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Understanding Employment Law 2013

 
Author(s): Michael J. Gray, Willis J. Goldsmith
Practice Area: Employment, Litigation
Published: Apr 2013
PLI Item #: 41714
CHB Spine #: H907

Anna represents management in labor and employment litigation before state and federal courts and administrative agencies such as the EEOC, the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Anna has extensive experience representing employers in individual and class actions involving the full range of employment-related disputes, including discrimination, wage and hour, non-compete agreements and unfair labor practices.  Anna also regularly counsels employers on maintaining compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, assists employers with developing employment policies and executing human resources strategies,  negotiates employment and separation agreements, advises employers in connection with reductions in force and has conducted numerous internal investigations. 

Anna serves as a Member of the firm’s Board of Directors.  She is also the Labor and Employment Group’s Hiring Partner and is the immediate past-Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee.  She is the former Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Committee and is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Development of the Law Under the NLRA Committee and serves as an Associate Editor for the Committee’s Developing Labor Law treatise. 

Prior to entering private practice, Anna served as law clerk to the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  Anna received her J.D. from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law where she graduated second in her class and served as an Editor on the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal.  Anna received an M.A. from Northwestern University and graduated with high honors from DePaul University where she also competed in NCAA Division I Women’s Track and Cross-Country. 

Education

  • Loyola University of Chicago School of Law (J.D., 1999)
  • Northwestern University (M.A., 1992)
  • DePaul University (B.A., 1991)

Admitted to Practice

Illinois

Professional Activities

American Bar Association:

  • Management Program Co-Chair for the Development of the Law under the NLRA Committee
  • Former Employer Vice-Chair, National Programs (BASICS) Subcommittee
  • Former Employer Vice-Chair for Membership Development Retention Subcommittee
  • Participant in Labor & Employment Law Section’s Leadership Development Program

Chicago Bar Association:

  • 2012-13 Chair, Labor & Employment Law Committee,
  • 2011-12, Vice-Chair, Labor & Employment Law Committee,
  • Alliance for Women Member

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Women’s Bar Association of Illinois Member

Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Chicago Law Firms - Delegate

Peer Recognitions/ Awards

Illinois Rising Star, 2008 and 2009

Illinois Super Lawyer, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014

Leading Lawyers Network 2009-14


Brenda H. Feis is a founding partner of Feis Goldy LLC, a boutique employment law firm dedicated to advising, negotiating and litigating claims on behalf of individual employees, managers and executives.  Her first career was as a defense-side employment litigator and equity partner at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw, representing Fortune 100 companies in a wide array of employment disputes.  When she decided to "switch sides," she launched her plaintiff-side career as a partner at the nationally preeminent civil rights class action boutique Stowell & Friedman where she obtained substantial recoveries and successful outcomes for individual employees, in both litigation and pre-litigation settings.  In addition to practicing law, Ms. Feis also serves as a neutral in investigations, training and counseling matters and teaches employment litigation at Loyola Law School.

Ms. Feis graduated from Duke University Law School where she was a member of the Duke Law Journal Editorial Board.  She is a Fellow in the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, and has been repeatedly recognized as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in Employment Law.


Brett Rawitz is Managing Counsel, Global Labor and Employment Law with McDonald's Corporation. In this capacity, Brett manages employment law and employment litigation for the Company's U.S. operations. Brett began his career at McDonald's in January 1999. Prior to that date, he practiced law with a number of the firms in Chicago, and one in California.

Brett received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his JD from the University of Southern California. Brett is a member of the California and Illinois bars


Brian Easley represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. Brian’s practice is focused on labor-management relations, and he has extensive experience representing employers throughout the United States in collective bargaining, union organizing and decertification proceedings, unfair labor practice proceedings, strikes and picketing disputes, corporate campaigns, neutrality and card check agreements, arbitration proceedings, and labor litigation. Brian frequently assists employers with labor and employment aspects of domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and advises distressed employers with respect to labor and employment issues in bankruptcy proceedings. His traditional labor practice includes employers in the manufacturing, oil and gas, energy, mining, automotive, aerospace, railroad, transportation, private equity, media, retail, telecommunications, technology, hospitality, health care, and construction industries.

