Tag Archives: Sherman & Howard

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Hope Leibsohn: Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Hope Leibsohn, member, Sherman & Howard

Liebsohn has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of estate planning involving wills, trusts, charitable techniques, estate freezes and other sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. She was appointed by former Gov. Janet Napolitano and reappointed by former Gov. Jan Brewer as vice chairman of the Arizona Family College Savings Program Oversight Committee.

Greatest accomplishment: “As an estate planning attorney, encouraging my clients to leave inspirational messages as their intangible legacies.”

Reception: The 2015 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

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Az Business honors Most Influential Women in Arizona

They are the best business minds in Arizona. They are innovators, trailblazers and leaders of industry.

They are Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2015, as selected by the editorial team at Az Business magazine and a panel of industry experts.

“While their resumes and career paths may differ, the women we selected have all procured influence in their respective fields through hard-earned track records of profitability, business ethics and leadership,” said AZ Big Media  Publisher Cheryl Green. “Az Business magazine is proud to congratulate the women who earned the right to call themselves one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. They are changing the face of Arizona business.”

Members of the 2015 list will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

The women selected to this prestigious list for 2015 are:

Amy Abdo, director, Fennemore Craig

Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president and regional manager, Wells Fargo

Karen Anderson, researcher, ASU’s Biodesign Institute

Lauren Bailey, founder, Upward Projects

Glynis Bryan, CFO, Insight Enterprises

Rita Cheng, president, NAU

Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research at the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine

Alisa Gray, shareholder, Tiffany & Bosco

Sue Hasenstein, BMO Harris Bank

Melissa Ho, Polsinelli

Bo Hughes, CFO and COO, Pinnacle Bank

Veronique James, CEO, The James Agency

Isabelle Jazo, senior vice president of strategy, LaneTerralever

Carolyn J. Johnsen, Dickinson Wright

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Rosey Koberlein, CEO, Long Companies

Becky Kuhn, executive vice president, Banner Health

Betsy Kuzas, chief operating officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Michelle Lawrie, economic development director, Goodyear

Nona Lee, SVP and general counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hope Leibsohn, member, Sherman & Howard

Stacey L. Lihn, Gallagher & Kennedy

Tina Machado, president, CodeRed-I

Carol May, president, Wisdom Natural Brands DBA SweetLeaf

Sara McCoy, first female to manage a power plant for SRP

Erica McGinnis, president and CEO, AIG Advisor Group

Tammy McLeod, vice president, APS

Rose Megian, president and CEO, Health Net of Arizona

Dion Messer, general counsel – intellectual property, Limelight Networks

MaryAnn Miller, senior vice president, Avnet

Ioanna Morfessis, president, IO.Inc.

Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh,VP and General Counsel, Honeywell

Annette G. Musa, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Christine Nowaczyk, senior vice president, Bank of Arizona

Deborah Pearson, Arizona State Credit Union

Susan Pepin, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives

Christina Roderick, principal, REDW

Patricia Rourke, market president, Bankers Trust

Lisa Sanchez, COO, The CORE Institute

Adelaida V. Severson, president and CEO, Bushtex

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ 9th District

Sherri Slayton, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Wendi A. Sorensen, Burch & Cracchiolo

Molly Stockley, vice president of hospital growth, CTCA

Cathy Valenzuela, president, Arizona Business Bank

Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO, Casino Del Sol Resort

Cheryl Vogt, managing director, Marsh

Cynthia Walter, president, BAGNALL

Lori L. Winkelman, Quarles & Brady LLP

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Denyse Airheart, interim director of economic development, City of Maricopa

Jessica Benford, shareholder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

Dr. Ivana Dzeletovic, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stephanie Parra, executive director, T.W. Lewis Foundation

Teresa M. Pilatowicz, of counsel, Garman Turner Gordon

To select the best and brightest women to recognize each year, the editor and publisher of Az Business magazine compile a list of almost 1,000 women from every facet of Arizona’s business landscape — banking, law, healthcare, bioscience, real estate, technology, manufacturing, retail, tourism, energy, accounting and nonprofits. Once that list is compiled, we vet the list, narrow it down to about 150 women who we feel are most deserving, and then submit the list to 20 of their peers — female leaders from a variety or industries — and ask them to vote. If they want to vote for someone whose name is not on the list of those submitted for consideration, voters are invited to write in the names of women who they think deserve to members of this exclusive club.

