Michael Clarkson

Shareholder || Boston

Mr. Clarkson is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and regularly appears in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies across the country. In his work with Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Clarkson litigates cases and counsels large and small private for-profit and not-for-profit employers concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, non-compete, wage and hour, workplace safety, personnel policy and drug testing issues. A large portion of Mr. Clarkson’s practice is dedicated to leading complex workplace investigations and training legal departments on conducting investigations. Mr. Clarkson also is a member of the Steering Committee of the firm’s Workplace Investigations and Organizational Assessments Practice Group. Mr. Clarkson is also Co-Chair of the Ogletree Deakins’ Drug Testing Practice Group and has particular expertise in drafting drug testing policies and in the complex scientific issues surrounding drug testing. Mr. Clarkson is an active member of Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group, regularly negotiating with and litigating against OSHA. Mr. Clarkson is Co-Chair of the firm’s OD Act Change Transform Taskforce.

Mr. Clarkson frequently writes on and leads seminars on employment law and human resource issues. Mr. Clarkson is “Preeminent AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell (reflecting the highest ethical standards and legal ability) and was named a “Super Lawyer” in Boston Magazine’s 2008-present Massachusetts Super Lawyer editions and a “Rising Star” in the 2005-2007 editions. When asked what sets Mr. Clarkson apart from other attorneys, a client praised “his responsiveness, his ability to find a subject-matter expert for me immediately, and his understanding of my business.” 

Before joining Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Clarkson was a partner and member of the Management Committee at a Boston-based management-side labor and employment firm. Before moving to Massachusetts, Mr. Clarkson worked in California as a litigation associate at an insurance defense firm and as a staff attorney for the Environmental Law Foundation. Mr. Clarkson received his undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and is currently a member of the ILR School’s Alumni Board of Directors. Mr. Clarkson received his law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law where he represented the University at the National Moot Court Competition and taught “Street Law” at Galileo High School in San Francisco.

Learn more about Michael Clarkson

Published Decisions:

Recent Activities:


Admittance to Practice

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Vice Chair Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • Boston Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section)
  • National Cannabis Bar Association (2018)
  • Massachusetts Cannabis Commission Smoking Working Group
  • Cornell University ILR School Alumni Board of Directors (Boston Chapter Co-Chair)
  • Kennedy-Donovan Center, Inc., Member Human Resources Advisory Committee
  • Posse Boston Volunteer
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce, HR Advisory Group (2009-2015)
  • Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston Board of Directors (2006-2011)


Best Lawyers Award Badge

Ranked in Chambers USA

Insights by Michael Clarkson