breach of contract claims and enforcing restrictive covenants. Joseph Baumgarten and Gregory Rasin head the department, which consists of specialist teams, including Elise Bloom’s and Boston-based Mark Batten’s class and collective actions group. Keisha-Ann Gray, Zachary Fasman, senior counsel Harris Mufson and Allan Bloom are recommended, along with Los Angeles-based Anthony Oncidi and Chicago’s Steven Pearlman and Nigel Telman. Guy Brenner and Connie Bertram, who are in Washington DC, and John Barry, who splits his time between New York and Newark, are also noted, as is Boca Raton-based special employment law counsel Jurate Schwartz. Evandro Gigante, Patrick Lamparello and New Orleans-based Nicole Eichberger made partner. Katharine Parker is now a magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Aviation expert O’Melveny & Myers LLP counts American Airlines, Republic Airways and Spirit Airlines as clients, and also acts for Disney, Bank of America and Marriott International. San Francisco-based Adam KohSweeney and Los Angeles’ Robert Siegel defended United Airlines in a class action brought by pilots alleging a violation of the CLC by issuing inaccurate wage statements; the court found that state law was not applicable if individuals work primarily outside of the state’s borders. The practice also handled sexual harassment, independent contractor misclassification, unfair competition and other claims. Los Angeles-based practice head Apalla Chopra and Silicon Valley’s Eric Amdursky are well respected and Newport Beach-based Adam Karr is a rising star. Jeffrey Kohn and Mark Robertson are the main contacts in New York. New clients include Redfin and Brigham Young University.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has ‘a very strong and effective’ practice and recent experience handling whistleblower cases. Renee Phillips and department head Mike Delikat, who are based in New York, and San Francisco-based white-collar expert Kenneth Herzinger are representing Oracle in an ongoing Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and Dodd-Frank whistleblower dispute with a former senior finance manager, who alleges her employment was terminated in retaliation for refusing to use improper accounting practices. Silicon Valley’s Lynne Hermle and Julia Riechert, together with Fox Rothschild LLP, defended new client SpaceX against sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation claims brought by a former welder in California. Other clients include Facebook, Fujitsu and CVS Pharmacy. James McQuade, Jill Rosenberg and Laura Becking are names to note in New York, along with senior associate Lisa Lupion. Silicon-Valley based Joseph Liburt is highly respected and Jessica Perry provides ‘great case management and strategic advice’. In San Francisco, Michael Weil and deputy practice head Andrew Livingston are well regarded. Patricia Gillette is now with Jams.

Paul Hastings LLP handles an array of class actions and individual cases, including wage and hour, systemic discrimination and whistleblowing disputes. Leslie Abbott is defending Activision Blizzard in an ongoing misclassification and overtime dispute with a former employee. Marc Bernstein represented TransRe in a SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against an employee. Other clients include CVC Capital Partners, General Electric and Unum. Additional names to note include practice head Patrick Shea, Jeffrey Wohl, Zach Hutton, Kenneth Willner, Barbara Brown, Neal Mollen, Carson Sullivan, Nancy Abell, Donna Melby, George Abele, Elena Baca, Stephen Sonnenberg, Kenneth Gage and associate Felicia Davis. Named attorneys are based across Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is best known for handling high-stakes class and collective actions across the spectrum of labor and employment disputes. Richard Alfred is defending Wells Fargo in a California and New York Rule 23 class action against former hourly paid employees; Alfred defeated a motion for statewide class certification in New York and also obtained the dismissal of a nationwide FLSA collective action. The ‘top-notchCamille Olson and Richard Lapp, together with three other law firms, protected HP’s trade secrets against misappropriation by former CEO Mark Hurd, who resigned to join Oracle. Other clients include Spectra Energy and Tesla. Practice head Lisa Damon, Gerald Maatman, Ada Dolph, Andrew Paley, Matthew Gagnon, Brett Bartlett, Robert Stevens, ‘stellar mentorBrian Ashe, managing partner Christian Rowley and associate managing partner Ariel Cudkowicz are highly respected. Robert Fisher joined from Foley Hoag LLP and the ‘invaluableChelsea Mesa, Candace Bertoldi and Justin Curley were among those who made partner. Giselle Donado joined RR Donnelley. Named attorneys are based across Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles (Century City and Downtown), New York and San Francisco.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s expertise includes restrictive covenant, discrimination, and wage and hour litigation. Practice head Jeffrey Klein represents Perella Weinberg Partners in ongoing litigation against four former senior employees that allegedly breached their non-solicitation obligations and fiduciary duties; the defendants filed counterclaims against the client and three of its partners relating to invalid non-solicitation covenants, wrongful termination, deferred compensation and other allegations. Gary Friedman acted for Tuesday Morning in two putative California wage and hour class actions, and ERISA expert Nicholas Pappas defended Marsh & McLennan Companies in a dispute with two former executives, who sought severance benefits and compensation for stock options following termination of their employment for not cooperating with an internal investigation. Other clients include Elite Model Management and Kroll. Counsels Lawrence Baer and Millie Warner are highly regarded, as is associate Ami Zweig. Named attorneys work out of New York.

Jonathan Sulds, Peter Zinober and David Long-Daniels are the co-chairs at Greenberg Traurig LLP, which sets itself apart with ‘the quality and practicality of its advice’. Long-Daniels defended Zaxby’s in a putative FLSA collective action brought by employees pertaining to overtime and misclassification claims, and individual retaliation and harassment allegations. Genesis HealthCare and Kellogg’s are also clients. Todd Wozniak’s ‘experience is invaluable’ and James Boudreau, Jerrold Goldberg, Justin Keith and class and collective action practice co-chair Mark Kemple are highly recommended. In New Jersey, Robert Bernstein, Wendy Johnson Lario, Micala Campbell Robinson and Kristine Feher are experts. Koray Bulut joined Goodwin. Named attorneys are stationed in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia and Tampa unless otherwise stated.

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Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP handled Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) disputes for financial and real estate companies in matters including discrimination, harassment, deferred compensation and restrictive covenants. Practice head Kevin Leblang and special counsel Eliza Kaiser are defending Société Générale in a pending sexual orientation harassment suit brought by a former employee, and are also representing the company in three FINRA arbitrations with current and former employees pertaining to compensation and discrimination claims. Executive compensation co-chair Robert Holtzman acts for Andersen Tax in ongoing restrictive covenant litigation against its competitor BlumShapiro regarding the hire of one of the plaintiff’s partners and subsequent client departures. Other clients include Madison Square Garden and Macquarie Group. All attorneys are based in New York.