Brian’s practice also includes trial and appellate litigation of employment disputes, including representing employers in employment litigation before federal and state courts throughout the United States.  He also represents employers in class action litigation pertaining to wage and hour compliance, employee benefits, affirmative action, and other employment issues. In addition to his litigation practice, he counsels employers regarding labor and employment issues, including hiring issues, compensation and benefit practices, reductions in force, mergers and acquisitions, employment and severance agreements, non-competition agreements and trade secrets, wage and hour compliance, and occupational safety.

Brian is a member of the American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section and the subcommittees on Practice and Procedure Under the NLRA, Development of the Law Under the NLRA, Employee Rights and Responsibilities, and Employee Benefits), the State Bar of Illinois, The Chicago Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section), and the State Bar of Texas (Labor and Employment Section).  Brian is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Brian has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2013. 

Brian is a contributing author to the PLI Labor Management Law Answer Book 2012-14, as well as the labor law treatises The Developing Labor Law and How to Take a Case Before the NLRB. He is a frequent lecturer on labor and employment law issues, and has spoken on such diverse topics as labor-management relations, international labor and employment law, union organizing and corporate campaigns, arbitration, strikes and picketing, decertification and deauthorization proceedings, Railway Labor Act issues, employment discrimination, religious discrimination and accommodation, sexual harassment, affirmative action, wage and hour compliance, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and federal recordkeeping requirements.    


Dale D. Pierson became General Counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO, on May 1, 2002. Prior to that time, Dale worked in private practice representing labor unions, fringe benefit trust funds and individual workers since his graduation from Northwestern University Law School in 1982. Throughout his career, Dale has been proud to work with some of the best lawyers in the United States in helping working people secure fair wages, adequate health care, and a comfortable retirement.

Dale believes that the most important protection working people and their families have is the right to bargain collectively over wages, hours and other terms and conditions of their employment. Protection of the right to strike in support of those goals is essential.

In 1995 and 1999 Dale served as Labor Counsel to the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7 in its negotiations for collectively bargained agreements with the City of Chicago. In 2010, Dale helped coordinate the legal strategy that led to the successful strike by Operating Engineers and Laborers in the Chicago area. He is currently involved in federal and state challenges to the “Right to Work” law in Indiana.

Born on the southwest side of Chicago, Dale is a lifelong White Sox fan. Throughout high school and college, Dale worked for his family’s union construction company as a laborer, carpenter and equipment operator. Dale earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Dale based his NIU Master’s degree in labor history on his thesis, “Peter J. McGuire and the Origins of Pure and Simple Unionism.” It was at NIU where he met his wife of 33 years, Loretta. Lori Pierson works in the Loop as a legal secretary for Jenner & Block, and tries to find time for several quilt guilds and numerous nieces and nephews.


Douglas M. Werman is the managing shareholder of Werman Salas P.C. The overwhelming focus of his practice is class and collective action litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state wage and hour laws. Mr. Werman has acted as lead counsel in more than 600 Fair Labor Standards Act and state law wage and hour actions, most of which have proceeded as class, collective, or combined actions. His cases have recovered owed compensation for more than 300,000 working people.

Mr. Werman frequently speaks and writes on employment issues. He is the Senior Chapter Editor of Chapter 20, “’Hydrid’ FLSA/State Law Actions,” of the leading treatise on the Fair Labor Standards Act, “Kerns, The Fair Labor Standards Act,” and is a recurring speaker at federal and state bar events on wage and hour matters. Mr. Werman participated as member of the working group that helped author the legislative language of the 2006 amendments to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, the 2006 amendments to the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and the 2011 “Wage Theft” amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Mr. Werman graduated from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1990. After his graduation, he worked at national management side labor law firms until starting Werman Law Office P.C. in 2001, which became Werman Salas P.C. on January 1, 2014.

Mr. Werman is admitted to practice in the State of Illinois and in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits.


JOHN C. HENDRICKSON has been the Regional Attorney for the Chicago District of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 1990.  Mr. Hendrickson is EEOC’s chief legal officer in the District which includes Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He is responsible for the management of the District’s litigation and for the supervision of its attorneys. 

