Tag Archives: ogletree deakins

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Leah Freed – Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Leah FreedManaging Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
Freed is the managing shareholder of Ogletree’s Phoenix office, one of the world’s largest labor and employment firms. Freed has extensive experience advising and defending employers.

Greatest accomplishment: “Being selected as the managing shareholder of the Ogletree Phoenix office at the age of 36.”

Surprising fact: “I have held a job everywhere from Taco Bell to Home Depot.”

Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue, Az Business Magazine celebrates the amazing women who make an impact on Arizona business.

Click here to see all of the 2014 Most Influential Women.

asu skysong collaborates with Taiwan's ITRI

Enterprise Univ. examines Social Media, Personnel

Enterprise Bank & Trust, focused on the financial needs of privately-held businesses, their owner families, executives and professionals, announces its spring 2014 Enterprise University course schedule providing free educational seminars on a variety of relevant topics for business owners and their leadership.

“We’ve received outstanding feedback from Enterprise University participants the last two years and are delighted to debut our new format and dynamic speakers this semester,” said Enterprise Bank & Trust Arizona Region Chairman Jack Barry. “We’re pleased to offer the Phoenix business community an opportunity to learn from leading Valley professionals and the chance to share ideas and network in this engaging and interactive setting.”

The spring 2014 course schedule entails:

o Emerging Social Media and Personnel Policy Risks for Employers, Tuesday, March 11 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Joseph T. Clees, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins and New Guest Instructor: Brian E. Hayes, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins and past member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
o Options for Selling a Business and How Private Equity Can Help, Thursday, April 10 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: James D. Colyer, Partner, True North Companies)
o Leveraging Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business, Wednesday, May 14 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Stephen Heitz, Managing Director of Interactive Services, The Lavidge Company)

All courses are held at Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 N 7th St, in Phoenix. Classes are free, but registration is required. For additional information and to register visit www.enterprisebank.com/eu.

Enterprise Bank & Trust Arizona Region Chairman Jack Barry

Enterprise announces free spring seminar schedule

Enterprise Bank & Trust, focused on the financial needs of privately-held businesses, their owner families, executives and professionals, announces its spring 2014 Enterprise University course schedule providing free educational seminars on a variety of relevant topics for business owners and their leadership.

“We’ve received outstanding feedback from Enterprise University participants the last two years and are delighted to debut our new format and dynamic speakers this semester,” said Enterprise Bank & Trust Arizona Region Chairman Jack Barry. “We’re pleased to offer the Phoenix business community an opportunity to learn from leading Valley professionals and the chance to share ideas and network in this engaging and interactive setting.”

The spring 2014 course schedule entails:

o Emerging Social Media and Personnel Policy Risks for Employers, Tuesday, March 11 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Joseph T. Clees, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins)
o Options for Selling a Business and How Private Equity Can Help, Thursday, April 10 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: James D. Colyer, Partner, True North Companies)
o Leveraging Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business, Wednesday, May 14 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Stephen Heitz, Managing Director of Interactive Services, The Lavidge Company)

All courses are held at Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 N 7th St, in Phoenix. Classes are free, but registration is required. For additional information and to register visit www.enterprisebank.com/eu.

Enterprise University courses in Phoenix, St. Louis and Kansas City are taught by a variety of industry experts and focus on relevant business topics including marketing, social media, sales, financial strategies, leadership training, employee management, employee benefits, succession planning and more. Enterprise University challenges business owners to think strategically and collectively supports a thriving business community by offering its courses to bank clients as well as non-clients. Attendees may register for any or all of the free courses.

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Ogletree Deakins Named a ‘Law Firm of the Year’

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in two categories, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management, in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list. Only one law firm in each practice area receives the “Law Firm of the Year” honor. This is the third consecutive year that Ogletree Deakins has been named a “Law Firm of the Year.” It is also the second consecutive year that the firm has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in the Employment Law – Management category.