Az Business also does not allow a woman to appear on the list most than once.

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DOL cracks down on illegal practices in construction industry

For the last five years, the Department of Labor has investigated 16 companies in Utah and Arizona for misclassifying employees as contractors. It came to a close on April 23 with $700,000 owed in back wages, damages and penalties for more than 1,000 construction industry workers in the Southwest.

However, this is hardly the end of the DOL’s targeting of the construction industry for illegal labor and wage practices.

“Many employers are feeling the squeeze in the construction industry from the recession and they’re looking for answers and sometimes innocently stumble on the answer of making people independent contractors,” says John Doran, attorney at Sherman & Howard.

The aforementioned case, for instance, included a company that asked its employees to form LLCs. It went from having employees one day to having none.

Misclassification of employees and contractors is more often than not unintentional, experts say. The easier said than done solution is educating employers and employees.

“Arizona does present additional challenges as a border state,” says Jesús Olivares, community outreach specialist for the DOL’s wage and hour division. “A lot of migrant workers and transient employees work here and then move on to other states. It’s a culture in which employees think in order to keep a job, they can put up with these illegal practices. Migrants have no options and that creates an additional obstacle for us. I think here, locally, more than 60 percent of employees who have been misclassified are Hispanic.”

Even if employees seem happy, says Tracy Miller, attorney at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, it only takes one person to set an investigation in motion. Sometimes that catalyst is a competitor who is getting underbid by a company that can afford to charge less for a project due to money being saved by misclassifying employees. On average, misclassifying workers can save a company 30 to 35 percent of worker overhead, Olivares says.

“We try to educate our members,” says Arizona Builders Alliance Executive Director Mark Minter. “Employment law attorneys come to our conventions … I hope, as a result of those efforts, people are more aware of potential pitfalls.”

Minter says most calls from members seeking advice concern issues of travel time and apprenticeship classifications, not about righting the misclassification of employees. Minter understands the consequences of misclassification, citing a personal friend who lost his business because he improperly reported sales tax and was audited by the Department of Revenue.

The solution, for Minter, is transparency from the DOL. He recalls that shortly after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, a lot of government projects were swept into the pipeline and scooped up by contractors who may have not understood federal classification rules.

“We tried to get guidelines from the DOL, but we were told, ‘We’ll look at the situation and advise after the fact,’” Minter recalls. This led to expensive misinterpretations of federal guidelines, he said.

Olivares, in concert with industry leaders, such as Sacks Tierney lawyers Matt Meaker and Helen Holden, and organizations like the ABA, launched the Employee Misclassification Compliance Assistance Program about a year ago to further the educational mission.

The EMCAP program is a self-audit tool developed to help contractors assess their classification practices. The program also offers a good faith model in which the agency will waive money going to the federal government.

“Peer pressure is a powerful tool,” says Meaker. “If the right players are involved and the right players know what they’re looking for, we’re going to make the light shine forward and force the bad actors into the dark further.”

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Tom Morgan named Bar’s Business Law Section Chair

Sherman & Howard attorney Tom Morgan has been elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona, effective immediately. Morgan served as co-vice chairman of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona from 2014-2015. He also served as the former chairman of the Securities Regulation Section of the State Bar of Arizona from 2003-2004.

Tom Morgan is a Member in Sherman & Howard’s Business and Corporate Practice Group. He has more than 30 years’ experience representing public and privately held companies with respect to corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities law compliance, real estate and tax planning matters.

“Tom’s leadership and his dedication to his clients represent the foundational values of our law firm’s commitment to partner with our clients to understand their goals and become trusted advisors,” says Greg Falls, manager of Sherman & Howard’s Phoenix and Scottsdale offices. “This recognition validates the commitment Tom has to providing the highest-quality legal and business solutions when it matters most.” Falls added, “Tom has also demonstrated a high level of dedication to the State Bar of Arizona.”