Prior to joining EEOC in 1981, Mr. Hendrickson was engaged in the private practice of law, including corporate, securities and acquisitions in a major Chicago firm and, also, solo and small firm practice concentrating in complex civil litigation.  Mr. Hendrickson received his B.A. degree from The University of Chicago and graduated cum laude from the Columbia University School of Law in New York. He was elected a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers in 2005. He has received diplomas from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Federal Executive Institute and from OPM’s Eastern Management Development Center. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Hendrickson served as one of only two Senior Executive Service Regional Attorneys in EEOC history.

 In 2007, Mr. Hendrickson received the Chicago Bar Association’s inaugural “Labor and Employment Law Benchmark Award” in recognition of his “continued commitment to bettering the Chicago Legal Community in the area of Labor and Employment Law.”  The Journal of the American Bar Association designated him as one of the “Newsmakers of the Year 2007-2008.”  In 2005, the editors of HR Magazine, the journal of the Society for Human Resource Management, in observance of its 50th anniversary, identified Mr. Hendrickson as one of its “50 for History”– “people who–intentionally or not–have changed HR.” He has been repeatedly designated an “Illinois Super Lawyer” and has served as field coordinator of EEOC’s National Trial Skills Workshops.  In October 2009, a business columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote, “The Chicago office of the EEOC is one of the most aggressive federal agencies around . . . Led by regional attorney John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s  office  at 500 W. Madison St. carries a big stick.”

In August 2014, LAW 360 wrote of Mr. Hendrickson’s office, “Some management-side attorneys regard the Chicago office as one of the most aggressive of EEOC’s regional offices, populated by some of the agency’s top litigators, [which has] been at the leading edge of some of the agency’s enforcement efforts.”  In September 2014,  LAW 360 wrote, “Multiple management-side attorneys singled out the EEOC’s Chicago district office, along with regional attorney John Hendrickson, as the outpost that tends to push the hardest . . . ‘At the top of the list, obviously, is Chicago. I don’t think there’s any question,’ said [an attorney].”

During his tenure as Regional Attorney, the EEOC Chicago District has been one of the agency’s leading districts nationwide. Mr. Hendrickson’s litigation program has secured  over $250 million for victims of employment discrimination, forced major, long-term changes in personnel polices and practices, and been a leader in compelling outside monitoring of employers’ performance of consent decree reforms.  A few examples of his noteworthy cases are EEOC v. Mitsubishi ($34 million), EEOC v. Sidley & Austin ($27.5 million), EEOC v. The Dial Corporation ($10 million),  EEOC v. Roadway ($10 million),  EEOC v. Yellow Freight/YRC ($11 million), EEOC v. Sears Roebuck ($6.2 million), EEOC v. Supervalu/Jewel ($3.2 million).  Mr. Hendrickson’s office filed EEOC v. Dollar General, the first nationwide class case brought under EEOC’s April 2012 update of its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions. In EEOC v. Mach Mining, a sex discrimination in hiring case litigated by his office, the Seventh Circuit has held that the EEOC’s conduct of its administrative conciliation process is not subject to judicial review; the EEOC has acquiesced in the grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court in Mach.  His pending noteworthy cases also include EEOC v. United Parcel Service and EEOC v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.

Mr. Hendrickson speaks throughout the country to law school, bar association, continuing legal education, human resource, and other business, professional, and civil rights groups.  He is a member of the bar of Illinois, the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois.  He is a member of the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar.   His article “Why It Is They and Not We Who Sit on the Woolsack—A Motion to Dismiss in EEOC v. United Parcel Service in the Northern District of Illinois” was published in 2014 in the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality:   Vol. 2, Iss. 1, Article 5; available at: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ijlse/vol2/iss1/5.


John Dickman is a partner in Winston & Strawn LLP's Chicago office who concentrates his practice in labor and employment relations litigation and counseling. Mr. Dickman received a bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Iowa in 1987 and a J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1992, where he was a member of the Law Journal. Mr. Dickman has successfully handled a wide range of employment litigation matters in federal and state courts around the country, as well as private arbitrations.  Of particular relevance to this presentation, Mr. Dickman was lead counsel for the defendants in the successful defense of a putative class action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois where the plaintiffs alleged that they unlawfully were denied compensation and benefits, including retirement and medical benefits, vacation and sick pay, overtime, and reimbursement for social security taxes because they were misclassified as independent contractors.  Mr. Dickman has spoken numerous times on independent contractor issues and regularly counsels employers in this area.  