In Arizona, Ogletree Deakins’ offices in Phoenix and Tucson earned “First-Tier” rankings in three practice area categories: Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Nationally, the firm has been recognized with six “First-Tier” rankings: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Employment Law – Management; Immigration Law; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment; and Construction Law. A complete list of honorees is available today at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

“We are very excited to have received ‘Law Firm of the Year’ designations again this year,” said Kim Ebert, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins. “We will continue our focus on providing outstanding service and value to our clients.”

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Ogletree Deakins Named a 'Law Firm of the Year'

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in two categories, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management, in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list. Only one law firm in each practice area receives the “Law Firm of the Year” honor. This is the third consecutive year that Ogletree Deakins has been named a “Law Firm of the Year.” It is also the second consecutive year that the firm has been named “Law Firm of the Year” in the Employment Law – Management category.

In Arizona, Ogletree Deakins’ offices in Phoenix and Tucson earned “First-Tier” rankings in three practice area categories: Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management; and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Nationally, the firm has been recognized with six “First-Tier” rankings: Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law; Employment Law – Management; Immigration Law; Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor & Employment; and Construction Law. A complete list of honorees is available today at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

“We are very excited to have received ‘Law Firm of the Year’ designations again this year,” said Kim Ebert, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins. “We will continue our focus on providing outstanding service and value to our clients.”

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Advice on doing background checks on potential employees

Many employers are surprised to learn that they should not automatically exclude an applicant based on a felony criminal record. Doesn’t an employer have a duty to protect other employees and customers?

Employers do have an obligation to properly screen employees, but they should ensure that the screening does not run afoul of anti-discrimination laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect individuals with criminal records per se, but rather prohibits policies that discriminate against applicants or employees based on race, either intentionally or in practice.

In June of this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits against BMW and Dollar General Corp. over their use of criminal background checks to screen out job applicants or fire employees. In these cases, the EEOC claims that the practice of automatic disqualification discriminates against African-Americans, who have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

While EEOC Guidance is not the law, it provides the EEOC’s view on the law and thus informs cautious employers of EEOC’s enforcement position. According to the EEOC’s April 2012 Guidance on arrest and conviction records, Title VII race and/or national origin discrimination may occur in two situations:

* When employers treat criminal history differently for different applicants/employees, based on their race or national origin (disparate treatment).
* When an employer’s neutral background check policy or practice disproportionately impacts protected individuals (disparate impact), unless the policy is job-related and consistent with business necessity.

A targeted screening process is the most common way an employer may establish that the background check is “job related and consistent with business necessity” — i.e., satisfy the “business necessity” affirmative defense — and, therefore, defend against an EEOC finding of disparate impact. The Guidance suggests that employers should use the targeted screening process to determine whether they may rely on the criminal background check information in taking adverse employment action.

A targeted screening process should take into account the following factors:
• The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct;
•  The time that has passed since the offense, conduct, and/or completion of the sentence; and
•  The nature of the job held or sought.

In its Guidance, the Commission repeats its long-held position that an arrest, by itself, is never job-related and consistent with business necessity because an arrest does not establish that criminal conduct has occurred, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and many arrests do not result in convictions. The Guidance makes no distinction between pending/current arrests and arrests that did not result in convictions, although employers often do. The Guidance provides, however, that an employer may make an employment decision based on the conduct underlying the arrest if the conduct makes the individual unfit for the position in question.

