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Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance 2015

Speaker(s): Allan S. Rubin, David S. Fortney, Dennis M. McClelland, Ellen C. Kearns, George A. Hanson, Hon. Arthur J. Boylan, Hon. M. Patricia Smith, Hon. Rubén Castillo, J. Derek Braziel, Judith E. Kramer, Lisa "Lee" A. Schreter, Matthew W. Lampe, Michele R. Fisher, Steven Andrew Smith, Susan N. Eisenberg, Timothy J. Long
Recorded on: Feb. 9, 2015
PLI Program #: 58909

J. Derek Braziel is a partner with Lee & Braziel located in Dallas Texas.  Mr. Braziel represents plaintiffs in collective action and class action litigation concerning rights asserted under the Fair Labor Standards Act and commensurate state laws governing wages.  Although based in Texas, Mr. Braziel has a national practice and has represented employees from across the nation.  Since exclusively focusing his practice on wage and hour cases, Mr. Braziel has recovered more than $120 million in unpaid wages for his clients.  Mr. Braziel received his B.B.A. from Baylor University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.  He served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Howell Cobb of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  Mr. Braziel is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  He was recognized as a Texas SuperLawyer by Texas Monthly from 2003 to 2013, and was selected by D Magazine as one of Dallas’ Best Lawyers from 2004 to 2013.   

JUDGE ARTHUR BOYLAN served as a full-time Federal Magistrate Judge to the United States District Court – District of Minnesota, from November 1996 until his retirement in January 2014.  In 2010, he was named Minnesota’s Chief Magistrate Judge.   In his role as one of the federal court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutrals, Judge Boylan has settled thousands of cases, including Brady v. National Football League, involving the 2011 lockout of professional football league players and related antitrust lawsuits.  He has also successfully mediated settlements in a number of complex class actions and multi-district litigation involving pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  In 2013, Judge Boylan was recognized as “Jurist of the Year” by the Minnesota Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers.Among his many professional accomplishments, Judge Boylan has served as President of the Minnesota chapter of the Federal Bar Association and Chair of the Minnesota Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct Committee.  He has served on the Federal District Court’s Local Rules Committee, the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Security, and is a former board member of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.  Judge Boylan has lectured at the William Mitchell College of Law, been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Minnesota’s Law School teaching trial practice, and acted as a mentor at the University of St. Thomas Law School.  Judge Boylan graduated from Chicago Kent College of Law, and was admitted to practice in both Illinois and Minnesota.  Prior to his service as a District Court Judge, he engaged in the private practice of law as an associate and later partner with the firm of Hulstrand, Anderson, Larson & Boylan.  


Following his retirement from the federal bench, Boylan returned to the private sector, his Alternative Dispute Resolution office is located in Minneapolis. 


Judge Boylan is a native of Chicago and, much to the chagrin of his Minnesota-born wife, remains a loyal fan of the Chicago Bears. 


Tim Long leads a vibrant labor and employment law practice representing clients throughout California, and beyond, from his offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Mr. Long has significant experience litigating complex employment matters, having acted as lead counsel in numerous class; collective and representative actions and advised on dozens more. He has represented financial institutions, high tech companies, healthcare-related entities, airlines, retailers, transportation and logistics companies, among others.

Mr. Long is one of the few lawyers who tried to verdict an employment class action, obtaining a complete defense verdict on behalf of a major retailer in a matter in which the potential exposure exceeded US$40 million. He went on to protect the verdict on appeal.

In the wage-and-hour area, Mr. Long has litigated exemption, incentive compensation, independent contractor, off-the-clock and pay practice claims. He also has defeated class and collective certification (including at Stage One) in exemption, off-the-clock and pay practice cases.

He has significant experience litigating other complex employment and non-employment matters, including employment discrimination and wrongful termination claims, and matters involving qui tam, trade secret, white collar crime and environmental claims. Finally, Mr. Long counsels clients on a wide variety of employment and related corporate issues. 

Mr. Long frequently represents employers in their dealings with state and federal administrative agencies, including the EEOC, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and Employment Development Department.