The purpose of the Business Law Section is to promote the objectives of the State Bar of Arizona within the area of business law, and, to that end, to further the development of that field of the law and all its branches to cooperate in obtaining uniformity with respect to both legislation and administration in all matters within this field; to simplify and improve the application of justice in this field; to promote throughout the State of Arizona the legal education of members of the Bar and the public on new developments and problems within this field by sponsoring meetings, institutes, and conferences, the preparation, sponsorship and publication of legal writing in this field; and otherwise to further the interests of the State Bar of Arizona and of the legal profession as a whole in any and all ways relating to this field of the law, all in conformity with the bylaws of the State Bar of Arizona as in effect from time to time.

Tom has received several commendations by his professional peers, including being recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2012-2015; listed in Southwest Super Lawyers for Securities & Corporate Law, 2012-2013; and ranked in AZ Business Magazine’s Top Lawyers for Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions and Tax, 2010 – 2012.

Mr. Morgan earned his LL.M. in Taxation at New York University; his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, graduating with an Order of the Coif in 1981, and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Oklahoma State University in 1978.

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Sherman & Howard’s John Doran earns honor

The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers announced the election of Sherman & Howard’s John Alan Doran as a newly elected Fellow.  Election as a Fellow is the highest recognition by one’s colleagues of sustained outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication and excellence.

Mr. Doran has over 25 years of experience representing employers in mass employment, wage/hour class and collective action litigation, as well as employment discrimination, public accommodations discrimination, and wrongful termination litigation. In addition, Mr. Doran represents employers in restrictive covenant and trade secret matters in state and federal courts. Mr. Doran also regularly counsels clients on prevention strategies, executive employment contracts, downsizing and personnel policies. Mr. Doran is a noted speaker and author and presents regularly at conferences and trade association events.

“For many labor and employment lawyers, election to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers is the highest recognition of their more than 20 plus years of excellence in the practice as well as their contributions to their profession and community,” says Sherman & Howard attorney Bernie Siebert, a member of the Board of Governors of the College of  Labor and Employment Lawyers. “It takes more than just being a great lawyer to be a Fellow. John’s excellence as a lawyer and his many contributions to the profession were recognized by his peers with his election to be a Fellow in the class of 2015.” Sherman & Howard attorneys Siebert, Jim Hautzinger (now retired) and Ted Olsen are members of The College’s Board of Governors.

Bill Wright, manager of Sherman & Howard’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, said of the recognition: “We are proud and pleased that the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers has added John Doran to the prestigious roll. His election demonstrates the depth of experience Sherman & Howard offers in this area of law.”

Membership into the fellowship is by nomination only, limited to lawyers who have met specific qualifications for a period of not less than 20 years. Membership honors those lawyers who have demonstrated to their peers, the bar, bench and public through long performance related to the practice of Labor and Employment Law that they represent.

Those specific qualifications include:

  • The highest professional qualifications and ethical standards based on the College’s acclaimed Principles of Civility and Professionalism;
  • The highest level of character, integrity, professional expertise and leadership;
  • A commitment to fostering and furthering the objectives of the College;
  • Sustained, exceptionally high-quality services to clients, bar, bench and public; and
  • Significant evidence of scholarship, teaching, lecturing and/or published writings on Labor and Employment Law.

The 20th installation of Fellows will be held Saturday, November 7, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA, coincident with the American Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section’s Continuing Legal Education Conference. With the current installation, the College is represented by more than 1,300 members in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and eight provinces in Canada.

Commercial Real Estate Industry - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

Global Law Experts honor Sherman & Howard

Global Law Experts (GLE) recognized Sherman & Howard as the Labor Law Firm of the Year in Arizona for 2015. GLE conducted a rigorous and extensive nomination and research process for the sixth Annual Global Law Experts Awards. Candidates were judged on client testimonials, key cases, legal rankings, overall reputation, publication contributions, speaking engagements and the performance and standing of teams and individual lawyers.

Sherman & Howard’s labor law practice is among the most high-profile and most well-respected in Arizona. Robert Deeny, Raymond Deeny, and Thomas Kennedy are considered stalwarts of the Arizona labor and employment community, while John Alan Doran is considered among the premier labor and employment lawyers in the Southwest. At the partner level, Sherman & Howard’s Arizona offices team consists of Doran, Robert Deeny, Thomas Kennedy, and Arthur Pederson, all Arizona residents, as well as Raymond Deeny and William Wright, who split their time between Arizona and Colorado. Robert Deeny, who is considered to be one of the fathers of labor and employment law in Arizona, enjoys a vigorous practice that is devoted almost exclusively to national labor cases.