Boutique employment firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. has shaped legislation by acting against government agencies in high-profile litigation. Maury Baskin, Tammy McCutchen and Robert Friedman, who co-heads the alternative dispute resolution team, represented a coalition of 14 national and 41 state business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and National Retail Federation, in opposing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulations on increasing minimum wage by redefining which employees are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements in the FLSA; a preliminary injunction enjoined the rule and the DOL filed an appeal in December 2016. Other recent cases include prevailing wage actions, restrictive covenant enforcement and whistleblower retaliation claims. BJ’s Wholesale Club, Quantlab and Phillips 66 are also clients. Co-presidents and managing directors Thomas Bender and Jeremy Roth, along with Danielle Kitson, Kevin Lilly, and litigation and trial practice co-chairs Helene Wasserman and Richard Harris, are names to note. Curtis Summers’ hire from Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP was among personnel changes. Attorneys are based across the firm’s Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles (Century City and Downtown), Newark, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington DC offices.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP excels in retail, entertainment and healthcare sector mandates. The firm handled various disputes for hospitals, major film studios and multinational retailers, including labor arbitrations, wage and hour class actions and various discrimination cases. Los Angeles-based Rebecca Torrey obtained the dismissal of a putative PAGA class action for Quemetco, which faced allegations of labor code violations, failure to pay minimum and overtime wages, and prohibiting meal and rest breaks. The practice is especially strong in California, with Mandana Massoumi, Sandra King, Andrew Satenberg, Alan Brunswick and Sharon Bauman working out of the firm’s offices in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Deborah Kelly joined the Washington DC office from Blank Rome LLP.

Ogletree Deakins has experience in opposing regulatory changes. Jeffrey Londa in Houston, traditional labor co-head Brian Hayes and Christopher Murray challenged the DOL’s passing of the ‘persuader rule’, successfully obtaining a nationwide injunction on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business, Texas Association of Business, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Home Builders and the Texas Association of Builders. Danuta Bembenista Panich represented Duke University and Wake Forest University in successfully defeating a putative class action against former student athletes, who claimed they should have been classified as employees earning minimum wage under the FLSA. C. Matthew Keen took over as the firm’s managing shareholder from Kim Ebert, who remains active. Jack Sholkoff and Ron Chapman are additional contacts and Anthony DeCristoforo joined the firm’s recently opened Sacramento office from Stoel Rives LLP. Unless stated otherwise, attorneys are located in either Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Raleigh or Washington DC.

The ‘exceptionalReed Smith LLP has been acting for financial services and cosmetics companies in wage and hour class and collective actions. Thomas Hill and Linda Husar, who are based in Los Angeles, are defending Estée Lauder Companies, Aveda and Aveda Institute in an ongoing arbitration concerning a putative nationwide FLSA collective and California wage and hour class action filed by former students of the Aveda institute, who allege that they are unpaid workers and that the defendants act as joint employers. Other clients include PNC and GrubHub. Philadelphia-based practice head Sara Begley is an ‘excellent trial attorney’ and Mark Temple, who divides his time between Houston and Chicago, ‘can be relied upon consistently’. Pittsburgh-based Rick Etter and Casey Ryan are highly regarded.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP handles all manner of disputes, ranging from harassment to employee misclassification claims. Los Angeles’ Derek Havel led a successful defense for Whole Foods Market against a harassment action brought by a former employee; Tracey Kennedy defended Taco Bell in a PAGA wage and hour class action filed by three certified classes comprising former and current workers, which sought compensation for alleged meal and rest break violations and waiting time penalties. The group also has notable sector strength in the insurance, telecoms and financial services industries. Orange County’s Greg Labate, New York-based Jonathan Stoler and Kelly Hensley, who is based in Los Angeles with Richard Simmons, are the practice co-heads. Brian Murphy is also noted in New York. Washington DC-based Garen Dodge and San Diego’s Adam Rosenthal joined from Jackson Lewis P.C. and Littler Mendelson, P.C. respectively. Michael Gallion, Kate Visosky and special counsel David Van Pelt moved to Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, while Brian Arbetter joined Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. Century City-based Paul Berkowitz and Lisa Harris, who splits her time between Century City and New York, made partner.

Winston & Strawn LLP defends against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and NLRB charges, as well as whistleblowing and hostile work environment claims, among other high-stakes matters. Washington DC-based William Miossi obtained affirmation of a summary judgment at the Ninth Circuit for Energy Northwest pertaining to a whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a former employee. Rex Sessions represents LVMH in a range of disputes, including hostile work environment, discrimination and breach of contract claims. Other clients include Abbott and CR Bard. Michael Roche is the practice head, Joan Tucker Fife, who is the managing partner in San Francisco, is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ for wage and hour class actions and Joseph Torresis extremely knowledgeable’. Michael Mulhern, Daniel Fazio, Aviva Grumet-Morris and New York-based Stephen Sheinfeld are key players, as are Marcus Torrano and Laura Petroff in Los Angeles. John Dickman joined Ogletree Deakins and Julie Capell is now with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Attorneys are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP excels in the sports sector. Washington DC-based Daniel Nash and Stacey Recht Eisenstein acted for the National Football League (NFL) in high-profile arbitration and court proceedings with the NFL Players Association and Tom Brady pertaining to the player’s four-game suspension for involvement in ‘Deflategate’. Other clients include Ernst & Young, Starbucks and the United States Tennis Association. Practice head Robert Lian is based in Washington DC, Richard Rabin is the key contact in New York, Gary McLaughlin is singled out in Los Angeles and the experienced Nathan Oleson rejoined the Washington DC office from an in-house position at 24 Hour Fitness.

Trade secret litigation and FLSA wage and hour class and collective actions are Baker & Hostetler LLP’s core strengths. Houston-based Edward Friedman represented M-I Swaco in a complex non-compete invalidation action against a former employee, which also included a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation counterclaim against the plaintiff and the client’s competitors. The case was heard before the Supreme Court of Texas and provided a statement of opinion to support the inevitable disclosure doctrine, ruling that under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a competitor’s representatives may be excluded from an injunction hearing if trade secret testimony is being heard. The firm also acts for companies in the IT, transport and retail sectors. Washington DC-based David Grant heads the practice and other key figures include Kevin Shaughnessy in Orlando, Drew Tipton in Houston and Los Angeles-based Margaret Rosenthal. Eric Barnum joined the Atlanta office from Schiff Hardin LLP. S. Jeanine Conley is now with Littler Mendelson, P.C..