In the area of trade secret and unfair business practices litigation, Mr. Long has both prosecuted and defended employers. He has obtained broad, multi-jurisdiction injunctions against former employees who have misappropriated client trade secrets. Mr. Long also has successfully resisted competitor efforts to enjoin the lawful practices of his clients

Related Practice Areas

  • Employment Law and Litigation
  • Trade Secrets Litigation
  • Traditional Labor Law


  • J.D., with great distinction, Order of the Coif, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, 1988
  • B.A., International Relations, Stanford University, 1983
  • Certificate, Francais Commercial et Economique, Institut Catholique, Paris, France, 1982


  • The Recorder's California Labor & Employment Department of the Year (2013-2014)
  • The Recorder's California Litigation Department of the Year (2013-2014)
  • The Recorder Leading Employment Lawyer (2012)

M. Patricia Smith
Solicitor of Labor
United States Department of Labor

M. Patricia Smith is the chief legal advisor to the Secretary of Labor, and directs an office of over 650 attorneys across the country. From January to April 2014 she was the Acting Deputy Secretary of Labor. As Solicitor, she has a broad portfolio of over 180 laws. She advises on legal issues, the enactment of regulations and conducts litigation under such laws as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, the Employee Retirement Security Act, Executive Order 11246, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act and the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Prior to becoming the Solicitor of Labor, Ms. Smith was the New York State Commissioner of Labor for three years where she was responsible for enforcing labor laws, administrating the unemployment insurance system and overseeing the public workforce system.

Prior to serving as Commissioner of Labor, she served as Chief of the Labor Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General for eight years. In that position, she developed a system of active government labor law enforcement that became a model for other Attorneys General and enforcement agencies across the country.

For eleven years, Solicitor Smith served as Deputy Bureau Chief and Section Chief of the Labor Bureau, conducting and overseeing all aspects of labor law litigation involving New York State in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including two cases before the United States Supreme Court.

Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Solicitor Smith worked for various Legal Services Organizations representing unemployment claimants, minimum wage workers, workers in federal job training programs and job seekers.

She graduated, cum laude, from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. in 1974 and from New York University School of Law, with honors, in 1977.

Allan S. Rubin is a Shareholder in the Detroit, MI office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Mr. Rubin is a nationally renowned trial and appellate attorney whose nationwide practice focuses on wage and hour, class action, and employment litigation.  He currently serves as lead counsel on multiple class action matters, including class actions involving the retail and hospitality, medical, and call center industries involving wage and hour issues, RICO, and advertising issues.  Mr. Rubin regularly represents medical providers in employment, advertising, and litigation matters.  In addition, Mr. Rubin is employment counsel to a number of businesses in the retail, bar, and entertainment industries, and has previously served as both an independent and non-independent director of a publicly traded company involved in the bar and nightclub industry.

Mr. Rubin has tried a significant number of cases throughout the United States and has frequently argued appellate matters before state and federal appellate courts.  During the course of Mr. Rubin's career, he has handled a wide variety of matters, including the defense of nationwide and state class actions, employment, and labor matters, including FLSA and state wage and hour claims, sexual harassment claims, complex trade secrets cases, defamation actions, commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations, and constitutional law matters, amongst others.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, he was the managing partner of a Southfield, Michigan law firm and had previous been employed by a large Detroit based law firm.

Mr. Rubin is AV rated by Martindale Hubble, has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer, and is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one half of one percent of American lawyers.

Mr. Rubin regularly presents at trade associations and at continuing education seminars on matters relating to class actions, wage and hour law, electronic discovery, and constitutional law matters. 

Mr. Rubin is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and has been elected the National Treasurer of the First Amendment Lawyers Association.

Mr. Rubin received his B.A. from Michigan State University in 1988, and his J.D., cum laude, from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991.