Marni Helfand is Senior Counsel for Empire Today, LLC, one of the largest shop at home services for floor coverings and window treatments. Prior to joining Empire, Marni was Associate General Counsel  at Levy Restaurants and  prior to that at Hudson Global, a global staffing company. Marni began her legal career as an Associate at Littler Mendelson in Chicago Marni has been practicing employment law for twelve years, and she has extensive experience managing all types of employment and commercial litigation.

Education
J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
B.S., Cornell University


Michael G. Cleveland has practiced labor and employment law since joining Vedder Price P.C. in 1974. He concentrates his practice in employment litigation and has successfully litigated a wide variety of employment cases in the state and federal courts, including equal employment, ERISA, FLSA and wrongful discharge cases. He has defended employers in all phases of class action litigation, including trials of race discrimination and age discrimination class action cases which resulted in complete  verdicts for the employer defendants.

Mr. Cleveland represents employers in matters before administrative agencies and advises employers on employment issues and policies and on matters relating to employment agreements.

Mr. Cleveland has lectured extensively on employment law issues. He has also authored a number of articles on employmentrelated issues. Mr. Cleveland has served as the Practice Area Leader for the fi rm’s Labor and Employment Law group and as a member of the fi rm’s Management and Executive Committees. He is currently the fi rm’s Professional Responsibility Counsel.

In 2011, Mr. Cleveland was ranked in Chambers USA in the Illinois Labor and Employment category. Mr. Cleveland was selected for inclusion from 2009 to 2011 in Illinois Super Lawyers. In addition, he received an “AV Preeminent” Peer Rating in Martindale-Hubbell.

Education

  • J.D., University of Chicago, 1974
  • B.A., Loyola University of Chicago, 1971


Michael Gray's practice focuses on representing corporate clients with labor and employment matters, including class action and multiplaintiff employment discrimination lawsuits, state law overtime class actions, FLSA collective actions, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters. He represents employers throughout the U.S. in bench and jury trials, administrative hearings, arbitrations, and appellate courts in matters arising under federal and state antidiscrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FMLA, ERISA, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, labor management relations laws, and state law wrongful discharge, statutory, contract, and tort claims. Michael also advises clients on preventive measures, including reviewing employment policies, counseling on disciplinary actions and investigations, negotiating severance and release agreements for executive terminations, and conducting employment practices reviews.

Michael brings a creative, business-minded approach to problem-solving and litigation. In recognition by Chambers and Legal 500, clients praised him by stating "he's the guy I want in front of the judge" and "quickly gets down to the nuts and bolts and gets people focused on what's important — his approach is unique and he gets exceptional results."

Michael leads the Labor & Employment Practice in the Chicago Office. He is a frequent speaker for the ABA's Labor and Employment Section, the National Employment Law Institute, and NYU's Center for Labor and Employment Law. He is a member of the advisory board of The Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations and chairs the Practising Law Institute's Understanding Employment Law annual program in Chicago. Michael enjoys working with Chicago community organizations and contributes pro bono legal services to Lambs Farm, The Newberry Library, and the Anixter Center.

EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Advocate Health Care Network defends against statewide wage-hour class and collective action

WHM LLC obtains summary judgment on Florida wage-hour class action

Restaurant companies obtain dismissal of purported statewide minimum wage class action by Florida court

HONORS & DISTINCTIONS

Named one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by HR Executive magazine and Lawdragon for the last five years

Recognized as one of 14 Leading Lawyers nationally for employment litigation by The Legal 500 US

Consistently ranked as a top employment lawyer by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US, Best Lawyers, and Illinois Super Lawyers

Fellow, The College of Labor & Employment Lawyers

EDUCATION

Northwestern University (J.D. 1992; Editorial Board, Journal of International Law and Business); University of Michigan (B.A. 1989)

BAR ADMISSIONS

Illinois; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois and the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Third, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits


Nigel F. Telman leads the employment practice in the Chicago office and is co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. 