 

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Chambers USA: Sherman & Howard

Six attorneys from Sherman & Howard in Arizona  were recognized in the 2015 release of Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.  This honor follows a rigorous and independent law firm research and evaluation process that seeks to identify and rank the world’s best lawyers (i.e., those who perform best according to the criteria most valued by clients – such as technical expertise, business acumen, prompt delivery and value for money).

Chambers recognized Sherman & Howard attorneys practicing in Labor & Employment, Real Estate and Litigation: General Commercial in Arizona. Here’s what they had to say*:

Labor & Employment
The firm’s Labor & Employment group is highly regarded for defending management in bet-the-company cases, collective bargaining and whistle-blowing matters.

Raymond Deeny continues to lead the labor and employment field at the firm, handling a large number of significant federal and state jury trials and arbitrations.  Observers note that he is “responsive, practical and knowledgeable.  He understands how businesses operate and can communicate with people at all levels of an organization.”

John Alan Doran, who leads the firm’s Labor and Employment Group in both Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, is regarded as a talented employment litigator, with recent work including successfully representing the City of Phoenix when the United Phoenix Firefighters Association sued the city as an attempt to halt changes to pay practices.  A source says: “He is creative in his search for answers to problems and he is extremely responsive.”

Real Estate
Sherman & Howard real estate attorneys advise clients across a wide range of matters, including complex financings and commercial leases.

Azim Hameed manages the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.  He handles a diverse range of real estate matters, including leasing and acquisitions, and often works on behalf of home builders and other developers.  Interviewees appreciate his “timeliness in delivering work product” and his “immense knowledge and experience base.”

Peter Spiller practices in the firm’s Scottsdale, Arizona office.  He was ranked as a “Notable Practitioner” in the Real Estate – Arizona listing.  He represents purchasers and sellers of real property in the negotiation and administration of a variety of acquisition and sale agreements.

Litigation
Sherman & Howard offers expertise in handling partnership battles, business torts and financial fraud.

Gregory Falls, who manages the firm’s Phoenix and Scottsdale offices, was recognized by Chambers as a “Notable Practitioner” in the Litigation: General Commercial – Arizona category.  Greg represents individuals, companies and other organizations in litigation disputes related to ownership or operation of real property, contracts or other related commercial litigation.

David Weatherwax, a member in Sherman & Howard’s Phoenix office with more than 33 years of experience representing clients in all types of business disputes and creditor’s rights matters, was recognized as a “Notable Practitioner” in this edition of Chambers.

 

Sherman & Howard's Hope Leibsohn was selected to Southwest Super Lawyers.

4 from Sherman & Howard make Southwest Super Lawyers

Sherman & Howard announced that four of its Arizona attorneys have been named 2015 Southwest Super Lawyers: John Alan Doran in Labor and Employment Law, Bob Hackett in Business Litigation, Hope Leibsohn in Estate & Probate and Brian Mueller in Business Litigation. John Alan Doran was also selected for a special recognition by the publication: Southwest Super Lawyers’ “Top 50.”

“Super Lawyers” are selected following a rigorous, multiphase process that combines peer nominations and evaluations with third-party research. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

John Alan Doran represents employers in all facets of labor and employment law, including mass employment, wage/hour, employment discrimination and trade secret matters in state and federal courts. John counsels clients on prevention strategies, executive employment contracts, downsizing, personnel policies, and merger/acquisition employment issues. John is a noted speaker and author and presents regularly at conferences and trade association events throughout the country. He has been recognized for his work by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Southwest Super Lawyers and he has recently been featured as one of Arizona’s Top 50 attorneys by AZ Business magazine.

Robert Hackett is a member of Sherman & Howard’s Litigation Department and has more than 45 years of trial experience. His practice focuses on complex multi-party litigation, with emphasis on trials in securities and business fraud, antitrust, real estate, contract, intellectual property, business dissolutions, corporate governance/director and officer liability and other fiduciary duty disputes.

Hope Leibsohn is a member in Sherman & Howard’s estate and tax planning department. She has experience in all aspects of estate planning involving wills, trusts, charitable techniques, estate freezes, and other sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. Hope specializes in customized legacy plans based on tax planning strategies and on incorporating each client’s unique family dynamics and core life values. In addition to her recognition in Southwest Super Lawyers, Hope has been named to Best Lawyers in America and Top Lawyers by AZ Business magazine.