Dennis McClelland is a partner with Phelps Dunbar LLP and practices out of the firm’s Tampa, Florida, office.  A large focus of his practice over the past 18 years has been in the area of wage and hour law, including representing companies in FLSA collective actions, mass individual FLSA actions following decertification, and large-scale Department of Labor investigations.  Mr. McClelland also provides strategic consulting to companies regarding complex wage and hour compliance matters.  Mr. McClelland currently serves as an editor-in-chief of the supplement to the Fair Labor Standards Act treatise published by the American Bar Association and BNA Books.  He has served on the board of editors for the Fair Labor Standards Act treatise and its supplements for over 10 years.   Mr. McClelland also is a senior editor of the ABA/BNA treatise Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey and was a co-author of the Florida Chapter in the treatise.  Mr. McClelland  currently serves as the management-side chair of the Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section and previously served as the management-side chair of the Fair Labor Standards Act Subcommittee from 2009-2012.  Mr. McClelland is a charter member of the Wage and Hour Defense Institute.


Boston College Law School, J.D. 1976

Regis College, A.B. Mathematics 1967

Area of Expertise

Ellen Kearns is a national expert in wage and hour law, having served as Editor-in-Chief of the First, Second and Third editions of the BNA/Bloomberg Treatise, The Fair Labor Standards Act. She has litigated class and collective actions involving wage and hour matters, and has also served as a mediator in wage and hour collective action disputes. Ellen also represents management in a full range of traditional labor and employment issues, including NLRB proceedings, negotiations, and arbitration. Ellen has obtained injunctions in labor disputes, and has resolved strike issues. She writes and speaks frequently, and serves as head of Constangy's Boston office.

Bar Activity

  • Former member of the American Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section Council
  • Past chair of the ABA's Federal Labor Standards Committee
  • Past chair of the Boston Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Former member of the Labor & Employment Law Council, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Admitted to the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers in 2003
  • Section liaison to the ABA Commission on the Status of Women
  • President of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association

Lisa "Lee" A. Schreter is Chairwoman of Littler's Board of Directors and co-chair of the Wage and Hour Practice Group. Lee focuses on representing employers in complex class and collective actions involving overtime and other wage-related claims and specializes in helping employers to develop forward-thinking compliance measures that reduce wage and hour disputes and other employment-related issues. 

Lee also specializes in representing management clients in negotiations with the U.S. Department Labor in national matters that involve such issues as the exempt status of employees and compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lee represents and counsels clients in connection with many other labor and employment matters arising under federal and state laws such as The Equal Pay Act, The Service Contract Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state law wage and hour requirements.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Lee worked in human resources where she gained extensive experience in wage and hour issues, employee relations, salary and benefit administration and general employment matters.

Michele R. Fisher is a partner at Nichols Kaster whose practice is primarily dedicated to national wage and hour class and collective action litigation. She has represented tens of thousands of employees seeking to recover overtime pay, minimum wages, and commission payments.  She also represents employees in individual employment matters, such as employment discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment. Moreover, Michele has represented consumers in cases involving negligent and fraudulent financial advice. She has been instrumental in obtaining millions of dollars for her clients.

Michele is an experienced trial attorney who enjoys being in the courtroom. She has successfully handled numerous jury trials and arbitrations in her fight for employee and consumer rights. She has the expertise, resources, and staff to take on any company regardless of size. 

Michele is the Chair of the firm’s Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm.  She is also a member of the Management Committee charged with the running of the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Michele is active in several organizations.  She is the co-chair and a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee’s Midwinter Report, a board member and editor for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standard Act Treatise Supplement, a board member and editor for BNA’s Fair Labor Standard Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey (2d ed.).  She has been named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Star lists repeatedly.


State Bar of Georgia

Minnesota Supreme Court

New York Supreme Court

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. District Court – District of Colorado

U.S. District Court -- Northern District of Florida

U.S. District Court – Northern District of Georgia

U.S. District Court – Northern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. District Court – District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court – Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court – Western District of Oklahoma

U.S. District Court – Western District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court – Western District of Texas

U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court – Western District of Wisconsin

Practice Areas

Plaintiffs’ Employment Litigation

Class & Collective Actions

Susan Eisenberg has more than 25 years of experience exclusively representing management in employment matters such as avoiding and defending discrimination claims and is known nationally for her experience with wage and hour issues. She represents employers in state and federal courts and  has extensive trial experience. In addition, Susan counsels her clients in all aspects of employment laws including conducting wage and hour audits and training sessions for managers and staff. She also actively works as a certified mediator and an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association.

