Joseph T. Clees

Shareholder || Phoenix

Joe Clees is a founding shareholder of the firm’s Phoenix office and has served in a variety of firm leadership roles, including its Board of Directors. Mr. Clees represents employers throughout the United States in employment litigation and labor relations.  He also counsels clients on a wide array of state, federal and tribal compliance laws. Joe has been singled out by Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in the country for many years and as a Chambers USA Top Leader in his Field.  He has been applauded for his “integrity and common sense” as well as his “pragmatic style.”  Joe was honored as one of the “100 Most Powerful Employment Lawyers in America” by HR Executive magazine each year from 2009 to 2020.  He was named an “Eminent Practitioner” by Chambers in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and he is ranked in the “Number 1” tier among Arizona employment lawyers by Chambers, and has been selected as one of Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. In addition, Joe has been named a “Top 100” Lawyer by Arizona Business Magazine from 2015 to 2020.

In 2014, Joe was named a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He also has been recognized for several years as one of the Best Lawyers in America and honored as one of the Best Lawyers in the United States.  Joe has been singled out as one of the “The Legal 500” nationally and the Arizona Business Magazine has recognized him as an “Arizona Business Leader” and one of the “Top Attorneys of Arizona.”  He also has been designated as a “Best of the Bar” by the Phoenix Business Journal and has been rated as a “Southwest Super Lawyer” for many years.  He has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers” from 2010 to 2015.

In 2016, Joe was honored as the “Phoenix Lawyer of the Year” for Labor Law-Management by Best Lawyers and in 2013 was “Phoenix Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law-Management.  He has served as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Arizona’s Employment and Labor Law Section, a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Affirmative Action Association and Board of Directors of the Metro Phoenix Human Resources Association (SHRM).  He is employment law counsel to many industry and trade groups and he regularly speaks on labor and employment law topics, both regionally and nationally.

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Admittance to Practice

Professional Activities

  • Arizona Affirmative Action Association (Past Board Member)
  • Arizona Alliance of Business (Past President)
  • Arizona Asian American Bar Association
  • Arizona Bankers Association’s Bank Counsel Committee
  • Arizona Employer’s Council (Past Board Member)
  • Arizona Employment Law Handbook (Past Editor)
  • Arizona Healthcare Human Resource Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona Labor Letter (Former Member, Editorial Board)
  • Arizona Restaurant Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Film Spark Board
  • Arizona State University, President’s Club
  • Brophy College Preparatory, President’s Club
  • Canada Arizona Business Council
  • GratitudeAmerica, Inc. (Member of the National Board)
  • Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
  • Management Labor & Employment Roundtable
  • Metro Phoenix Human Resources Association (SHRM) (Past Member, Board of Directors)
  • National Indian Gaming Association
  • Native American Bar Association – Arizona
  • Phoenix Friends of the Library (Past Board Chair)
  • SHRM of Greater Phoenix
  • Society of Human Resource Management
  • Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)
  • Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (Campaign Cabinet)
  • State Bar of Arizona (Employment and Labor Law Section-Past Chair, Executive Committee)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles


Insights by Joseph T. Clees