Employers in sectors ranging from energy to hospitality retained Baker McKenzie LLP in a broad range of matters, including unpaid overtime, EEOC discrimination and wrongful termination disputes. The firm obtained a dismissal at the Fifth Circuit of a former employee’s attempt to revive a putative class action against DynCorp regarding allegations that the company failed to provide overtime pay and benefits earned on a Kuwaiti logistics contract for the US Army. Scott Nelson and Emily Paige Harbison, who are in Houston, have brought proceedings against a former employee and their new employer on behalf of Netsync Network Solutions, which has filed trade secret misuse and breach of contract claims. The group comprises several statewide practices, with Nelson heading the Texas group, Robert Lewis leading New York’s offering, and Chicago-based Ryan Vann and Arthur Rooney chairing the Illinois practice. Houston-based Richard Hammett is managing partner of the firm’s North America region and is noted alongside Douglas Darch and recently promoted partner Miriam Geraghty Petrillo, who are based in Chicago. Of counsel Kevin Whittaker has taken over as head of the California group following Cynthia Jackson’s move to Dentons.

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP’s caseload included student misclassification class actions, trade secret and disability discrimination matters. The practice is representing Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA in a multimillion-dollar trade secret misappropriation case filed against seven former employees and their new employer. Other clients include healthcare, logistics and hospitality companies. Donald Prophete, who splits his time between Kansas City and New York, is noted along with practice head Neil Wasser, who is based in Atlanta. The firm established a San Francisco office with the hire of L. Julius Turman from Reed Smith LLP and bolstered its offering in Century City with the arrivals of senior counsel Steven Katz from the same firm and Kimberly Talley from Sanchez & Amador, LLP. Kate Scarbrough and Megan Walawender moved in-house with Curo Health Services and The University of Kansas respectively. Christopher Pardo in Boston and Macon-based Alyssa Peters made partner.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s expertise includes NLRB cases, employment-focused litigation, and wage and hour, discrimination and harassment class actions. Daniel Turinsky in New York and New Jersey-based litigator Joseph Domenick Guarino are defending Al Jazeera America and its CEO in an ongoing race discrimination and retaliation dispute with its former executive vice president of finance. Verizon Wireless, Allegion and Republic Services are other clients. Practice head Michael Sheehan, who divides his time between Chicago and New York, Maria Rodriguez in Los Angeles, Brian Kaplan, Joseph Alan Piesco and Eric Wallach, who are based in New York, and Chicago-based Rachel Cowen are highly regarded. Ron Holland, Ellen Bronchetti and Pankit Doshi joined the San Francisco office from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, Mary Dollarhide joined in San Diego from Paul Hastings LLP and Cathryn Le Regulski in Northern Virginia made partner.

At Dentons, Sandra McCandless, who divides her time between the firm’s San Francisco, Oakland and Silicon Valley offices, is defending Betty White in an ongoing wage and hour lawsuit filed by a former housekeeper, who is bringing claims including failure to pay minimum and overtime wages. Spencer Capital, Precision Spine and Enstar are also clients. Practice head Brian Cousin and Richard Scharlat are the primary contacts in New York and Short Hills, with Jim McNeill the name to note in San Diego and Los Angeles. Cynthia Jackson joined the Silicon Valley office from Baker McKenzie LLP and was among several recent partner hires.

At Dickinson Wright PLLC, Nashville-based M. Reid Estes heads the practice, which acts for high-profile clients including McDonald’s, Delta Air Lines and Carhartt. Lexington-based Brian Johnson represented Philips, the parent company of Philips Electronics North America, in a putative class action brought by former employees of the latter, pertaining to how much control the company had over its subsidiary’s operations following injuries sustained by employees following exposure to hazardous substances. Other work included handling age discrimination, whistleblower retaliation and employee misclassification disputes. Kathryn Wood and Timothy Howlett are recommended in Troy and Detroit respectively.

The ‘exceptional’ team at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has notable strength in the healthcare and financial services sectors - handling work for JPMorgan Chase and Northwell Health - and it also acts for AXA, Honeywell and Interpublic Group of Companies. John Fullerton won a long-running origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit for Staten Island University Hospital, its CEO and pathology department chair. Practice head David Garland, Barry Asen and Ronald Green are defending Fox News in a retaliation case with former host Andrea Tantaros, who claims that she was pulled off the air after making sexual harassment allegations. Michael Kun is the ‘go-to person in California’, Frank Morris’ ‘knowledge and guidance are invaluable’ and Garland is ‘peerless in the courtroom’. Patrick Brady, Allen Roberts, Carmine Iannaccone, Daniel Levy and Deborah DeHart Cannavino are also noted. Marisa Ratinoff left to establish MSR Dispute Resolution. Named partners work out of either Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Stamford or Washington DC.

Boutique firm Fisher & Phillips undertakes a range of work through specialist groups, including the class and collective actions team and the recently launched pay equity practice. Atlanta-based Michael Elkon acted for Cowabunga in a collective arbitration action brought by delivery drivers that claimed the defendant violated the FLSA by failing to reimburse them for vehicle expenses, which allegedly caused pay to fall below the minimum wage. Managing partner Suzanne Bogdan and of counsel Candice Pinares-Baez are noted names in Fort Lauderdale, along with James Polkinghorn, who also practices in Washington DC. Boston managing partner Joseph Ambash, San Diego-based David Monks and Christopher Boman and Boris Sorsher, who are in Irvine, are well regarded. The firm established an office in New York by hiring Brian Gershengorn and Michael Marra from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC. Jeffrey Fritz and Ted Boehm, who are based in Boston and Atlanta respectively, were made up to partner.

Jackson Lewis P.C. has specialist employment teams including a general employment litigation practice - led by John Nolan in Philadelphia and Chicago-based Nadine Abrahams - and a class actions and complex litigation group, which is co-chaired by Orlando’s Stephanie Adler-Paindiris and William Anthony, who splits his time between Albany and Hartford. Morristown-based John Bennett represented Merck in proceedings before the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which brought an end to a wrongful discharge dispute with a former senior systems programmer. Other clients include CVS Health, Mercedes-Benz and Anheuser-Busch. Firm chairman Vincent Cino, also in Morristown, heads the practice. Mark Tilkens and Mia Farber are names to note in Madison and Los Angeles respectively. The firm continued its rapid expansion by absorbing Denlinger, Rosenthal & Greenberg’s team in Cincinnati, recruiting a number of attorneys from Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP in Albany and making a number of other hires. Sacramento-based Nathan Austin and Miami’s Jason Berkowitz were among those promoted to principal.

K&L Gates has experience in class actions, single-plaintiff litigation and cases initiated by government agencies. Rosemary Alito heads the practice from Newark, where recently promoted partner George Barbatsuly and litigator Christopher Carton are representing L’Oréal USA in a wrongful termination and retaliation dispute with a former in-house patent attorney. Seattle-based Patrick Madden acted for Club Assist in a putative class and collective FLSA action against hundreds of drivers allegedly denied minimum wage and overtime pay by being misclassified as contractors or employees of contractors. The firm gained an international business school, a global fast-food restaurant chain and an online dating products company as new clients. Houston-based Nickolas Spiliotis was a key hire from Jackson Walker L.L.P. and Sang-yul Lee joined the Chicago office from Locke Lord LLP.