Brian Mueller has more than30 years of experience handling litigation matters for a variety of clients ranging from individuals and small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations throughout Arizona, and the U.S. He counsels clients on litigation matters regarding contract disputes, real estate and valuations, estate planning and probate; banking and financial services, corporate control and shareholder rights, construction, intellectual property, commercial torts, professional liability, transaction privilege and use tax, and telecommunications matters. In addition, Brian has extensive experience representing various Arizona municipalities, and has served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court for 11 years. He has been named a “Top Arizona Attorney” and “Southwest Super Lawyer” for the last four years.

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Susan Lichtenberger Joins Sherman & Howard

The law firm of Sherman & Howard announced that Susan Z. Lichtenberger has joined its Phoenix office as a paralegal in the Business and Corporate Department. Sue’s work will focus on intellectual property and trademark matters. She will also provide paralegal services for the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice.

Sue brings over 30 years of experience in the legal field including the areas of construction defect, labor and employment, bond and public financing, corporations and securities and general litigation matters. Previously, she worked for the State of Alaska’s Prosecution Division and the City Attorney in Juneau, Alaska.

Sue attended Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, where she received an Associate’s degree in science. Prior to joining Sherman & Howard, Sue worked as a legal assistant at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite.

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Michelle Morris Joins Sherman & Howard

The law firm of Sherman & Howard announced that Michelle M. Morris has joined its Phoenix office as a Member of the Business and Corporate Department. She brings more than 15 years’ experience to the firm. Michelle’s practice focuses on intellectual property and trademark matters, including development and implementation of brand strategies, trademark prosecution and enforcement, trademark licensing and other intellectual property agreements, and work with foreign agents regarding foreign trademark strategy. Michelle also will provide general corporate legal services including general business counseling and transactions.

“We are excited to have Michelle join Sherman & Howard,” says Gregory Falls, managing partner of the firm’s Phoenix and Scottsdale offices. “She is a well-known trademark attorney, and her experience in that area will be a great complement to the business and litigation services we offer our clients.”

Michelle is an author and speaker on intellectual property and trademark issues affecting businesses. She is a member of the State Bar of Arizona (Intellectual Property Law Section), the Maricopa County Bar Association, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association and the International Trademark Association.

Michelle graduated, magna cum laude, from Arizona State University College of Law, where she was the senior managing editor of ASU’s Law Journal, and received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. Michelle clerked for the Honorable Frederick J. Martone on the Arizona Supreme Court. Prior to joining Sherman & Howard, she worked at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite and Perkins Coie.

AZ Big Media honors Most Influential Women

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They are the best business minds in Arizona. They are innovators, trailblazers and leaders of men.

They are Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business for 2014, as selected by the editorial team at Az Business magazine and a panel of industry experts. The Most Influential Women were honored Thursday at a reception at The Venue in Scottsdale.

“While their resumes and career paths may differ, the women we selected have all procured influence in their respective fields through hard-earned track records of profitability, business ethics and leadership,” said AZ Big Media Publisher Cheryl Green. “Az Business magazine is proud to congratulate the women who earned the right to call themselves one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. They are changing the face of Arizona business.”

The women selected to this prestigious list for 2014 are:

Nazneen Aziz, Ph.D, senior vice president and chief research officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Trish Bear, president and CEO, I-ology
Dr. Amy Beiter, president and CEO, Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital and Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute
Janet G. Betts, member, Sherman & Howard
Kristin Bloomquist, executive vice president and general manager, Cramer-Krasselt
Delia Carlyle, councilwoman, Ak-Chin Indian Community
Luci Chen, partner, Arizona Center for Cancer Care
Mary Collum, senior vice president, National Bank of Arizona
Kathy Coover, co-founder, Isagenix International
Janna Day, managing partner, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Karen Dickinson, shareholder, Polsinelli
Michele Finney, CEO, Abrazo Health
Susan Frank, CEO, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
Leah Freed, managing shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
Deborah Griffin, president of the board of directors, Gila River Casinos
Mary Ann Guerra, CEO, BioAccel
Deb Gullett, senior specialist, Gallagher & Kennedy
Diane Haller, partner, Quarles & Brady
Maria Harper-Marinick, executive vice chancellor and provost, Maricopa Community Colleges
Catherine Hayes, principal, hayes architecture/interiors inc.
Camille Hill, president, Merestone
Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO, Arizona Science Center
Heidi Jannenga, founder, WebPT
Kara Kalkbrenner, acting fire chief, City of Phoenix
Lynne King Smith, CEO, TicketForce
Joan Koerber Walker, CEO, Arizona Bioindustry Association
Karen Kravitz, president and head of conceptology, Commotion Promotions
Deb Krmpotic, CEO, Banner Estrella Medical Center
Jessica Langbaum, PhD, principal scientist, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Georgia Lord, mayor, City of Goodyear
Sherry Lund, founder, Celebration Stem Cell Centre
Teresa Mandelin, CEO, Southwestern Business Financing Corporation
Shirley Mays, dean, Arizona Summit Law School
Ann Meyers-Drysdale, vice president, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns
Marcia L. Mintz, president, John C. Lincoln Health Foundation
Martha C. Patrick, shareholder, Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.
Stephanie J. Quincy, partner, Steptoe & Johnson
Barb Rechterman, chief marketing officer, GoDaddy
Marian Rhodes, senior vice president, Arizona Diamondbacks
Joyce Santis, chief operating officer, Sonora Quest Laboratories
Gena Sluga, partner, Christian Dichter & Sluga
Beth Soberg, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona
Scarlett Spring, president, VisionGate
Patrice Strong-Register, managing partner, JatroBiofuels
Sarah A. Strunk, director, Fennemore Craig, P.C.
Marie Sullivan, president and CEO, Arizona Women’s Education & Employment
Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, director, UA’s Sarver Heart Center
Dana Vela, president, Sunrise Schools and Tots Unlimited
Alicia Wadas, COO, The Lavidge Company
Ginger Ward, CEO, Southwest Human Development

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Anca Bec, 36, business development officer, Alliance Bank of Arizona
Alison R. Christian, 32, shareholder, Christian Dichter & Sluga, P.C.
Jaime Daddona, 38, senior associate, Squire Patton Boggs
Nancy Kim, 36, owner, Spectrum Dermatology
Jami Reagan, 35, owner, Shine Factory Public Relations

To select the best and brightest women to recognize each year, the editor and publisher of Az Business magazine compile a list of almost 1,000 women from every facet of Arizona’s business landscape — banking, law, healthcare, bioscience, real estate, technology, manufacturing, retail, tourism, energy, accounting and nonprofits. Once that list is compiled, we vet the list, narrow it down to about 150 women who we feel are most deserving, and then submit the list to 20 of their peers — female leaders from a variety or industries — and ask them to vote. If they want to vote for someone whose name is not on the list of those submitted for consideration, voters are invited to write in the names of women who they think deserve to members of this exclusive club.

Az Business also does not allow a woman to appear on the list most than once.

janet_betts

Janet G. Betts – Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Janet G. BettsMember, Sherman & Howard
Betts is a published author and is recognized in Best Lawyers in America.

Greatest accomplishment: “I am a zealous advocate, leading my clients with integrity and perseverance through challenging business situations to meet their expectations and goals. My greatest accomplishment: Achieving the end result, with a thank you.”

Surprising fact: “If Condoleezza Rice, George Will and Rob Manfred would step aside, I could become the commissioner of baseball.”

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.

Sherman & Howard's Hope Leibsohn was selected to Southwest Super Lawyers.

Expert offers advice on estate planning

Hope Leibsohn is an estate and tax planning attorney with Sherman & Howard. She has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of estate planning involving wills, trusts, charitable techniques, estate freezes, and other sophisticated wealth transfer strategies. Az Business got Leibsohn’s views on estate planning.

Az Business: Who should have an estate plan?
Hope Leibsohn: Establishing an estate plan can be strategic for everyone who has attained the age of majority. Be it tax planning or inspirational legacy planning, your documents can explicitly set forth your unique goals. Also, estate planning documents can be helpful to all in providing guidance in the event you become incapacitated during your lifetime. Although the provisions of all estate planning documents are not identical, creating a well thought out plan can be a gift to all.