In order to avoid EEOC charges and lawsuits related to criminal background checks, employers should follow these best practices:

• Eliminate policies or practices that automatically exclude people from employment based on any criminal record.
• Develop a narrowly tailored written policy for criminal background screening, wherein you identify essential job requirements, determine the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing such jobs, determine the duration of exclusions for criminal conduct, record the justification for the policy, and note and keep a record of consultations and research.
• When asking questions about criminal records, limit inquiries to records for which exclusion would be job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
• Consider eliminating questions regarding criminal records from the employment application. The question can be asked later in the process when you have more information on the candidate. This also limits the number of targeted screening that must be performed.
• The background check consent form should be separate from other documents (e.g., employment application). It should describe the various types of background check information being requested and/or reviewed – e.g., criminal, credit, etc.
• Keep information about applicants’ and employees’ criminal records confidential, and only use it for the purpose for which it was intended.
• Do not use arrest information that did not result in a conviction. Pending arrests should be considered only if the employer has independent knowledge of the underlying facts.
• Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act when the records are obtained through a consumer reporting agency.
• Perform an individualized assessment of criminal background information before using it to exclude a candidate or an employee. Factors to consider are:

o Individual’s showing that he/she was not correctly identified in the criminal record;
o The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct;
o The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted;
o Older age at the time of conviction, or release from prison;
o Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post-conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct;
o The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct;
o Rehabilitation efforts, e.g., education/training;
o Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position; and
o Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.

Tracy A. Miller is shareholder with Ogletree Deakins in Phoenix. She represents management in all facets of labor and employment law and civil rights.

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Major victories for same-sex marriage

In a historic victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

“Today’s significant ruling will likely spur further expansion of protections for LGBT individuals,” said Nonnie Shivers, a shareholder in the Phoenix office of Ogletree Deakins. “Employers must keep abreast of these rapidly expanding protections under federal, state, and local laws for not only gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, but also covering gender identity and gender expression. Employers should expect changes to federal laws impacting the workplace based on today’s rulings, in particular the inclusion of same-sex partners in leave considerations under the Family and Medical Leave Act and potentially sponsorship of same-sex partners for immigration purposes, as well as expanded state and local protections.”

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Gov. Jerry Brown quickly ordered that marriage licenses be issued to gay couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts its hold on the lower court ruling, possibly next month.

In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage. And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.

President Barack Obama praised the court’s ruling on the federal marriage act, which he labeled “discrimination enshrined in law.”

“It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people,” Obama said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was disappointed in the outcome of the federal marriage case and hoped states continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The ruling in the California case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.

“We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,” Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

Clees, Joe

Clees Among ‘Nation’s Most Powerful Attorneys’

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, announced that Joe Clees, a shareholder in the firm’s Phoenix office, has been named to Human Resource Executive magazine’s 2013 list of the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys.” This is the fifth consecutive year that he has been selected by clients and colleagues for inclusion in the Most Powerful list.

Attorneys were named to the list based on their excellence in guiding employers through today’s ever-intensifying legal landscape. To make the list, attorneys must receive glowing recommendations from corporate counsel who have benefitted from their services and would hire them again. Listed attorneys typically also must have practiced for more than 20 years and have amassed a number of accomplishments, including defending companies in headline-making cases and holding leadership positions within employment groups both in and outside of their firms.

Clees, who has practiced employment law for more than 25 years, represents employers throughout the United States. He also counsels clients on a wide array of state, federal, and tribal compliance laws. He has served as the chair of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Arizona’s Employment and Labor Law section, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Affirmative Action Association and the Valley of the Sun Human Resource Association (VSHRA), and as employment law counsel to many industry and trade groups. Clees regularly speaks and trains on labor and employment law topics, both regionally and nationally.

Beyond the “Most Powerful Employment Attorney” award, Clees has been recognized as one of the Southwest Super Lawyers (2007-2013), including several years in the Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers, and is regularly included in Chambers USA (2005-present). He has been included in Best Lawyers in America (2006-present), and this year, was named by Best Lawyers as the Phoenix “Employment Law – Management” Lawyer of the Year. Clees has also been singled out as one of the “The Legal 500.” Locally, Arizona Business Magazine rates him as one of the “Top Attorneys of Arizona,” and the Phoenix Business Journal designates him as a “Best of the Bar.”