Mayer Brown’s recent caseload included SOX whistleblower, FLSA class and collective actions, trade secret and Fair Credit Reporting Act cases. Los Angeles-based co-chair John Zaimes and litigator John Nadolenco are defending PetSmart in an ongoing national FLSA collective and Rule 23 class action involving misclassification and related overtime claims brought by employees in California, New York, Missouri and Connecticut. The varied client roster includes financial institutions, and companies in the food and transport sectors. Marcia Goodman jointly heads the practice from the Chicago office, where ERISA expert Laura Hammargren and Andrew Rosenman are also based.

Ropes & Gray LLP has ‘a top-notch’ group, which acts for clients including Harvard College and TPG Capital. Practice head Jeffrey Webb’s ‘greatest quality is his expertise’ in litigation, arbitration, class actions and senior executive disputes. Recent highlights for Webb, who divides his time between Boston and San Francisco, included representing Bill’s Taxi in a putative wage and hour class action before a federal court and, together with counsel Jenny Cooper, defending Eminent in restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation with Bop, which attempted to prevent an employee from moving to Eminent. Megan Bisk was promoted to the partnership. Named attorneys are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

Under the leadership of Chicago’s Brian Gold and Los Angeles’ Jennifer Zargarof, Sidley Austin LLP defends employers against everything from discrimination to unfair labor charges. Douglas Hart, another key figure in Los Angeles, has been acting for CVS Health in a number of class actions and individual cases spanning the US and, in one matter, Hart successfully decertified a class of 70,000 retail store employees; the case is ongoing and the dispute relates to bag checks and security inspections. Nordstrom and Disney are also clients. Former joint head Wendy Lazerson leads the Northern California labor and employment group from Palo Alto and is highly experienced. Eric Suits left the firm.

As well as labor disputes, Vedder Price handles trade secret misappropriation, FLSA collective actions and sexual harassment cases. Patrick Spangler acted for MCA Trading in a financial services arbitration before Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, in which former employees challenged the company’s discretionary bonus structure and raised claims for unpaid bonuses. Burberry, Herrick and A+E Networks are also clients. Heather Sager, who chairs the employment class action group, and Brendan Dolan are key names in San Francisco and Thomas Petrides is the primary contact in Los Angeles. Practice head Thomas Wilde, Nicholas Anaclerio and Elizabeth Hall are also noted. Blythe Lovinger joined the New York office from Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP. Named attorneys are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.


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 lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • David Borgen - Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho
    • Eve Cervantez - Altshuler Berzon
    • James Finberg - Altshuler Berzon
    • Adam Klein - Outten & Golden LLP
    • David Lowe - Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP
    • Michael Rubin - Altshuler Berzon

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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San Francisco-based Altshuler Berzon undertakes individual litigation and class and collective actions before state and federal courts and government agencies, and also handles arbitration. The firm represents unions and employees from diverse professions, such as teaching and nursing, in disputes ranging from unfair labor charges to misclassification, discrimination, and wage and hour disputes. James Finberg and recently promoted partner P. Casey Pitts won an Eleventh Circuit collective action appeal against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and its two hiring agencies, which was brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by a job applicant. Finberg, in conjunction with Eve Cervantez and Eileen Goldsmith, also brought a wage and hour class action against Pizza Hut on behalf of hourly employees in California restaurants, who alleged prohibited meal and rest breaks and failure to reimburse workers for expenses. Michael Rubin, Barbara Chisholm, Stacey Leyton and Peder Thoreen are also recommended.

Led by Kelly Dermody, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP’s employment-focused practice excels in discrimination, wage and hour, whistleblower and ERISA disputes. The firm is representing a radiologist and class members in a class action filed against Duke University, Duke University Health System and the dean of UNC School of Medicine; the plaintiff alleged that the institutions blocked lateral hires from each other’s faculties through a no-poaching employment agreement and suppressed wages by colluding with one another. Dermody and Anne Shaver, together with co-counsel Sanford Heisler, LLP, are representing female employees in an ongoing $350m gender discrimination class action brought against KPMG that centers on claims pertaining to denied promotions and maternity leave discrimination. Daniel Hutchinson, Lin Chan and New York-based whistleblowing expert Rachel Geman are highly regarded. Named attorneys work in San Francisco unless stated otherwise,

At Outten & Golden LLP, deputy managing partner Adam Klein, Rachel Bien and Justin Swartz lead the class and collective action practice. Ossai Miazad and Klein won a landmark case on behalf of African American and Latino job applications who challenged the US Census Bureau’s hiring policies, alleging that these discriminated against individuals with a criminal record. Wendi Lazar, managing partner Wayne Outten and Katherine Blostein jointly chair the executive and professionals group and, along with Laurence Moy, who jointly heads the financial services practice, are the primary contacts for single-plaintiff mandates. The firm’s expertise includes whistleblowing, breach of contract and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration claims. Cara Greene, Kathleen Peratis, Molly Brooks, Tammy Marzigliano recently promoted partner Darnley Stewart and Melissa Pierre-Louis, who was made up to counsel, are highly respected. Jahan Sagafi leads the San Francisco office and Lori Deem is the main contact in Chicago. David Lopez joined from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as head of the firm’s recently opened Washington DC office, where counsel Peter Romer-Friedman, who joined from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, is also based. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Oakland-based Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho handles discrimination and wage and hour class and collective actions. Of counsel David Borgen won a Seventh Circuit appeal on behalf of female paramedics, who filed a disparate impact discrimination claim against the City of Chicago pertaining to its Physical Ability Test; the court reversed an earlier decision that favored the defendant, stating that its test did not accurately measure the skills needed to perform as a paramedic. Laura Ho has expertise in California and federal wage and hour collective actions, and William Jhaveri-Weeks is well regarded for appellate work and enforcing employee protection laws. Andrew Lee and James Kan are other names to note.

Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP is renowned for wage and hour class actions, including unpaid overtime, minimum wage and employee misclassification cases. The San Francisco-based firm’s expertise also includes retaliation protection, sexual harassment and leaves of absence. Chaya Mandelbaum, senior litigation counsel Erin Pulaski and John Mullan, alongside co-counsel Leigh Law Group, represented lead plaintiff Kevin Woodruff in a putative class action filed against his former employer Broadspectrum Downstream Services (formerly Timec), which alleges failure to pay workers for the time taken to prepare shifts at California refineries; preliminary approval of a multimillion-dollar settlement has been granted. In another highlight, Pulaski and managing partner David Lowe obtained substantial damages for lost wages and emotional distress for a blind physical therapist. Of counsels Mark Rudy, Alan Exelrod and Steven Zieff have a wealth of experience.


