McDermott Launches Employment Practice with Addition of 10 Partners


CHICAGO (April 3, 2018)—International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is launching a stand-alone Employment Practice with the addition of 10 new partners and one counsel. The group will be led by partner Michael Sheehan and will bolster McDermott’s capabilities by positioning the Firm as an industry leader with a focus on high-stakes employment litigation and overall protection of brand reputation through compliance.

Michael will serve as global head of the newly-formed Employment Practice after years of experience serving as Chair of the US Employment group at DLA Piper. A nationally recognized litigator, Michael has extensive courtroom experience, having tried dozens of cases to verdict across the United States. He has acted as lead counsel and successfully defended private and public companies against age, gender, race, retaliation, sexual harassment and trade secret/raiding cases. He has also litigated numerous large-scale wage and hour class actions in state and federal court. He and his team will join a deep McDermott bench including preeminent employment litigator Kerry Scanlon in Washington, DC, and first-chair labor lawyer Kristin Michaels in Chicago.

“We are excited to join forces with the Firm’s talented team of labor lawyers and litigators to solve the most important employment issues facing clients, day-in and day-out,” said Michael Sheehan. “We are ready to begin at full speed and address today’s most complex employment issues from conducting investigations and advising Boards on #MeToo to defending high-risk wage and hour class actions. We have the breadth and depth of experience to counsel on a variety of existential employment issues, and we look forward to bringing our resources to bear for clients on McDermott’s global platform.”

Michael will be based in McDermott’s Chicago office and will be joined by partner Rachel Cowen, who is known as an extraordinary employment litigator with a particular focus in pay equity and other systemic discrimination claims. Joining them in Chicago will be senior partner Marilyn Pearson and counsel Kevin Connelly, who both regularly advise and represent clients on a broad range of traditional labor matters.

The new Employment Practice will also have a strong West Coast presence with the arrival of partners Ron Holland and Ellen Bronchetti in San Francisco and San Diego respectively. Premier labor lawyers, Ron and Ellen are well-known for their prowess as class action litigators with extensive experience representing employers in a variety of labor and employment matters all across the country. They represent clients in a wide variety of industries including health care, aviation, trucking, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, environmental waste collection and gig economy employers. Ron will be joined in San Francisco by partners David Durham, Pankit Doshi and Christopher Foster. Pankit Doshi is the current President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

McDermott’s enhanced West Coast employment capabilities will also extend to Southern California with the arrival of Maria Rodriguez and her team in Los Angeles, including partner Michelle Strowhiro. Maria was the Employment group, Western Regional Head from DLA’s Los Angeles office. Maria and the LA team have decades of experience in the entertainment, media, sports and technology sectors, including representing major Hollywood studios, television networks, production companies, sports agencies, minor and major league sports teams, as well as food service and transportation industry expertise. The team counsels domestic and foreign corporations with regard to employment law compliance and mergers and acquisitions, as well as defending high-stakes wage and hour class actions, and employment cases.

“This group is a meaningful addition to McDermott,” said Firm Chair, Ira Coleman. “Michael and his team will not only extend our employment offerings but also bolster our West Coast presence. We are incredibly excited about what this means for our Firm and for our clients—existing and new—who will benefit from an even deeper bench of talent here at McDermott.”

About McDermott

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

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