Joe Clees, Tibor Nagy, Jr., and Mark Kisicki

Ogletree Deakins Attorneys Ranked in Chambers USA

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, announced that Joe Clees and Mark Kisicki, from the firm’s Phoenix office, and Tibor Nagy, Jr., from the firm’s Tucson office, have been included in the 2013 edition of Chambers USA, an annual ranking of law firms and lawyers comprising an extensive range of practice areas. Ogletree Deakins’ Arizona offices also earned a Band 1 ranking, the highest possible, in the Labor & Employment practice area. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Arizona offices have earned a Band 1 ranking. In total, the firm’s offices in 19 states and the District of Columbia along with 72 of the firm’s attorneys have been included in the 2013 edition.

Chambers USA is widely used by firms and businesses for referral purposes and many utilize the rankings and profiles of firms to find appropriate legal counsel. Firms and individuals are ranked in bands and the rankings are developed through research and thousands of in-depth interviews with clients and peers in order to assess their reputations and knowledge across the United States. The guide reflects a law firm’s high level of performance in key areas including technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other various qualities stated as most valued by the client.

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Ogletree Deakins Elects Shareholders

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, is pleased to announce that Christopher J. Meister and Nonnie L. Shivers, from the firm’s Phoenix office, have been elected to the position of shareholder.

Meister has extensive experience litigating matters involving trade secrets and confidential information in state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States. Meister regularly provides practical and strategic advice to clients regarding compliance with federal and state employment laws, employment policies, and employer best practices to avoid employment litigation. He also utilizes his corporate law experience and business acumen to regularly assist clients with complex employment and incentive agreements, noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, confidentiality agreements, and severance agreements. Meister earned his J.D. from the Wake Forest School of Law.

Shivers focuses her practice on defending employers against allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination in state and federal court, as well as administrative forums. She also regularly provides advice and guidance to employers on reductions in force, disability issues and pre-litigation disciplinary matters. Shivers regularly speaks on current and emerging employment law topics and has published several scholarly articles focused on employment law. Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Shivers served as a law clerk to the Honorable Patricia K. Norris on the Arizona Court of Appeals. She earned her J.D. from the University of Arizona.

2012 ACC Awards Reception

Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards Reception (PHOTOS)

Nearly 300 in-house counsel attorneys and professionals congregated at The Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix on January 12, 2012 for the first annual 2012 Arizona Corporate Counsel.

Attendees from ON-Semiconductor, Grant Thornton, Ogletree Deakins, LifeLock, Barrett-Jackson and many more notable law firms and businesses shared a wonderful evening with AZ Business Magazine and AZ Big Media, where we recognized and celebrated the winners in each category for extraordinary legal skill and achievement across a full range of in-house responsibility, exemplary leadership and their contributions to the Arizona community at large.

We hope everyone enjoyed your evening, and we look forward to next year’s event.

Thank you to our sponsors and presenters,
and congratulations ACC Award winners!


Photos from the 2012 Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards reception:

[slickr-flickr tag="acc-awards-party" items="29" type="slideshow" id="54004193@N04"]

View this album on Flickr.

Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards 2012 Winners

In-House Counsel of the Year in the Government/Public Sector:
Jane Alfano, Senior Executive for SRP Agricultural Improvement and Power District

In-House Counsel of the Year – Nonprofit:
Cindy Sehr, Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert

In-House Counsel at a Small Private Company:
Virginia Llewellyn, Barrett- Jackson

In-House Counsel for a Large Private Company:
Christopher Kevane, Rural/Metro Corporation

In-House Counsel of the Year for a Small Public Company:
David Glynn, OneNeck IT

In-House Counsel of the Year for a Large Public Company:
Mark Rogers, American Corporate Counsel – Arizona Chapter Arizona

Intellectual Property Attorney of the Year:
Clarissa Cerda, LifeLock

Litigator of the Year:
Mark Larson, Honeywell

Up-and-Comer of the Year:
Lukas Grabiec, Intel

In-House Law Department of the Year:
ON-Semiconductor