Labor-management relations

Index of tables

  1. Labor-management relations
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Jones Day’s David Birnbaum acted for The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) in major collective bargaining negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union regarding plant closures. In addition to this, Birnbaum negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement for the Fullerton plant, which remained open, and is defending KHC in ongoing arbitration with The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, which alleges that the company owes millions in healthcare benefits to employees impacted by the Madison plant closure. Jessica Kastin represented Verizon Communications in two matters related to a strike conducted by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), obtaining injunctive relief from two New York courts and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); one mandate prevented CWA members from engaging in prohibited secondary activity with employees that worked during the strike. BNSF Railway, Bloomberg and Advocate Health Care are also clients. Stanley Weiner, Willis Goldsmith, F. Curt Kirschner, Doreen Davis, Aaron Agenbroad, Joanne Bush, Brian Easley, Patricia Dunn and Jonathan Linas are also noted. Liat Yamini made partner and in Washington DC, Railway Labor Act (RLA) guru Donald Munro was joined by fellow transport experts Elizabeth Dougherty and Douglas Hall, who joined from Ogletree Deakins and Ford & Harrison LLP respectively. Other named partners are based in either Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco or the recently opened Minneapolis office.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLPdelivers sound legal advice’ and has notable expertise in the transport, hospitality and manufacturing industries. Thomas Reinert filed a lawsuit for Southwest Airlines, which alleged that the Transport Workers Union breached the RLA by encouraging workers to partake in mass absences during contract negotiations. Reinert and Daniel Bordoni successfully represented General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in several arbitration and litigation actions with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America Local S6 regarding midterm bargaining for subcontracting and employee trade flexibility. In another highlight, ‘highly skilled lawyer’ and joint practice head John Ring acted for Olin in effects bargaining negotiations with two unions following the closure of one of its facilities and the termination and relocation of employees. Co-chair Joseph Ragaglia, managing partner Steven Wall, Ross Friedman, Jonathan Fritts, Harry Johnson and senior counsel Charles Cohen are well regarded. Attorneys work out of the Chicago, Philadelphia, Santa Monica and Washington DC offices.

Singled out for its ‘excellent’ service, the ‘extremely responsive’ team at Proskauer Rose LLP leads on collective bargaining, NLRB proceedings, preventing union organization and other complex matters. A ‘top expert in his field’, Los Angeles-based Mark Theodore, who heads the practice group with hospitality expert Michael Lebowich, defended T-Mobile in a lawsuit filed by the CWA concerning an alleged violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in terminating an employment contract; in another case, the NLRB dismissed allegations that T-Mobile undermined the CWA’s efforts by making changes to employment terms and conditions without notice and collective bargaining. Paul Salvatore acted for The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations in negotiating two collective bargaining agreements with the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to successfully prevent strike action. Other clients include The City of New York and Duke University. Other key figures include public sector group head Neil Abramson, sports expert L Robert Batterman, department co-chair Joseph Baumgarten, Bernard Plum, Zachary Fasman, Boston-based Scott Faust, Howard Robbins and recently promoted partner Evandro Gigante. Unless stated otherwise, attorneys are based in New York.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s ‘knowledgeable lawyers’ advise clients including Verizon Wireless and Ametek on the full range of matters. Arthur Telegen represented two lines of Verizon’s business in injunction proceedings in state and federal courts, and also defended the company against unfair labor charges before the NLRB and advised the businesses on collective bargaining to end a strike, which had been initiated by thousands of employees from its Northeast region; the strike ended in 2016 and several proceedings are ongoing. Peter Walker won a Fifth Circuit appeal against the NLRB for UnitedHealth Group concerning unfair labor claims brought by current and former employees, who allege the client’s arbitration policy violated the NLRA by prohibiting class and collective actions. Bradford Livingston, Brian Stolzenbach and Joshua Henderson lead the practice, which also includes senior counsel John Toner, Jeffrey Berman, Joseph Damato, Nick Geannacopulos, Marshall Babson and John Telford. The team grew at counsel level and Robert Fisher joined as partner from Foley Hoag LLP. Attorneys are based in the firm’s Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC offices.

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IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Jackson Lewis P.C.’s ‘solid team’ handles collective bargaining, arbitration, unfair labor cases, strike matters and challenges to NLRB decisions. The firm has been handling nationwide faculty contract negotiations for numerous colleges and universities. Boston’s Michael Bertoncini acted for Northeastern University in long-running negotiations with the SEIU concerning a contract for part-time faculty members teaching across the client’s nine colleges. Managing principal James Stone in Cleveland defended Ingersoll Rand in an arbitration filed by an employee, who was represented by the United Automobile Workers (UAW), following an employment termination. Other well-known clients include ExxonMobil, Pall Corporation and Saint Louis University. In Atlanta, co-head Jonathan Spitz and Jeffrey Schwartz are recommended, while Stephen Silvestri and Thomas Piekara are highly regarded in White Plains and Baltimore respectively. The ‘tremendous’ Philip Rosen also leads the group and, along with Peter Moss, is the name to note in New York. The firm absorbed Denlinger, Rosenthal & Greenberg’s team, adding Daniel Rosenthal, Gary Greenberg and James Mills in Cincinnati. Patrick Vaccaro and Bradley Kampas retired from practice.

Mark Schneider, Tanja Thompson and John Skonberg lead Littler Mendelson, P.C.’s practice and cover all manner of work between them, including NLRB proceedings, collective bargaining and California Labor Code matters. Thompson represented American Yeast Corporation (AYC) in a union organization case before the NLRB, which was governed by rules the agency recently introduced to speed up union elections, and assisted AYC with pre-election negotiations and a campaign that resulted in the company remaining union free. Phillips 66, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Sherwin-Williams are also clients. Robert Millman, A. John Harper III and Galen Lichtenstein are highly regarded along with workplace policy institute co-chair Michael Lotito and Stefan Marculewicz, who co-heads the business and human rights team. Michael Moschel joined from Bass, Berry & Sims PLC. Named attorneys are based in the firm’s Houston, Century City, Memphis, Minneapolis, Nashville and San Francisco offices.

