Carson G. Burnham

Shareholder Boston

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.


Carson has extensive experience in global employment matters as an employment law litigator and advisor. She also has experience managing employment litigation and threatened litigation on a global scale which includes working with in-house and outside counsel and advising executive leadership, international managers and human resources personnel. During her career, Carson has also tried federal and state cases on matters regarding discrimination, the Family and Medical Leave Act, retaliation, wage & hour, breach of contract, defamation and fraud. She has advised all levels of management, both directly and through an international team, on issues related to employment contracts, performance management, disciplinary action, termination and redundancy matters on a global scale.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association, International Labor & Employment Law Committee
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • International Bar Association
  • Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats
  • American Counsel Association, International Committee


  • ACC Annual Meeting - Outside Counsel Panel - ''Where in the World is Emily Employment Counsel'' - Washington, D.C. - October 16, 2017
  • Clear Law Institute Webinar - ''Designing a Global Sales Compensation Plan'' - July 20, 2017
  • Bloomberg BNA Webinar - ''Easing the Pain of Multi-Country Payroll'' - June 14, 2017
  • The Knowledge Group Webinar - ''The Aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election'' - May 15, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Emerging Issues for Multinational Employers: New Regulations, New Risks, New Challenges'' - San Diego - May 04, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins International Practice Group Seminar - ''Emerging Globalism: Dealing with Change in Multi-National Organizations'' - Washington - March 29, 2017
  • Lorman Educational Services Webinar - ''Sales Compensation Plan Design'' - December 13, 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Charlotte Chapter - ''International Effects of Corporate Compliance'' - Charlotte - October 13, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - ''As the World Turns: Effectively Managing Global Employment Terminations'' - Colorado Springs - September 30, 2016
  • Mobility Assignments - ''Balancing the Preservation of At-Will Employment against Mitigation of Permanent Establishment Risk'' - Kohler - September 27, 2016
  • The Knowledge Group /The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast Series - ''International Labor & Employment Law: Significant Issues to Watch For in 2016 & Beyond'' - September 12, 2016
  • The Knowledge Group Webinar - ''Identifying Risks and Challenges in a FCPA Violation: What You Need to Know'' - May 18, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Discrimination in the Global Workplace: Strategies for International Employers'' - Chicago - May 05, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Employee Benefits Symposium - ''Structuring an International Assignment'' - Chicago - May 04, 2016
  • The Knowledge Group Webinar - ''Whistleblowing: The Landmark to Global Compliance in 2016'' - January 28, 2016
  • Global Anti-Corruption Compliance Summit 2015 - ''How to Effectively Identify and Monitor Facilitation Payments'' - New York - November 2015
  • Global Anti-Corruption Compliance Summit 2015 - ''How to Strengthen the Cooperation between Countries during Cross Jurisdiction Investigations into Corruption and Bribery Cases'' - New York - November 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - ''Around the Globe with Independent Contractors'' - San Antonio - May 2015
  • IUNO and NMN Management Consulting for HR Executives - ''Effectively Structuring Global Mobility Assignments: Strategies for Reducing Risk and Hidden Costs'' - Copenhagen - February 03, 2015
  • Association of Corporate Counsel 2014 Annual Meeting - ''Avoiding Common Mistakes in Global Human Resources Investigations'' - New Orleans - October 31, 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Northeast Chapter - ''Global Labor and Employment Compliance'' - Boston - October 08, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor and Employment Exclusive Seminar - ''After the Acquisition: Integrating a Global Workforce'' - Los Angeles - September 20, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Harmonizing Cross-Border Employment Practices and ‘Boilerplate’ Language'' - Las Vegas - May 8 - May 9, 2014
  • American Bar Association, Section of International Law - 2013 Fall Meeting - ''Rethinking Boilerplate in International Employment Contracts'' - London - October 17, 2013
  • International Bar Association - Annual Conference - ''The Growing Importance of Corporate Immigration and International Employment Law in Transactions; Getting it Right When Moving Personnel Between Entities, In-Country or Across Borders'' - Boston - October 10, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Harmonizing Workplace Practices, Including Employee Privacy: A Global Perspective'' - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Terminations Around the Globe - Meeting the 'Just Cause' Standard'' - New Orleans - May 09, 2013
  • ABA Section of International Law - 2013 Spring Meeting - ''Multinational Bribery Investigations: A Case Study'' - Washington, D.C. - April 26, 2013
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Southern California Chapter - ''Independent Contractor or Employee'' - Anaheim - January 16, 2013
  • The Knowledge Congress (webinar) - ''International Employment Law: a 2012 Perspective'' - December 05, 2012
  • aija/ABA Section of International Law, International Employment Law Conference - ''Key Human Resources Issues in International M&A'' - Boston - June 15, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''International Roundtable: Engaging the First Employee in a Foreign Jurisdiction'' - Phoenix - May 12, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Performance Management and Termination: From the International Perspective'' - Phoenix - May 10, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Briefing - ''Addressing the Top Five Most Pressing International Labor and Employment Issues'' - Boston - April 03, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - ''Effectively Structuring Global Mobility Assignments'' - April 02, 2012
  • APALSA/APA Alumni Conference, Boston University Law School - ''Breaking Barriers and Overcoming Obstacles in the 21st Century'' - Boston - March 03, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Briefing - ''Addressing the Top Five Most Pressing International Labor and Employment Issues'' - Pittsburgh - February 28, 2012

Published Works


Our Insights


Media Quotes

2015 - Global Legal Insights - Employment & Labour Law, 3rd Edition - "Hot Topics for U.S. Organizations in Global Employment Labour and Employment Law Compliance"
2013 - The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Employment & Labour Law 2013 - "Engaging Independent Contractors for Multinational Organizations"