Susan is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Labor and Employment Law, is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and has been recognized in Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America.

Susan earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of law and her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.

Practice Areas


  • University of Miami School of Law, J.D.
  • University of Michigan, B.S.

Bar  Admissions

  • Florida

Awards & Honors

  • Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers,
  • Founding Member, Wage and Hour Defense Institute (WHDI)
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2016, Listed as "Lawyer of the Year" for Employment Law - Management in Miami
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2016
  • South Florida Legal Guide Top Lawyers 2012-2015
  • Chambers USA 2004-2015,
  • Chambers USA 2012, Women in Law Awards, Short List for Employment Lawyer of the Year
  • Super Lawyers Magazine 2012-2015
  • Super Lawyers Magazine "Top 50 Women Lawyers" Florida, 2008, 2010-2011, 2013-2015
  • Super Lawyers Magazine 2013, Listed in Florida as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers"
  • Super Lawyers Magazine 2013, Listed in Florida as one of the "Top 100 Miami Lawyers"
  • Daily Business Review 2014, Recognized as a Top 20 Women in Law Honoree in South Florida
  • Florida Trend's Legal Elite 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012-2013
  • The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, 2012
  • Certified Mediator, Florida Supreme Court
  • American Arbitration Association, Arbitrator
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Rated

Labor & Employment
Class Action Employment Litigation
Wage-Hour Litigation & Counseling
Single & Multiple Plaintiff Employment Litigation


IBM wins preemptive motion to deny class certification of California wage claims

AstraZeneca defeats pharmaceutical representative misclassification claims and class certification in Pennsylvania, New York, and California

Scotts Company secures Second Circuit affirmance of sanctions award and dismissal of discrimination action


Consistently named as one of the top employment litigators in "America's Leading Lawyers" by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500, and New York Super Lawyers


Cornell University (J.D. magna cum laude 1989; Order of the Coif); Kenyon College (B.A. magna cum laude 1986; Phi Beta Kappa)


New York and Ohio; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Western Districts of New York and the Southern and Northern Districts of Ohio; and U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits

Matt Lampe represents employers throughout the country in class action and other complex litigation, including cases under the FLSA, ERISA, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, and numerous state discrimination, wrongful discharge, and other tort laws. He has extensive experience leading the defense of clients facing employment class actions across multiple jurisdictions. Matt also defends companies in EEOC, DOL, and other agency investigations alleging systemic discrimination or pay practice violations. In addition, he counsels clients across a broad spectrum of employment law and litigation avoidance topics.

Matt is co-chair of the Firm's Labor & Employment Practice. He speaks frequently throughout the country on employment-related topics, including class action defense and wage and hour compliance and audit strategies. He is a contributing author to Labor & Employment N.Y. (LENY), the official blog of the New York State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Section, and a contributor to The Fair Labor Standards Act, Second Edition, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law.

Matt was named one of the "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by HR Executive magazine and Lawdragon. In 2012, Matt was recognized as a "Client Service All-Star" by BTI Consulting Group, which commended him for "extraordinary dedication to client service during a time of increased pressure and client demands." He is a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a life member of the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a member of the New York City Bar Association and the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.

Mr. Fortney is a co-founder of Fortney & Scott LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, counseling and advising clients on the full spectrum of workplace-related matters, including employment discrimination and labor matters, compliance programs, government contracting, executive employment and compensation, and developing strategies for avoiding or responding to workplace-related crises.  Mr. Fortney has a broad-based practice representing and counseling employers in employment and labor matters, including wage and hour matters, government enforcement agencies’ audits and regulatory matters, judicial proceedings, Equal Employment Opportunity requirements, federal contractor's affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations, collective bargaining and union organizing, and workplace health and safety.  Mr. Fortney is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers; he co-chairs the American Bar Association’s Federal Legislative Development Committee; and, he is a frequent lecturer at professional conferences.  Fortney & Scott, LLC has been recognized as a leading management employment law firm in the prestigious Best Law Firms survey for 2011-2014 by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers for Washington, D.C.