Nigel's practice is concentrated in litigating single and class action disputes arising out of claims of workplace harassment and employment discrimination. He also represents employers in collective and class actions involving allegations of wage and hour violations under federal and state law. In addition, Nigel has significant experience defending and enforcing Restrictive Covenant Agreements, as well as protecting employers' trade secrets and other confidential information from misappropriation by former employees through the institution of emergency litigation seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief. Nigel utilizes his experience litigating employment-related disputes to counsel clients on effective ways to avoid such litigation. His counseling practice focuses on training and advising clients on ways to improve all aspects of the employment relationship, including techniques on how to make effective hiring decisions; reviewing and revising employment policies, practices and procedures; and advising on employee disciplinary matters, reductions in force and termination decisions. 

Nigel represents clients before state and federal courts throughout the country as well as before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Human Rights Commission and the American Arbitration Association. 

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Court, Illinois, Northern District

U.S. District Court, Michigan, Western District

Other Distinctions

Chambers USA: Labor & Employment 2014

US Legal 500: Labor & Employment: Labor & Employment Litigation 2010-2013

US Legal 500: Labor & Employment: Workplace & Employment Counseling 2011-2013 

“Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys – Top 100” Human Resources Executive, Lawdragon 2014

"Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys, 'Up and Comers,'" Human Resources Executive, Lawdragon 2011-2013

Fellows Class of Leadership Greater Chicago 2004

Related Practices

Employment Litigation & Arbitration
Non-Compete & Trade Secrets
Class/Collective Action
Employment Law Counseling & Training
Reductions in Force / Managing Change

Education

Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1993
Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations, B.S., 1986

Bar Admissions

Illinois


In December 2011, Peter Sung Ohr was appointed Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board’s Chicago office becoming the first Director of Asian heritage in the then 76-year history of the NLRB. Peter is responsible for the enforcement of the nation’s primary labor law covering private sector employees in Chicago and the surrounding counties in Illinois and Indiana – resolving over 1,200 cases per year.

Peter served as a Deputy Assistant General Counsel in Washington, D.C., assisting the General Counsel direct the work of the NLRB Regional Offices. He was previously stationed in the NLRB Honolulu, Hawaii office as a field attorney. Peter received his B.A. from the University of California-Riverside; J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law; and M.B.A. from Hawaii Pacific University.

Peter is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the Federal District Court and State of Hawaii (inactive). He is a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute. He is a former member of the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals Committee on Admission and a former Bar Examiner for the State of Hawaii Supreme Court.


Robert Bernstein is an equity partner with Laner, Muchin, Dombrow, Becker, Levin and Tominberg, Ltd. Mr. Bernstein's practice has been concentrated in defending employers in employment disputes and proceedings throughout the country, counseling employers on their day-to-day labor and employment issues, training management on a host of labor and employment topics, drafting and negotiating employment and non-competition agreements, drafting employee handbooks and corporate policy manuals, as well as handling collective bargaining negotiations and a variety of other labor and employment matters on behalf of employers.

Admissions Information

Mr. Bernstein has been admitted to practice before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Illinois Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Bar Association And Other Memberships And Activities

Mr. Bernstein is an active member of the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Section, Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. Mr. Bernstein is also a member of the Labor and Employment Planning Committee for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education ("IICLE") and is a frequent speaker and moderator on various labor and employment topics for the IICLE and other outside human resource and labor and employment organizations.  He was also a contributing editor to the Fourth Edition of Barbara Lindemann's and Paul Grossman's "Employment Discrimination" treatise and was a management-side editor for the 2nd supplement to this treatise. Mr. Bernstein is the Chicago Chapter Chair for the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and is a member of the national Board of Directors for this School.  In 2008, Mr. Bernstein was named as one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Mr. Bernstein has received the highest Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for ethical standards and legal ability. He has also been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in multiple years.

Education Summary

Mr. Bernstein graduated from the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1991. Mr. Bernstein played Number 1 singles and doubles on the Cornell Varsity Tennis Team from 1987-1991. He was captain of the team in his junior and senior years, and he earned ALL-IVY honors in his sophomore and senior years. He was selected for Cornell's Quill and Dagger Senior Honor Society. Mr. Bernstein obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995. While attending law school, Mr. Bernstein was Managing Editor of the University of Wisconsin Law Review and served on the Moot Court Board.