Az Business: What should be the goal of the estate plan?
Hope Leibsohn: Identifying to whom you wish to provide a benefit, determining who will be in charge as the fiduciary, and establishing clear guidelines regarding the timing and tax efficiencies of the distributions are core aspects of the overall estate plan. In essence, you are leaving a life enhancing possibility to people and/or organizations as your final message in this world.

Az Business: What elements should be included in the estate plan?
Hope Leibsohn: Planning for death as well as incapacity is critical. However, the appropriate documents are not one size fits all. One person’s goals may best be carried out through a multi-generational lifetime trust continuing for up to 500 years for current and future descendants. Another person’s plan may best be effectuated through simple transfer on death designations for financial accounts and retirement plan interests. A third person’s goal may best be implemented through a philanthropic plan. One element is clear and that is to focus on the individual’s distinct objectives and then craft the estate plan accordingly.

Az Business: What factors should be considered when establishing estate planning goals?
Hope Leibsohn: Minimizing gift and estate taxes, providing creditor protection to beneficiaries, preserving assets as separate property in the event of a divorce, maintaining privacy where desired, as well as clearly setting forth the governance rules are core factors in establishing estate planning objectives. An ideal estate plan is founded on a clear vision and well worded documents to solidify the plan. Discouraging costly and long-lasting disputes among beneficiaries with competing interests may be pivotal. Otherwise, the litigation efforts may result in the lawyers representing the beneficiaries in effect inheriting the estate.

Az Business: How often should a person revise or revisit her/his estate plan?
Hope Leibsohn: It is strategic to review the estate plan upon the occurrence of the following lifestyle changes: modifications in the applicable tax laws; revisions in the state laws for trust, wills, and powers of attorney; births, deaths, incapacities, and marriages within the family or beneficiary group; significant increase or decline in net worth; as well as relocation to a new state of residence. A scheduled periodic review of estate planning decisions (such as every two, three or five years) can also be beneficial in refreshing your recollection as to choices you made and whether they remain strategic in light of your current circumstances. Change is certain. Correspondingly, your documents can be designed to flexibly respond to the ebbs and flows of life.

Az Business: What advice would you give to someone who wants to establish her/his estate plan?
Hope Leibsohn: Start now, as you never know when your time will come. Be sure to also leave an intangible legacy. Who are you, what life lessons did you learn, and what made your life most meaningful can passionately be described in an ethical will. Also, a priceless gift can be set forth in final wishes letters to loved ones who have truly enhanced your life.

Szkatulski Joins Sherman & Howard’s Scottsdale Office

Sherman & Howard L.L.C. announced the addition of Jennifer Szkatulski to its Scottsdale office.  Jennifer, who has practiced at the firm as a consultant since 2012, will join the firm’s estate planning group as an associate.

Sherman & Howard’s estate and tax planning attorneys work with high net worth individuals, families, business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals on all aspects of estate gift and multi-generational tax planning including wills, trusts, power of attorney, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning, lifetime wealth transfer through qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family limited partnerships, planned giving, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, private foundations, and spousal trusts.

Szkatulski earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 2010.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Accounting with a minor in Political Science and a certificate in International Studies from Arizona State University where she graduated with honors.  She has practiced law in the Valley since 2011.  She is an active member of the Junior League of Phoenix.

Nonexempt Vs. Exempt Employees

Arizona employers face an onslaught of wage and hour claims

For Shayna Balch, business is booming.

Since the start of 2012, the labor attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Phoenix is seeing — on average — one to three wage and hour cases filed each day. This is compared with one or two a month in previous years. Nationally, the number of new Fair Labor Standards Act suits lodged in federal courts between 2010 and 2011 jumped more than 15 percent, according to Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics.

Historically, Balch says wage and hour cases have not been an issue in Arizona. Because of that, employers are not prepared for the trend and she worries that this a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

“There are multiple causes (for the increase)” says John Thompson, who handles wage-hour cases at Fisher & Phillips and is the editor of the firm’s Wage Hour Laws Blog.

“They include a greater familiarity of plaintiff’s lawyers with wage-hour laws and with the many areas in which non-compliance can occur; workers’ increasing awareness of wage-hour requirements — including via the Internet and the media; the growing number and complexity of the laws themselves;  and the stepped-up enforcement efforts of government officials.”