At Ogletree Deakins, Houston’s managing shareholder Jeffrey Londa, practice co-head Brian Hayes and Christopher Murray acted for the National Federation of Independent Business, Texas Association of Business, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Home Builders and the Texas Association of Builders in a major case, where they obtained a national injunction which enjoined the Department of Labor’s enforcement of the ‘persuader rule’, which required employers and labor relations consultants to report certain agreements and activities. Kevin Kinney obtained a permanent injunction for Kohler that stopped a strike conducted by the UAW, and also advised the company on collective bargaining. Other clients are from an array of sectors, including finance, transport and entertainment. Also recommended are group co-head C. Thomas Davis, Mark Kisicki, Kim Ebert, chairman emeritus Homer Deakins and Rodolfo Agraz. Bernard Bobber’s arrival from Foley & Lardner LLP was among recent team changes. Named attorneys are based across the firm’s Atlanta, Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Phoenix, Rayleigh and Washington DC offices.

Baker & Hostetler LLP handles diverse mandates, ranging from NLRB proceedings to labor contracts and election campaigns. Daniel Guttman provides ongoing statewide advice to the administration of Ohio Governor John Kasich on its unionized workforce and recently negotiated contracts with several organizations, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is involved in an ongoing arbitration action against the State of Ohio, together with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, challenging the state’s privatization of food service operations in prisons. Other clients include media, transport and healthcare employers. Jay Krupin and Patrick Muldowney co-head the practice. Marc Antonetti, Paul Rosenberg, David Grant and Thomas Seger are also noted along with Todd Dawson, Ronald Linville and recently promoted partners Jennifer Edwards and Peter Fischer. Attorneys are based in Cleveland, Columbus, New York, Orlando and Washington DC.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s David Durham, who is based in San Francisco, is representing American Baptist Homes of the West in two ongoing appeals against NLRB decisions, which overturned precedents that stated that employers are not required to disclose confidential witness statements to unions within the context of workplace investigations and that management have the right to permanently replace striking employees. The ‘excellent’ Chicago-based Marilyn Pearson advised United Airlines on labor negotiations with flight attendant unions. Other clients include Station Casinos, Michelin and Prime Healthcare. Washington DC’s Harriet Lipkin and Joseph Anthony Turzi are recommended. Ron Holland and Ellen Bronchetti joined the San Francisco office from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Nicole Smith departed to Venable LLP.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s ‘outstanding’ team handles NLRB proceedings, labor matters related to M&A transactions and restructurings, litigation, arbitration and union organizing attempts. The firm represented Alcatel-Lucent in challenging a temporary restraining order request filed by the CWA and three retirees concerning the company’s plans to transfer thousands of participants in the Lucent pension plan to others sponsored by the company. Healthcare is a key sector for the practice, which frequently advises hospitals, health systems, life sciences companies and health insurers on a plethora of mandates, including union disputes and collective bargaining. Retail, energy and logistics companies also feature on the client roster. Chicago-based Mark Trapp is ‘very effective’ and is recommended with the experienced Jeremy Brown in Newark and Steven Swirsky in New York. Adam Abrahms stands out in Los Angeles and Adam Forman is highly regarded in Detroit and Chicago.

Greenberg Traurig LLP was particularly active in the hospitality sector, with New York-based Jerrold Goldberg providing ongoing labor contract advice to Anbang Insurance Group relating to its ownership of the Waldorf Astoria New York. In the same office, co-head Jonathan Sulds acted for Time Inc in collective bargaining negotiations and defended it against the NLRB’s unfair labor opposition to the company outsourcing jobs and temporary employees to allow for the cross-utilization of workers, industry standard wage increases and the elimination of senior layoffs. Recently promoted shareholder Justin Keith and managing shareholder Terence McCourt are key names in Boston. Miami’s Joseph Fleming, San Francisco’s Charles Birenbaum and Atlanta’s Erik Rodriguez are experienced individuals.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP has a first-rate client list, which includes Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, Gate Gourmet and other leading aviation sector companies. Robert Siegel defended American Airlines in arbitration proceedings filed by a pilots union concerning the implementation of contractual scheduling provisions for pilots following the merger between the company and US Airways. Jeffrey Kohn acts for Mylan in labor negotiations, discharge arbitrations and contract interpretation cases deriving from its Morgantown facility. Practice head Apalla Chopra, Mark Robertson and Aparna Joshi are the primary contacts with RLA gurus Michael McGuinness and Chris Hollinger, who focuses on representing airlines under the RLA. Named attorneys are based in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.

Reed Smith LLP’s team acted for Verizon Communications and its subsidiaries in numerous matters, including representing two of its businesses in Pennsylvania and Delaware in a six-week strike, where Betty Graumlich - who divides her time between Richmond and Tysons - and Joel Barras obtained statewide injunctions to prevent mass picketing, harassment and the blocking of employees going to work. Its recent caseload also included matters involving wage rates, collective bargaining, arbitration and the labor aspects of M&A. Other clients include Hertz, Tenet Healthcare and companies in the energy and education sectors. Gary Tocci, John DiNome, New York’s David Weissman and Karl Fritton, who splits his time between Philadelphia and Chicago, are also noted. Eugene Connors became a consultant and senior counsel William Bevan retired. Unless stated otherwise, named attorneys are based in Philadelphia.

At Vedder Price, Chicago-based J. Kevin Hennessy handled union contract negotiations, workforce changes, arbitration, organization campaigns and elections for clients in diverse industries, ranging from aviation to logistics. In the same office, Kenneth Sparks led collective bargaining and M&A-related work in the healthcare sector, while Heather Sager in San Francisco advised a transport sector company on union avoidance and employment counseling. The firm’s expertise also includes corporate campaigns, NLRB investigations and proceedings, and strike matters. A+E Networks, Astellas Pharma and Evergent Group are key clients.

Winston & Strawn LLP advises non-unionized companies on employee relations, maintaining a union-free workplace and preventing litigation. On the unionized side, the firm represents its clients before the NLRB, federal courts and in arbitration regarding a wide range of matters, including union withdrawal and organization. Washington DC-based William Miossi and Chicago’s Derek Barella defended Arlington Metals against an NLRB attempt to bring an injunction against the company relating to its decision to withdraw from having United Steelworkers as its bargaining representative for production employees. Caterpillar, Paccar and Addus HomeCare are also clients. Chicago-based Joseph Torres and Los Angeles’ Michael Chamberlin are also noted.


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Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP excels in California law counseling, workplace investigations, corporate transaction-related matters and other work. Diversity expert Grace Speights leads the practice (which has partners based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco and Washington DC), and David Bowman heads the resources workplace training team; both are ‘approachable, easy to communicate with and accommodating’. Recent matters saw David McManus assist new client Cabela’s with outsourcing its creative and content-related services, and advise Quest Diagnostics - also a new client - on outsourcing its revenue-cycle management function, involving the transfer of over 2,300 employees. Other clients include Amazon and Wells Fargo. Jacqueline Aguilera and Barbara Miller, in conjunction with Melinda Riechert, Carol Freeman and Michael Schlemmer, continue to assist employers with both minimum wage and California Fair Pay Act compliance requirements. Also recommended are Ross Friedman, Jonathan Snare, Michelle Seldin Silverman and Joseph Costello, who previously led the practice; Douglas Schwarz, Larry Turner and Debra Fischer are additional key figures. Ethel Johnson joined from Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP. In other personnel changes, Stephanie Sweitzer, Terry Johnson, Melissa Rodriguez and W. John Lee were made up to partner.