Mr. Fortney’s wage and hour practice includes counseling clients with respect to policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the minimum wage and overtime obligations under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour laws, including the proper classification of positions as exempt or non-exempt, overtime practices for non-exempt employees, compensation practices for exempt employees, and time and record keeping procedures; conducting preventive compliance audits; and advising and representing clients facing audits by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.  Additionally, Mr. Fortney established and co-chairs the Practicing Law Institute’s nationally acclaimed annual wage and hour seminar in New York, and has been doing so since 2010.

Before co-founding the firm, Mr. Fortney previously served as the chief legal officer of the U. S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. during President George H. W. Bush Administration.  As Acting Solicitor of Labor, he was responsible for enforcing over 140 laws regulating the nation's workplaces and managing an agency with 800 attorneys and support staff.  He advised Secretaries of Labor Elizabeth Dole and Lynn Martin and the Department of Labor agencies on a broad range of legal, policy, legislative, regulatory, and enforcement issues.  The major Department of Labor agencies Mr. Fortney represented included the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), among others.

Mr. Fortney has been widely recognized for his professional accomplishments, including being named one of the leading employment lawyers in Washington, D.C. by the Chambers USA survey of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in all years from 2005 through present.  He was selected for inclusion in the 2009 through 2014 editions of The Best Lawyers in America, Washington D.C.’s, Washington D.C.’s Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.   Mr. Fortney was also awarded an AV rating (the highest level) by Martindale-Hubbell.

Mr. Fortney is a frequent lecturer and writer on employment-related topics, including appearances on CNN, CBS and Fox News. Mr. Fortney is the co-editor of a monthly newsletter, the Federal Employment Law Insider, Chapter Eight of The Family and Medical Leave Act (2006) published by BNA Books, co-author of the Military Leave Compliance Kit (2001), published by M. Lee Smith Publishers, and lead author of the Guide to Employee Leave (1997), published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont.

Practice Areas:

Employment Law, Labor Law, and Litigation

Admitted to Practice:

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

District of Columbia

Supreme Court of the United States

Various U.S. Courts of Appeals and U.S. District Court


Duquesne University School of Law, (J.D., 1980)

The Pennsylvania State University, (B.A., 1977)

Professional Activities:

Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

American Bar Association - Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, Chair Government Liaison

National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements

Secretary of Labor’s Committee on the Future of the Workplace for the President’s Council on the 21st Century Workforce

Federalist Society Former Chair, Labor and Employment Committee

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Ms. Kramer has a broad-based practice in labor and employment law.  She had 25 years of experience with the United States Department of Labor, where she served for 16 years as Deputy Solicitor for Planning and Coordination, the highest-ranking career position in the Office of the Solicitor.  Ms. Kramer oversaw a staff of approximately 500 attorneys, many of whom were engaged in enforcing and administering the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  She reviewed appellate briefs in FLSA cases and advised the Solicitor of Labor regarding the appeal of FLSA cases to the federal courts of appeals.  Ms. Kramer provided legal advice to the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division and other high-ranking Department of Labor officials on matters relating to the enforcement of wage and hour laws and other federal statutes.
Ms. Kramer has extensive experience in Wage Hour matters.  She has been involved in cases and regulations addressing the determination of compensable hours, the applicability of statutory exemptions, FLSA coverage of religious institutions and tribal enterprises, issues regarding the status of independent contractors and volunteers, and a wide range of other Wage-Hour issues. 

Ms. Kramer served as Acting Solicitor of Labor on several occasions during both Republican and Democratic Administrations.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Philip Arnow Award, the highest award conferred by the Department of Labor.  Before joining the Department of Labor, Ms. Kramer served as a trial and appellate attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.  She argued a number of cases before various courts of appeals in cases arising under the Fair Housing Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and other federal civil rights statutes.

Since joining FortneyScott, Ms. Kramer has advised numerous clients regarding wage and hour compliance with the FLSA.  She has conducted comprehensive analyses of employers’ classification and compensation practices and has represented employers in Wage-Hour audits.  Additionally, Ms. Kramer served on a panel addressing the impact of the 2004 white-collar regulations.  She has also served as an expert witness in FLSA cases in federal district courts, and is the author of a number of articles on a wide range of Wage-Hour issues.