As the economy suffered and employers looked for ways to reduce labor costs, many of the cost-cutting measures conflicted with employment laws, according to Phoenix attorney John Doran of Sherman & Howard, and that has led to an avalanche of wage and hour claims. The number of collective actions has increased by more than 400 percent nationally in the last decade. In Arizona, the increase has been even more dramatic.

“In Arizona, there has been a sudden and dramatic increase in wage and hour collective and class actions,” Doran says. “This should be a source of serious concern for Arizona employers.”

It’s particularly stressful for employers desperately trying to recover from the recession.

“Employers have looked for every possible angle to reduce labor costs including overtime, and many of those angles simply do not jive with the wage and hour laws,” Doran says. “This has been especially true with employers trying to convert their employees into independent contractors, which is an extremely difficult, and often mishandled strategy that has the attention of the Department of Labor and the I.R.S.”

The Department of Labor has increased its strength thanks to a significant bump in funding under the Obama Administration, increasing both its enforcement and public awareness campaigns. More than 250 new investigators have been hired and the revitalized Wage & Hour Division launched its “We Can Help” campaign in 2010 to increase visibility and accessibility to workers.

“The DOL has also been more aggressive in pursuing employers, by expanding the scope of wage and hour investigations, issuing more administrative subpoenas, and imposing more penalties on employers,” says Phoenix attorney Tracy A. Miller, shareholder. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

And the DOL is making it even easier for employees to build cases against their employers. Last year, the DOL developed a smartphone application that allowed employees to keep track of their own time and monitor employer compliance with certain wage and hour requirements. The DOL also created hard copy “exhibits” for employees to track their time. In taking these steps, the DOL has stated that employees must be paid for any work they do, regardless of where they do it.

Empowered with DOL-provided tools, “We are seeing more individuals who file suit on their own behalf,” says Stephanie Quincy, a partner in the labor and employment practice group for Steptoe & Johnson. “In Arizona, if wages are not paid when they are due or the wages are withheld without a good faith reason, the employee is entitled to three times the amount, as a punishment for the employer. We are seeing employees filing these suits themselves, without an attorney.”

So where are employers most susceptible?

“The biggest increase has been in lawsuits and investigations involving workers who claim to be misclassified as independent contractors,” Miller says. “Failing to pay workers for pre-shift and post-shift activities, such as computer boot-up and power-down, is also still a hot issue. Another common mistake that the DOL and private litigants are focusing on is the failure to include bonuses and commissions when calculating overtime. Wage payments during temporary company shut downs and furloughs has been a hot issue, although usually these issues are resolved without a lawsuit.  Cases involving the misuse of the tip credit or tip pools have also been on the rise.  Finally, we continue to see off-the-clock cases from employees who work remotely and/or routinely use smartphones.”

All of this is a conundrum for employers, considering the changing face of the economy and the workplace. The DOL is encouraging employers to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was enacted in 1938 when people worked at work. Now, thanks to technology, many of us can work anywhere and anytime.

To protect themselves, employers of all sizes should engage in serious introspection, Doran advises.

“An internal wage and hour audit, if not a must, is still the most valuable tool employers have to fend off such claims,” Doran says, “Annual or bi-annual audits would include analyzing job descriptions and comparing them with what is actually happening in the workplace day to day; examining timekeeper practices; ensuring that supervisors and managers are adequately and accurately carrying out otherwise compliant pay practices; and much, much more. These audits are best conducted through outside legal counsel in order to cloak them in attorney-client privilege.”

Quincy says employers should examine each employee and determine if the employee — not the position — is doing the type of work that is considered “exempt” or “non-exempt.” Non-exempt employees must be paid overtime. Employers should also carefully examine deductions from pay and time, including automatic deductions such as rest and meal breaks. Employers must train supervisors that any changes to hours worked must be explained to the employee and the employee must sign off on them.  The employer should hold supervisors accountable for encouraging — or pressuring — employees to work off the clock or not to accurately record their hours.

“Often businesses feel as though they must be in compliance because they have been paying workers in the same way for years without any problems,” Miller says. “Very few businesses are completely in compliance with the wage and hour laws, however, and an investigation or a lawsuit is an expensive way to learn about violations.  Businesses that proactively audit their pay practices end up saving a lot of money in the long run.”