Recent mandates for Paul Hastings LLP include advising clients from sectors such as insurance, technology and finance on disputes, investigations, preventing the misappropriation of trade secrets, and other matters. The team also handles the employment aspects of corporate transactions and compliance with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other work. The practice, which is led by Patrick Shea, counts LinkedIn, Samsung and Kmart among its clients. Kenneth Willner is highly regarded for pre-employment tests and Kenneth Gage leads the workplace retaliation and whistleblower defense group. In Los Angeles, Nancy Abell and Al Latham are standout figures, as is Heather Morgan, who leads the workforce data and technology team. Other experienced practitioners include Jon Geier, Stephen Sonnenberg and Bradford Newman; of counsel Tammy Daub joined from the Department of Labor (DOL); and Kirby Wilcox transitioned to senior counsel.

Proskauer Rose LLP provides daily advice to leading clients from a range of sectors, including media, sports, higher education and retail. Well-known law firms also retain the firm, with Bettina Plevan and Kathleen McKenna providing day-to-day advice on complex matters. Erika Collins co-heads the international labor and employment group, with recent matters including ongoing assistance to an online retailer with its global bonus program, payouts for employee terminations and leaves of absence. Keisha-Ann Gray leads on discrimination mandates and Washington DC’s Connie Bertram is well regarded for whistleblowing and C-suite disputes. The team’s recent workload included OFCCP audits, internal investigations and compliance with wage and hour laws. Gregory Rasin heads the department with Joseph Baumgarten, who has expertise in advising on internal investigations, restrictive covenants and the labor and employment aspects of corporate transactions, among other matters. Boca Raton’s Allan Weitzman, Chicago’s Nigel Telman, Washington DC’s Guy Brenner and Los Angeles’ Anthony Oncidi are names to note, along with Chicago-based associate Amanda Wiley, who is a rising star. Patrick Lamparello, Evandro Gigante and New Orleans-based Nicole Eichberger were all promoted to partner and Katharine Parker left to serve as a magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York. Named partners are based in New York, unless stated otherwise.

Seyfarth Shaw LLPdistinguishes itself by offering excellent legal advice’ through ‘highly useful’ resources, such as the service model SeyfarthLean, which provides clients with project management and technology solutions, The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exemption Resource Center and the recently launched pay equity practice, which is led by Valerie Hoffman, who divides her time between Chicago and Century City. Recent matters saw Washington DC-based Alexander Passantino act for The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity in its response to the DOL’s revisions to overtime exemptions for white-collar employees; and Randstad North America retain Atlanta’s Benjamin Briggs and San Francisco’s Kerry Friedrichs to conduct a wage and hour audit across 36 of its sites. The practice group is led from Chicago by David Baffa and counts Costco, US Foods and General Electric among its clients. In the same office, Pamela Devata has ‘exceptional skills’ in Fair Credit Reporting Act and background screening matters, standing out with Condon McGlothlen, Tracy Billows and the ‘smart, practical and responsiveEllen McLaughlin. Los Angeles’ Chelsea Mesa proves ‘invaluable’ in California and federal law compliance and in New York, William Perkins is ‘first rate’ and Robert Nobile’s advice to ‘the upper echelons of management is unsurpassed’. Boston’s Cindy Westervelt, Washington DC’s Lawrence Lorber and Century City-based Debbie Caplan are highly experienced senior counsels. Personnel changes included the hire of Jack Lambremont from Littler Mendelson, P.C. in Atlanta, Anthony Califano’s promotion to partner in Boston and Giselle Donado and Johanna Wise’s move to in-house positions at RR Donnelley and Chick-fil-A, respectively.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s ‘stellar’ practice is singled out for cross-border work, where it assists multinational companies with employment matters arising from corporate transactions and global expansion, as well as with workforce issues such as redundancy. In Palo Alto, practice head Susan Eandi advises Hewlett Packard Enterprise on several ongoing mandates, including two spin-offs and mergers into Computer Sciences Corporation and Micro Focus, respectively; these matters included advice on employee transfers and pensions. The ‘business-oriented’ group has also led on Sarbanes-Oxley Act matters, internal investigations into discrimination claims, executive terminations, pay equity and other work. Clients include Seagate Technology, GlobalLogic and Trend Micro. In Chicago, Ryan Vann provides ‘business-savvy advice’ and Carole Spink is highly recommended, as are Douglas Darch, Arthur Rooney and recently promoted partner Miriam Geraghty Petrillo. Palo Alto’s Joseph Deng routinely assists clients with Asia Pacific operations and former joint head Scott Nelson maintains an active practice in Houston, where managing partner Richard Hammett and recently elected partner Emily Paige Harbison are also noted. San Francisco’s Benjamin Ho and New York-based Robert Lewis are additional contacts, along with Kevin Whittaker, who divides time between Palo Alto and San Francisco. Cynthia Jackson moved to Dentons.

In addition to a preventative practice that seeks to avoid litigation, Jones Day handles terminations, workforce reductions, internal investigations, labor advice and numerous other related matters. Recent mandates include Cleveland’s Stanley Weiner conducting an investigation into the conduct of a CEO, which led to their dismissal; and New York-based co-chair Matthew Lampe, and Deborah Sudbury in Atlanta, advising a national company on policies for contingent workers, as well as handling the review and restructuring of practices for employees. Dividing his time between Columbus and Chicago, E. Michael Rossman provides ongoing advice to employers on diverse mandates, along with Dallas’ Brian Jorgensen and Chicago’s David Birnbaum, ranging from compliance with anti-discrimination laws to disciplinary actions. Also noted are Terri Chase and Doreen Davis in New York, and Chicago’s Michael Gray and Lawrence DiNardo; San Diego’s Rick Bergstrom is another key figure as are Houston-based Joanne Bush and Tonya Blosser Braun in Columbus. Alison Marshall is highly regarded in the Washington DC office, which hired Elizabeth Dougherty and Douglas Hall from Ogletree Deakins and Ford & Harrison LLP, respectively. Team changes saw Fred Alvarez transition to of counsel in Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles’ Liat Yamini and Atlanta’s Craig Friedman become partners.

