Chair, International Practice Group
Carson Burnham leads the International Practice Group of Ogletree Deakins. She is a shareholder based in the Boston office. Carson and her global team manage worldwide labor and employment matters for clients and offer practical solutions to foreign employment law issues in over 100 countries.
Carson’s expertise includes multijurisdictional investigations into employment law and compliance matters including sexual harassment, bullying, assault, breach of finance and sales protocols, kickbacks and compensation fraud and other foreign employment-law matters of particular importance to US headquartered, publicly-traded multinationals. On a daily basis, Carson counsels clients through the termination process in foreign jurisdictions, provides project plans to implement worldwide restructuring, negotiates executive separations, modifies and implements compensation and benefits practices worldwide, prepares and implements global codes of conduct and ethics policies, and conducts comparative training for US legal, HR and management teams responsible for non-US employees. Carson has unique expertise in establishing and implementing ethics investigation protocols for US-headquartered multinationals, global sales compensation plans, modifying employment contracts, controlling separation costs, and providing solutions that address the multidisciplinary risks of Global Mobility assignments and foreign independent contractor arrangements. Carson is also deeply experienced with labor and employment issues associated with M&A, and advises clients both in deal negotiations and in conducting effective integrations of foreign entities. Carson also manages employment litigation for clients abroad, most recently in France, China and Mexico. She is frequently called upon to speak about addressing the challenges of managing a global workforce from a single US-based corporate headquartered organization.
In addition to her own practice, Carson manages the International Practice Group of Ogletree Deakins, a growing team of international attorneys based in three countries with unique experience handling employment-law matters worldwide. Some recent representative projects handled by Carson and the team, working when necessary with our own network of affiliated local practitioners, include global restructuring projects (UK, Germany, UAE, France, Switzerland, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Canada); overtime and wage/hour compliance in multiple jurisdictions (Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Philippines, Canada, France); investigating allegations of sexual harassment and criminal assault (Australia, Mexico, Chile); investigating allegations of abuse of financial protocols, including benefits fraud, unauthorized discounting and alleged kickbacks (Japan, France, Brazil); drafting and coordinating the rollout of global sales compensation plans, retention bonus plans, codes of conduct and electronic communications policies; reviewing and updating employment contracts (Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, China, South Korea, Singapore, Bangladesh, Palestine, Philippines, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Mexico); mitigating the multi-disciplinary risks associated with engaging independent contractors in foreign jurisdictions (China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, UK, Spain, India, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela); preparing employment handbooks and “work rules” (China, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Angola, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina); advising concerning choice of law issues and the enforceability of US judgments overseas (China, Switzerland, Guinea) and the applicability of US employment laws to foreign decision makers (Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Angola); response to data privacy breaches (Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, China); managing disability issues (Germany, Switzerland, Canada); preparing comparative anti-harassment trainings (Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, France, Germany, UK, Switzerland); establishing Global Employment Companies and other measures to mitigate the multidisciplinary risks associated with Global Mobility assignments (Bangladesh, Malta, the Netherlands, UK, China, Singapore, Canada); negotiating executive terminations (China, the Netherlands, Denmark, Mexico, Portugal, UK, Germany, Russia, Canada) as well as handling performance and conduct-based terminations (Trinidad, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, UK); special considerations for high-risk jurisdictions and government contractors (Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Libya); preparing sales agency and distributorship agreements (Puerto Rico, Colombia); and managing employment litigation (France, Brazil, Dominican Republic, China, Canada). The International Practice Group consists of lawyers with in-house experience working for multinationals, lawyers experienced in cross-disciplinary matters such as white collar crime, M&A, immigration and tax; lawyers with educational and language experience in a multitude of foreign countries including China, Cuba, Brazil, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Austria, and Ireland; and German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean lawyers with experience working in the United States.
Prior to joining Ogletree, Carson was the Vice President of Global Employment Law for Novell, Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she had been with the company since 2004. In that capacity, Carson managed a global team of attorneys, oversaw worldwide employment litigation and separation negotiations, served as counsel to the company’s Compliance and Ethics Committee, chaired its Global Policy Committee, served as counsel to its Global Sales Incentive Compensation Committee, held responsibility for the employment-law aspects of the company’s transactional activity (including post-close integration), and regularly advised Internal Audit concerning international labor and employment matters, signature authority protocols, pricing review procedures, separation costs and incentive compensation issues. In this role, Carson frequently participated in the company’s Board and Audit Committee meetings and worked on a daily basis with the company’s executive team. Carson’s career experience includes litigation, employment advice and counsel, executive compensation and benefits, mergers and acquisitions, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution and training. Carson is best known for finding creative, simple and efficient solutions for her clients’ complex employment law problems.