Practice Areas:
Employment Law, Labor Law, and Appellate Litigation

Admitted to Practice:
District of Columbia

Supreme Court of the United States

Various U.S. Courts of Appeals


Northwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1972, cum laude) (Northwestern University Law Review, Order of the Coif)

University of Illinois (B.S. in Journalism, 1969, summa cum laude)(Bronze Tablet Scholar (upper 2% of class))

Named one of “The Best Lawyers in America” for the last two years and named to the Minnesota Super Lawyers list each year since 2002, Steven Andrew Smith brings a high level of trial experience, attention to detail, and personal service to each of his cases. Steve’s devotion to his client’s cause and open-mindedness have earned him wide respect in the legal community.

With multiple plaintiffs’ verdicts in each of the last three decades, Steve is both familiar with and comfortable in the courtroom. Steve’s trial experience includes trials to verdict in sexual harassment, whistleblower, reprisal/retaliation, commission, contract, gender discrimination, marital status discrimination, disability, and wage and hour claims. In addition to his trial successes, Steve has litigated several notable cases having substantial effect on employees’ rights under state and federal employment laws.

Steve is often invited to lecture on employment issues both nationally and locally because of his easy-going demeanor and professionalism. He has also authored a number of articles on employment law issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace.


J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, 1995, cum laude
B.A. Concordia College - Moorhead, 1990


Minnesota Supreme Court
8th Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court – District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court – District of North Dakota
U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin


2014 Recipient of Karla Wahl Dedicated Advocacy Award from MN NELA
Named one of "The Best Lawyers in America" 2014-2015
Named to the Super Lawyers list, Minnesota Super Lawyers,
         Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business 2002-2014
 Recipient of "2011 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award" from the
        United States District Court - District of Minnesota
 Named one of the “Top 40 Employment Law Lawyers,” Minnesota Law
       and Politics
Named a “Top Lawyer,” Mpls./St. Paul Magazine
Named in “Who’s Who in Employment Law,” Minnesota Law and Politics
Received Martindale Hubble, AV® Preeminent™ rating

Practice Areas

Plaintiffs’ Employment Litigation
Whistleblower-Qui Tam

George A. Hanson was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas. In 1988, George graduated with High Honors from Oberlin College with a B.A. in History. In 1992, George obtained his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School. George is one of the region's leading commercial litigators and trial lawyers. George has been named "Best of the Bar" by the Kansas City Business Journal for nine years and has also been elected a Missouri Super Lawyer every year since 2006. George has been named a "Local Litigation Star" by Benchmark Plaintiffs and was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers® in America 2014 and 2015.  Additionally, he was named the Best Lawyers’ 2014 Kansas City, MO – Class Actions - Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year.” George is rated AV - the highest designation a lawyer can achieve from publisher Martindale Hubbell.

George is an experienced commercial litigator and trial attorney. George has successfully tried many cases to judges and juries in both state and federal court, and has extensive experience representing clients in arbitration.  In addition to complex commercial litigation and trial work, George's practice currently focuses on the representation of employees in large wage and hour class and collective actions, including workers in the financial services, meat processing, pharmaceutical and call center industries. In the past ten years, George has been lead or co-lead counsel in more than 90 wage and hour actions filed in state and federal courts.  George is also a frequent speaker regarding trial practice and wage and hour matters nationwide, and serves on the Senior Editorial Board of the ABA’s Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise, 3rd Edition.

Judge Castillo of Chicago, Illinois, has served as a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Illinois since 1994 and currently serves on the Court's Executive Committee. He has sat by designation on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1991-1994, he was a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis. He was the regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1988-1991. Judge Castillo served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1984-1988 and was previously with the firm of Jenner & Block. He is an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law, where he has taught since 1988.  

Judge Castillo currently serves as the Co-Chair of the ABA Section of Litigation's Trial Practice Committee. He was recently selected by his fellow judges in the Seventh Circuit to serve as a Circuit Representative to the United States Judicial Conference, the rule making body of the U.S. Courts System.