Willis Goldsmith represents management in labor and employment law matters including practice before state and federal trial and appellate courts in matters arising under the NLRA, Section 301 of Taft-Hartley, ERISA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and OSHA; in injunction, breach of contract, and employment cases; and in collective bargaining and labor contract administration.

Among his noteworthy matters is Chamber of Commerce v. Brown, which Willis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, reversing an en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit, held that a California statute that prevented employers from using state funds to lawfully deter union organizing was preempted by the NLRA, noting federal labor policy favoring employer speech regarding union organizing efforts.

Willis was Partner-in-Charge in New York from 2008 through 2012, when he stepped down from that position under the terms of the Partnership Agreement; from 1991 to 2006, he chaired the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He has authored numerous articles and participated in many conferences focusing on labor and employment law issues. Willis is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; member of the Labor Law Advisory Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; advisor, American Law Institute Restatement of the Law Third Employment Law; the advisory board of the NYU School of Law Center for Labor and Employment Law; the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; the Labor and Employment Law sections of the New York State Bar Association (Section Secretary 2013-2014); and of the ABA. He is a member of the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of New York City and of Appleseed's New York Advisory Council.

EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

New York Philharmonic (Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York, Inc.) collective bargaining negotiations with Local 802, American Federation of Musicians

Verizon Wireless obtains injunctive relief in action seeking to enforce non-disclosure, no-hire, and non-solicitation provisions against future competitor

IBM wins affirmance of dismissal of disability discrimination claims

HONORS & DISTINCTIONS

The Best Lawyers in America — Labor and Employment Law

Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers (Band 1)

Legal 500 US — Leading Lawyer

Human Resource Executive Magazine: "The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in America"

Education

New York University (J.D. 1972); Brown University (A.B. 1969)

Bar Admissions

New York; District of Columbia; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits; and U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York and District of Columbia


Michael Gray's practice focuses on representing corporate clients with labor and employment matters, including class action and multiplaintiff employment discrimination lawsuits, state law overtime class actions, FLSA collective actions, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters. He represents employers throughout the U.S. in bench and jury trials, administrative hearings, arbitrations, and appellate courts in matters arising under federal and state antidiscrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FMLA, ERISA, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, labor management relations laws, and state law wrongful discharge, statutory, contract, and tort claims. Michael also advises clients on preventive measures, including reviewing employment policies, counseling on disciplinary actions and investigations, negotiating severance and release agreements for executive terminations, and conducting employment practices reviews.

Michael brings a creative, business-minded approach to problem-solving and litigation. In recognition by Chambers and Legal 500, clients praised him by stating "he's the guy I want in front of the judge" and "quickly gets down to the nuts and bolts and gets people focused on what's important — his approach is unique and he gets exceptional results."

Michael leads the Labor & Employment Practice in the Chicago Office. He is a frequent speaker for the ABA's Labor and Employment Section, the National Employment Law Institute, and NYU's Center for Labor and Employment Law. He is a member of the advisory board of The Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations and chairs the Practising Law Institute's Understanding Employment Law annual program in Chicago. Michael enjoys working with Chicago community organizations and contributes pro bono legal services to Lambs Farm, The Newberry Library, and the Anixter Center.

EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

Advocate Health Care Network defends against statewide wage-hour class and collective action

WHM LLC obtains summary judgment on Florida wage-hour class action

Restaurant companies obtain dismissal of purported statewide minimum wage class action by Florida court

HONORS & DISTINCTIONS

Named one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by HR Executive magazine and Lawdragon for the last five years

Recognized as one of 14 Leading Lawyers nationally for employment litigation by The Legal 500 US

Consistently ranked as a top employment lawyer by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US, Best Lawyers, and Illinois Super Lawyers

Fellow, The College of Labor & Employment Lawyers

EDUCATION

Northwestern University (J.D. 1992; Editorial Board, Journal of International Law and Business); University of Michigan (B.A. 1989)

BAR ADMISSIONS

Illinois; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois and the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Third, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits