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Managing Wage & Hour Risks 2013


Speaker(s): Archis A. Parasharami, David S. Fortney, Ellen C. Kearns, George A. Hanson, Hon. M. Patricia Smith, Hon. Susan Richard Nelson, Jennifer S. Brand , Justin M. Swartz, Lafe E. Solomon, Matthew W. Lampe, Michele R. Fisher, Paul J. Lukas, Reid R. Broda, Robert P. Davis, Samuel S. Shaulson, Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Susan N. Eisenberg, Timothy J. Long
Recorded on: Feb. 11, 2013
PLI Program #: 41648

Sam S. Shaulson is a co-chair of the Labor & Employment Practice's Financial Services Group and a member of Morgan Lewis's Advisory Board. He has represented clients in cases involving unpaid overtime and minimum wage; breach of contract; denial of employee benefits; discrimination based on age, race, sex, national origin, and disability; and whistleblower claims. Mr. Shaulson advises financial services, pharmaceutical, and other clients on executive compensation, employment policy issues, wage and hour issues, employment testing, reductions in force, and whistleblower, termination, and discrimination matters. He has also represented clients in traditional labor matters under the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act and has negotiated collective bargaining agreements and individual employment contracts.

Mr. Shaulson handles complex litigation matters and has represented clients in more than 75 class and collective actions, including cases involving Title VII, the ADA, the FLSA, and state wage and hour laws. 

His wage and hour experience includes: defeating class certification for a major financial institution in an action claiming that financial advisors were denied overtime pay and their wages were subject to improper deductions; obtaining  summary judgment on claims that an information technology professional was misclassified as overtime exempt, thereby mooting class and collective action claims; defeating class certification of claim that financial services sales representatives were required to work off-the-clock; defeating a nationwide collective action certification for a major financial institution in an action claiming that loan officers were denied overtime pay; and obtaining summary judgment in an overtime misclassification case where the court ruled that reclassification from exempt to nonexempt does not raise an issue of fact for trial or create an issue of fact on willfulness.

Mr. Shaulson received his J.D. (Order of the Coif) from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.S.B.A. from Boston University's School of Management.


  On December 21, 2010, President Obama signed a Commission, naming Judge Susan Richard Nelson as United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota. Judge Nelson previously served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the District of Minnesota for 10 years. Prior to her service on the bench, Judge Nelson was in private practice for 17 years with the Minneapolis law firm, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, litigating complex civil matters in state and federal court. From 1994 to 1998, she served on the trial team representing the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota against the tobacco industry.
 


Archis A. Parasharami, a litigation partner in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, is a co-chair of the firm's Consumer Litigation & Class Actions practice, recently named by Law360 as one of the top five class action groups of the year. He also is a member of the firm's Supreme Court & Appellate practice.

Archis was named by The National Law Journal in 2011 as one of the "Minority 40 Under 40," which identifies minority lawyers who have had significant influence in their practice areas over the past five years.

Archis routinely defends businesses in class action litigation in federal and state courts around the country. He frequently speaks on developments in the class action arena, and has been quoted on a number of occasions in the National Law Journal, Corporate Counsel, and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

He is a co-editor of Class Defense (www.classdefenseblog.com), the firm's blog on key issues affecting class action law and policy.

Archis has been recognized for his skills both in drafting arbitration agreements-particularly in the consumer and employment contexts-and in litigating the enforceability of those agreements. Most notably, Archis was one of the Mayer Brown lawyers who represented AT&T Mobility in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, in which the US Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state-law rules that would refuse to enforce arbitration agreements solely because they waive class actions. Archis represented the company at all stages of the case, starting from the district court all the way to the Supreme Court, where Archis helped write the winning briefs. Along with his colleagues, he also represented one of the petitioners in Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown, in which the US Supreme Court summarily reversed the West Virginia Supreme Court's categorical refusal to enforce all pre-dispute arbitration agreements that apply to personal-injury or wrongful-death claims against nursing homes as preempted by federal law.

Archis also maintains a substantial appellate practice, drafting briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state appellate courts, and trial courts around the country

Archis attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He joined Mayer Brown in 2003 after clerking for Judge Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


Bob Davis is widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading legal authorities and litigators working across a broad spectrum of employment and ERISA issues. According to Chambers USA (2011), Bob is "immensely highly regarded," and Chambers USA (2010) described him as "a top flight litigator who is always looking around corners for his clients." Chambers USA (2007) also characterized Bob as a "'terrific lawyer' [who is] highly respected for his ERISA practice."

Chambers USA notes, too, that Bob is "definitely a key player in the labor and employment field," and that "as well as being recognized for his employee benefits expertise, Bob . . . focuses on wage and hour compliance and litigation. . . Clients describe him as a 'big-picture lawyer' who 'communicates an intelligent game plan.'"

He handles trial and appellate ERISA litigation and represents plans, fiduciaries, plan sponsors, and service providers in ERISA investigations and litigation. His victories in the ERISA area include denial of class certification on employer stock claims; interlocutory appeal and vacatur of class certification of ERISA fiduciary claims in a 100,000+ persons class action; successful defense at trial, resulting in a defense judgment affirmed on appeal, of one of the first major "stock drop" cases; winning summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, on all of the substantial claims in a major LMRA § 301/ERISA class action; dismissal of a stock drop case complaint with prejudice against plaintiffs; and successful defense of several national-level ERISA investigations by the US Department of Labor.

Bob has been responsible for over 100 Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour cases, including collective action and class action certification and decertification issues, enforcement of arbitration agreements when class claims are involved, and notice and discovery in class cases. His most recent victory was a jury verdict for a large financial services company, after five weeks of trial, in what we believe is the largest FLSA exempt status case ever tried to a defense verdict. Bob's other victories for employers include a precedent-setting appellate decision on the salary basis test under the FLSA, successful coordination of 28 statewide FLSA and wage and hour cases through the Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation, and defeat of class certification in several cases. Bob also has devised innovative structures for negotiated settlements.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown as a Partner in 1991, Bob served as the Solicitor of Labor for the US Department of Labor (1989-1991) and as Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of Transportation (1983-1985). Previously he served in senior positions in the US Department of Justice.

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, JD, magna cum laude, 1980. Editor, Georgetown Law Journal
  • Syracuse University, MPA, 1973.
  • Boston University, MA, 1972.
  • Brown University, AB, 1971.
     


JUSTIN M. SWARTZ, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP and Co-Chair of its Class Action Practice Group, represents employees in class action wage/hour and discrimination cases, as well as individual discrimination cases and other employment matters. Justin is also Co-Chair of the firm's Public Interest Committee and a member of its LGBT Employment Rights Practice Group and its Discrimination and Retaliation Practice Group.

Justin currently represents workers in overtime lawsuits against Starbucks, Wal-Mart, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Gristede's, Duane Reade, Tyson Foods, and other major companies. He also represents hundreds of restaurant workers in overtime and tip theft cases against New York City restaurants, low-wage cleaning workers in their claims that large contractors failed to pay them overtime compensation for their work cleaning buildings around Ground Zero in 2001, and entertainers and servers who have worked at Scores nightclubs. Among his recent employment discrimination maters are discrimination claims against companies that have refused to hire minorities with criminal records including an EEOC charge against Madison Square Garden, systemic gender discrimination claims against a major utility company, and several individual race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and national origin discrimination cases. He has represented hundreds of female and African American stock brokers in nationwide discrimination class action lawsuits against the country's leading brokerage firms, including two recently settled discrimination cases against Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley. He was a member of the trial teams in two class action race discrimination jury trials.

He is active in several bar associations including the New York City Bar Association where he has served on the Corrections Committee (2009-2012), the Committee on Civil Rights (2005-2008), and the Committee on Labor and Employment Law (2002-2005). He is a member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) New York chapter and is Co-Chair of the NELA national Wage and Hour Committee. He is an active member of the ABA Section on Labor and Employment Law, where he is a Vice Chair of the planning committee for the 4th Annual CLE Conference, was Co-Chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee from 2005-2008, is a Contributing Editor for the supplement to the BNA / ABA LEL Section treatise, The Fair Labor Standards Act, a Chapter Monitor for the supplement to the BNA / ABA LEL Section treatise, Employment Discrimination Law, and an active member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.

Justin frequently works with non-profit organizations on public interest matters including successfully representing a formerly incarcerated security guard in a licensing hearing in conjunction with MFY Legal Services and three low wage immigrant women in sexual harassment, assault and battery, and overtime claims as co-counsel to the ACLU Women's Rights Project.  He has co-counseled with, and performed pro bono services for, The Legal Aid Society, South Brooklyn Legal Services, Manhattan Legal Services, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Legal Momentum, NYLAG, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and MFY Legal Services as a volunteer attorney at its legal clinics. Justin is also part of the Lambda Legal Cooperating Attorney Network. While living in Chicago, he volunteered at First Defense Legal Aid, providing emergency representation for recent arrestees and documenting police misconduct. He belongs to the American Constitution Society and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Justin speaks frequently on employment law and ethics. He and has spoken on and co-authored papers on prosecuting employment discrimination claims, representing sexual harassment victims, discrimination claims against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people, a wide variety of wage and hour issues, workplace privacy issues, retaliatory counterclaims by employers, discrimination suits by law-firm partners, stereotyping evidence in discrimination cases, and other employment law and ethics issues.

He graduated from DePaul University School of Law with honors in 1998. He joined Outten & Golden LLP in December 2003 after representing workers as an associate at Goodman & Zuchlewski, LLP, in New York and Stowell & Friedman, Ltd., in Chicago. He is a member of the bars of New York and Illinois.


Lafe Solomon, a career NLRB attorney, was named Acting General Counsel by President Obama as of June 21, 2010. The Agency's top investigative and prosecutorial position, the General Counsel has supervisory authority over all Regional Offices and guides policy on issuing complaints, seeking injunctions, and enforcing the Board's decisions.

Mr. Solomon began his Agency career as a field examiner in Seattle in 1972. After taking a break to pursue a law degree, he returned as an attorney in the Office of Appeals. He transferred to the Appellate Court Branch in 1979. Two years later, he left the General Counsel side of the Agency to join the staff of former Board Member Don Zimmerman. He went on to work for another nine Board Members, including Donald Dotson, Robert Hunter, John Higgins, James Stephens, Mary Cracraft, John Raudabaugh, William Gould, Sarah Fox and Wilma Liebman.

A native of Helena, Arkansas, Mr. Solomon received a B.A. degree in Economics from Brown University in 1970 and a J.D. from Tulane University in 1976.


Paul J. Lukas's aggressive and creative litigation strategies enable him to successfully represent his clients. Paul has been recognized by his peers as one of the "Top 40 Employment Law Lawyers" in Minnesota and is consistently named to the Super Lawyers list. Courageous and persistent, Paul is a committed advocate for employee and consumer's rights.
 
Having tried nearly fifty cases, Paul is also a trial veteran with proven results. Early in his career, Paul tried a wide variety of criminal cases, including the nationally renowned State v. Porter case. Winning that case at the Minnesota Supreme Court, Paul helped set the standard for prosecutorial misconduct in criminal cases. After honing his trial skills in the criminal arena, Paul focused his practice on employment litigation, obtaining favorable verdicts for employees in overtime, age, race, national origin, sex discrimination, sex harassment, whistleblower, sexual assault, retaliation, and minority shareholder cases. Paul is a member of Nichols Kaster's National Class and Collective Action Litigation Team and the firm's Consumer Class Action Team. Paul is currently litigating numerous wage and hour and consumer class and collective actions. He has represented thousands of employees and consumers in these practice areas.
 
Paul's energy and charisma have made him a nationally recognized lecturer on topics such as wage and hour law, employment law, and civil litigation strategies.

EDUCATION
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, 1991
B.A. St. John's University, 1988

ADMISSIONS
Minnesota Supreme Court
New York Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court - District of Colorado
U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court - Western District of Michigan
U.S. District Court - District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court - Western District of Oklahoma
U.S. District Court - Western District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court - Western District of Texas
U.S. District Court - Western District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Wisconsin

PUBLICATIONS
Co-Editor to the Wage and Hour Handbook: Federal and Minnesota. MN CLE, Inc. (2011).


Reid Broda is the Head Employment Law Liaison for Consumer and Business Banking, Mortgage Banking and Commercial Bank lines of business for JPMorgan Chase responsible for interfacing with senior management, managing a portfolio or litigation and providing strategic advice and counsel on all types of human capital opportunities, risks, challenges and threats faced by the firm.  He currently manages a team of 4 lawyers and 1 paralegal. 

Mr. Broda and his team manage a portfolio of over 200 matters with an outside counsel budget of close to eight figures spanning individual actions to group, collective and class actions involving 100,000+ putative class members. He individually manages matters, oversees internal resources and manages outside counsel with an emphasis on designing effective alternative fee arrangements. Likewise, he is responsible reporting on litigation and pre-litigation matters to senior management on a regular basis, analyzing trends and focusing on risk mitigation and avoidance. He has appeared regularly as a litigator and counselor before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, other state and federal administrative bodies, the Financial Industries Regulatory Authority, and state and federal trial courts. Mr. Broda has jury trial, bench trial, administrative fora and arbitration experience. 

Mr. Broda is a trusted advisor on all aspects of employment law counseling and litigation for diverse lines of business within a leading international financial services company with a strong emphasis on broker-dealer, consumer financial services and investment management businesses.  He has developed a specialty in advising on the range of issues associated with the employment of registered investment representatives and regulated broker-dealers and emerging issues in the mortgage industry. Mr. Broda partners with the business in order to deliver people strategies that allow the firm to meet its desired results while working within appropriate risk parameters, identifying emerging issues and trends and suggesting concrete measures for risk mitigation and avoidance. The range of issues faced on a day to day basis include: pre-employment screening; the design, implementation and execution of compensation plans, focusing on deferred, equity, incentive, bonus, emerging regulations and claw backs; drafting, advising on and litigating covenants not to compete and restrictive covenants; providing counsel on employee discipline, termination, severance, workplace investigations, issues under the NLRA, policy development, employment agreements, FLSA, wage and hour issues, workplace accommodations, applications, training, and the protection of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential information. Mr. Broda also routinely advises on corporate deals and restructurings.  

Mr. Broda has appeared in several published cases covering a broad range of topics, including, but not limited to: Phillips v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 06 C 3747, 2007 WL 1266303 (N.D. Ill. April 30, 2007); Stark v. PPM America, Inc., 354 F.3d 666 (7th Cir. 2004); Guy Carpenter & Co., Inc. v. Provenzale, 334 F.3d 459 (5th Cir. 2003); Anheuser Busch v. Teamsters Local 744, 280 F.3d 1133 (7th Cir. 2002); Peele v. County Mutual Ins. Co., 288 F.3d 319 (7th Cir. 2002); Hogan v. Metromail, 107 F.Supp.2d 459 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); 167 F.Supp.2d 593 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); 2002 WL 373245, 28 Employee Benefits Cas. 1480 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); Lumenite Control Technology, Inc. v. Jarvis, 252 F.Supp.2d 700 (N.D.Ill. 2003); Hupp v. Metromail Corp. Special Severance Plan, 133 F.Supp.2d 681 (N.D.Ill. 2001); and Illinois State Police v. Fraternal Order of Police Troopers, Lodge No. 41, 323 Ill.App.3d 322 (4th Dist. 2001).

Mr. Broda is a member of the bar of the State of Illinois, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Eighth Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. Mr. Broda received a B.A. in American Studies from Knox College, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with College Honors. He has an M.A. from the University of Iowa, and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, magna cum laude

Mr. Broda's pro bono activities have included performing legal work for Lakefront Supportive Housing and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, two organizations dedicated to improving the lives of the homeless and recently homeless, and representing an individual plaintiff with respect to her claims of race, religious and disability discrimination in the Northern District of Illinois. He is also an active alumnus of Knox College, serving as Alumni Class Agent and Reunion Chair.


Jennifer S. Brand has been the Associate Solicitor of Labor for the Fair Labor Standards Division of the United States Department of Labor since March 2011.  In this position, she oversees the National Office Division of the Solicitor’s Office which handles all matters involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Davis Bacon Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, other federal wage related statutes and several whistleblower statutes.  The Fair Labor Standards Division also acts as Counsel to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.

From May 2008 until March 2011, Ms. Brand was the Executive Director of the New York State Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification.  Prior to joining the Task Force, Ms. Brand held the position of Chief of the Labor Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  She had been employed in the Attorney General’s Labor Bureau for nearly twenty years and had previously held the positions of Deputy Bureau Chief, General Labor Section Chief and Assistant Attorney General.

Ms. Brand is a graduate of Barnard College, and Columbia University School of Law and she also holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.


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.


Susan N. Eisenberg has more than 25 years representing employers in all aspects of employment matters and is widely recognized as one of the leading employment law attorneys in Florida. Susan has extensive jury and non-jury trial experience involving sex, race, religion, age and disability harassment and discrimination issues. She also litigates non-compete and confidentiality issues as well as accessibility issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She regularly handles single plaintiff as well as class-action litigation. Susan is also widely known for her experience with wage and hour issues and is one of the authors of the premiere treatise titled The Fair Labor Standards Act.

Susan also advises clients on employment law compliance, discipline, terminations, reductions in force and wage and hour audits. She has extensive experience in conducting workplace investigations including those involving high level executives. She prepares workplace policies and procedure manuals, employment contracts, non-compete and confidentiality agreements and separation agreements. Susan also conducts informative and entertaining in-house training on employment Susan is Florida Bar Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law and has been a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers since 2007. Susan was recognized as one of the top 20 women lawyers in South Florida in 2014. She is a frequent lecturer, author and bar association leader. She regularly writes and speaks on employment issues for the American Bar Association, Practicing Law Institute, and American Conference Institute. Susan is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee, president of the Academy of Florida Management Attorneys, and founding member and president of the Wage and Hour Defense Institute.

In addition to her litigation and counseling practice, for the past 10 years Susan has been an Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and a Certified Mediator.

Susan earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Miami where she was a member of law review and president of the Moot Court Board. Before practicing law, Susan worked as a pharmacist and still holds her pharmacy license in Florida.

Practice Areas

• Labor & Employment

Education

• 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 USA2004-2015,
• Chambers USA 2012, Women in Law Awards, Short List for Employment Lawyer of the Year
• Super Lawyers Magazine2012-2015
• 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


Tim Long leads a vibrant employment law practice representing clients throughout the state and beyond from his offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. For the last two years, The Daily Journal has selected Tim as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in California. 

Tim has developed a national reputation litigating complex employment matters.  Tim has acted as lead counsel in numerous class, collective and representative actions and advised on dozens more.

Mr. Long is one of the few lawyers who has tried to verdict an employment class action, obtaining a complete defense verdict on behalf of a major retailer. He went on to protect the verdict on appeal.  Last year Tim argued to the California Supreme Court, achieving a victory for another retail client.  He also made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving independent contractors and the enforceability of arbitration agreements.  That case settled on the eve of oral argument.

Tim is also the Editor of PLI’s Employment Law Yearbook, which is the most comprehensive, annual update on issues that are most relevant to employment law practitioners.


Stephen P. Sonnenberg, Esq. has deep experience in understanding and resolving complex labor and employment disputes. Mr. Sonnenberg’s unique background, which allows him to understand both plaintiff and defendant concerns, comes from the practice of law, experience as a mediator, and prior experience as a psychotherapist. Mr. Sonnenberg is known for his attention to detail, thoughtful approach to emotion-laden disputes, and demeanor conducive to settlement.

Mr. Sonnenberg practiced labor and employment law at the highest levels for 25 years at Paul Hastings, a prominent AMLAW 100 firm, and achieved a prestigious ranking from Chambers USA, within the Labor & Employment band. Leadership roles at the firm included a term as Chair of the New York Employment Law Practice (2014-2017), Vice Chair of the Employment Law Department (International) (2003-2014) and Co-Chair of the Employment Law Department’s national wage and hour law practice (2005-2014). Resident for an equal amount of time in the firm’s Los Angeles and New York offices, Mr. Sonnenberg represented and advised clients in a wide range of employment disputes, including wage and hour class and collective actions, retaliation, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenant, discrimination and harassment lawsuits. He has also overseen and conducted privileged internal investigations in response to complaints of misconduct.

Mr. Sonnenberg has mediated numerous matters not only at JAMS but as a member of the Mediation Panels of the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He has taught employment law to members of the federal judiciary through the Federal Judicial Center, has provided employment law training and advice in a variety of settings, and is an adjunct faculty member at Cardozo Law School.

Before practicing law, Mr. Sonnenberg devoted himself to a 15-year career as a clinical social worker in Michigan and California. Mr. Sonnenberg worked in diverse psychiatric settings and community organizations, assisting individuals with a wide range of emotional, vocational and financial challenges, including facilitating the resolution of disputes with family members, employers and other third parties.  Settings included psychiatric hospitals, a community mental health center, and the private practice of psychotherapy working with individuals, couples and families.


Ellen Kearns is the office head and senior partner in the Boston office of Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete, LLP, a law firm specializing in labor and employment law.

Ellen is the Editor-in-Chief of the first, second and third editions of the ABA/BNA Treatise, The Fair Labor Standards Act. She also chairs the ABA Editorial Board for the Journal of Labor & Employment Law. 

Ellen has been recognized by Chambers USA Guide, Best Lawyers in America, American Registry, and Super Lawyers (Top 100 in Massachusetts, Top 50 Women in Massachusetts, Top 50 Women in New England). She is a frequent speaker on wage and hour law.

Ellen also serves as Chair of the Corporate Board of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Sponsored Ministries. She graduated from Boston College Law School and Regis College.


George 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 eleven 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 fifteen years, George has been lead or co-lead counsel in more than 100 wage and hour actions filed in state and federal courts across the country. George is also a frequent speaker regarding trial practice and wage and hour matters nationwide, and served on the Senior Editorial Board of the ABA’s Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise, 3rd Edition.


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 over a hundred thousand employees seeking to recover overtime pay, minimum wages and commission payments. She has successfully handled numerous jury trials and arbitrations. She is a member of the firm’s management committee and the chair of its Business Development and Marketing Groups, which originate class and collective actions and market the firm. Michele is a regular speaker at local and national conferences, routinely acts as an author and editor for wage and hour publications, and is active in several organizations. 

Michele is the co-chair and a faculty member of the Practising Law Institute’s Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance conference, the Co-Chair of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee. She has also served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee’s Midwinter Report, an editorial board member for BNA’s the Fair Labor Standard Act Treatise, and a chapter editor for BNA’s Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey. 

Michele has been named to the Super Lawyers, Top Women Attorneys, and Rising Star lists repeatedly, and is a member of the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, the Top 10 Wage and Hour Trial Lawyers, and a Lawyer of Distinction. Michele provides pro bono representation for the Children’s Law Center.


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 both locally and nationally recognized as a leading management employment law firm in the prestigious Best Law Firms survey for 2011-2017 by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

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 present editions of The Best Lawyers in America, Washington D.C.’s, Washington D.C.’s Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers. Mr. Fortney also has 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. Mr. Fortney received his B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University and his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law.