The ‘exemplaryJeffrey Klein leads Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s ‘extraordinary’ practice, which includes Gary Friedman. Counsel Lawrence Baer advises clients from a wide array of sectors on workforce reductions, store closures, labor integration following M&A transactions and on corporate restructuring as a result of bankruptcy. Klein recently acted for the Lincoln Center and its audit committee on an internal investigation into allegations of misconduct and gender-based favoritism by the organization’s former president. ERISA expert Nicholas Pappas is another key contact in the ‘highly talented’ group and Ami Zweig is an associate to watch. Other recent matters for the New York-based team included: C-suite terminations, compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and whistleblower matters. Dimension Data, Godiva and The Kraft Heinz Company feature on the impressive client roster.

Under the leadership of Gregg Gilman and Howard Rubin, Davis & Gilbert LLP handles the full range of matters, including employee classification, compliance with federal and state laws, and the drafting of employment policies and agreements. Gilman and counsel David Fisher advised RSE Ventures on negotiating employment agreements for Miami Dolphins’ CEO Tom Garfinkel and David Tyler, the CEO of Relevent Sports. Service industry clients from sectors such as media, marketing and communications retain the New York based practice, which has VaynerMedia, Kepler Group and Interlude on its client list. Also recommended are Daniel Feinstein, Gregg Brochin, Jessica Golden Cortes, Shira Franco and recently promoted partner Jason Pruzansky.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.consistently provides a high level of service’ to executives, in-house counsel and HR departments. Deborah DeHart Cannavino advises CooperSurgical on a range of matters, including severance agreements and employee handbooks; and Ian Carleton Schaefer provides training and daily advice to BT on compliance and cross-border initiatives for its US workforce. David Garland leads the practice, which excels in the hospitality, financial services and healthcare sectors. Jeremy Brown is ‘exceptional’, Peter Stein always ‘considers the options from several different angles’ and Marc Mandelman ‘provides clear definitions and recommendations for the best path forward’. Joshua Stein, William Milani, Maxine Neuhauser and George Carroll Whipple are also noted.

Under the leadership of Morristown-based chairman Vincent Cino, boutique firm Jackson Lewis P.C. is a standout in preventive work. The firm recently launched the JL data analytics group, led by Long Island-based Eric Felsberg, which leverages technology and data science to assist employers with workplace management challenges. In New York, Philip Rosen co-heads the labor and preventive practices group and, together with Daniel Schudroff, acted for the New York Yankees in collective bargaining negotiations with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America. Portsmouth managing principal Debra Weiss Ford handled a workforce reduction matter for a healthcare sector client, and also advised a hospitality company on various mandates with White Plains-based Michelle Phillips and Hartford-based Margaret Strange, including restroom accommodation for transgender employees. Weldon Latham (Washington DC), Francis Alvarez (White Plains), Richard Greenberg (New York), Elayna Youchah (Las Vegas) and Joseph Lazzarotti (Morristown) are additional contacts. Personnel changes included Laura McKnight’s hire from Bassford Remele and Jody Kahn Mason’s elevation to principal.

With both a nationwide footprint in the US and a range of Latin American offices, specialist firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. provides technological solutions to employers which enable management to engage with new regulations, handle litigation and effectively manage their workforces, utilizing services such as Littler LaborSmart, the workplace policy institute (WPI) and Littler CaseSmart. San Francisco-based Michael Lotito heads the WPI and has been advising Uber on varied matters, including labor relations and its independent contractor model for drivers. Chicago’s Judith Wethall handled Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance for Reyes Holdings, regarding data security for its health plans. Other clients include Edward Jones, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Katherine Franklin in Seattle, New Haven-based George O’Brien and Washington DC’s Stefan Marculewicz are key figures along with OFCCP practice co-chairs George Chaffey and David Goldstein, who are based in Walnut Creek and Minneapolis, respectively. Gary Lieberman’s hire from Locke Lord LLP in Boston and James Frederick’s promotion to shareholder in Dallas were among recent team changes.

Mayer Brown remains on top of legislation and holds an annual conference that focuses on the most pressing issues in the market; in 2016’s event, the firm advised on the impacts social media, data privacy and cybersecurity have on the workplace. Practice co-head Marcia Goodman and Lori Zahalka are advising a food production company on numerous matters, including dismissing employees, disciplinary actions and updating its employment policies and practices. Los Angeles-based John Zaimes also leads the practice and has been retained by an aviation sector client to assist with a union campaign as well as harassment and leave issues, among other work. In other recent mandates, the firm has been handling matters concerning compliance with employment law across multiple states and various corporate-related matters arising out of M&A transactions, company disposals and establishing new companies. PetSmart, Northern Trust and AXA Equitable Life Insurance are among significant clients of the practice, which includes counsels Kim Leffert and Maritoni Kane. Unless stated otherwise, attorneys work out of Chicago.

Growing specialist boutique Ogletree Deakins provides targeted advice through specialized practices, including the data privacy, drug testing and pay equity groups. In addition to these, in-house and HR professionals use The Innovations Center to handle compliance, litigation, project management and workplace training matters. Dallas-based Ron Chapman advised the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on removing its prohibition on gay leaders and employees, as well as representing the client in an investigation conducted by the office of New York’s Attorney General into its policies and practices; and defending it in a discrimination action filed by a former employee. San Francisco-based Gregory Cheng’s recent matters include assisting a Super Bowl security contractor with wage and hour compliance. Employers from industries such as healthcare, technology and energy retain the firm. Timothy Garnett (St Louis), Los Angeles-based managing director Joseph Beachboard and Margaret Campbell in Atlanta are highly regarded, as are David Powell in Denver, Columbia-based Leigh Nason, Robert Jones, who splits his time between San Francisco and Sacramento, and San Francisco-based of counsel Carolyn Hall. Erika Leonard joined from Paul Hastings LLP in Atlanta, one of a number of new hires, and the firm also made a series of shareholder promotions. Michael Marra left for Fisher & Phillips.

The ‘exceptionalReed Smith LLP covers everything from systemic discrimination to religious accommodation and the employment aspects of corporate restructuring. In Pittsburgh, David McAllister continues to advise clients from industries such as transport, education and pharmaceuticals on pay equity mandates, handling compliance evaluations conducted by the DOL, allegations of pay discrimination and various other matters. Clients include Verizon Communications, NBCUniversal and CITGO. Philadelphia-based Sara Begley leads the practice and is adept in diverse matters, ranging from global investigations into Fortune 100 companies to severance packages. Princeton’s John McDonald is noted, along with Houston’s Peter Stuhldreher; and in Chicago, Mark Temple provides ‘well-considered advice’. The well-respected Betty Graumlich is based in Richmond and Tysons, while managing partner Cindy Schmitt Minniti operates out of New York. Washington DC and Los Angeles-based Jean Kuei was up to made partner.


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