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Ogletree Deakins Grows California Ranks, Deepens Complex Litigation Practice

   |   Press Release

COSTA MESA, Calif. – August 27, 2012 – The Orange County office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), continues its tremendous growth by welcoming a shareholder, former in-house counsel, and an associate to its Southern California ranks. The additions deepen the firm’s bench strength and experience in labor and employment law, particularly with an emphasis in class actions, wage and hour, ethics and compliance, and complex litigation. Since opening with just three attorneys in February 2010, the Orange County office has expanded to 20 attorneys and is one of four Ogletree Deakins’ offices in California. The firm continues its dramatic growth in 2012 as laterals continued to be attracted to the firm’s national platform and its client service culture. 

“We continue to see an increasing demand for comprehensive labor and employment law services from employers in Orange County and throughout California,” said Vince Verde, co-managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins’ Orange County office. “We expected our office’s growth would be driven by client demand and we have been able to strategically attract and retain a diverse group of attorneys that provide business solutions to the legal issues employers face in their workplaces.”

Joining the Orange County office as a Shareholder is Rafael Nendel-Flores who joins Ogletree Deakins from the Irvine office of Fisher & Phillips LLP. Nendel-Flores represents employers in complex litigation matters such as wage-hour class actions, multi-plaintiff/multi-defendant litigation, appellate litigation, Federal-WARN/California WARN Act issues. He has represented employers before administrative agencies such as the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nendel-Flores has a thriving preventive counseling practice including assisting management with harassment investigations, employee discipline, and employee terminations. Clients also seek his counsel and advice regarding medical and disability leaves and wage-hour compliance audits.

Nendel-Flores serves on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County and is a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association. He earned his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University Law School. While in law school, he was the Articles Editor for The George Washington Law Review and a Dean’s Fellow.   

Lara de Leon joins the Orange County office as Of Counsel. She most recently was Director of Employment Law for Life Technologies Corporation, a global biotechnology company, and Senior Counsel for Dell Inc. Earlier, de Leon was an attorney with Ogletree Deakins based in the firm’s Houston office. Her experience includes managing a global team of legal and human resources personnel and developing policies and practices to ensure legal compliance on a variety of labor and employment law issues in a pragmatic and business-oriented fashion. She has extensive experience in corporate investigations and in litigation matters alleging discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims, failure to accommodate, denial of or interference with benefits and breach of contract, and noncompetition issues. Additionally, de Leon ensured compliance with federal and local laws through regular internal audits and reviews in areas such as talent acquisition, executive and non-executive compensation, job classification, and leaves of absence. She has also created employee relations programs and developed comprehensive compliance training curriculum for managers and human resources professionals on the topics of workplace harassment, workplace accommodations, internal investigations, conflict management, and discipline and termination.

She earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center, cum laude, and was the Articles Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law. Earlier, she received a B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, with high honors.

Kelley Bolar joins Ogletree Deakins as an Associate from the Irvine office of Grant, Genovese and Baratta, LLP. She has experience in all phases of litigation including discovery through settlement negotiations and trial. Bolar earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Earlier, she received a B.A. from Georgetown University.

About Ogletree Deakins

Ogletree Deakins is one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. The firm has 650 lawyers located in 42 offices across the United States. In addition to handling labor and employment law matters, the firm has thriving practices focused on business immigration, employee benefits, and workplace safety and health law. Ogletree Deakins represents a diverse range of clients, including more than half of the Fortune 50 corporations in the United States. For more information, please contact Ryan King, public relations manager, at (404) 870-1742.

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