Michael D. Ray

Office Managing Shareholder || Charlotte

Shareholder || Chicago

Michael (Mike) Ray is the managing shareholder of the firm’s Charlotte office. Mike represents and counsels employers on the full spectrum of labor and employment matters. Mike regularly litigates class and collective actions under federal and state law in North Carolina and across the country, and has successfully tried multiple cases to a complete defense verdict in forums across the country.

Mike has extensive experience in high-stakes litigation and strives to help employers reach practical and creative solutions to their problems. Mike understands that there is no “one size fits all” approach to labor and employment matters, and he regularly partners with companies to achieve strategies and solutions that meet both their legal and business objectives.

In his 15+ years at Ogletree Deakins, Mike has numerous successes including decertifying classes in class/collective actions, winning cases at trial, and making favorable law for employers in the appellate courts. Mike has litigated cases in forums across the country, ranging from Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, and various places in between. Mike has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in North Carolina and previously was named a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” every year since 2013.

In addition to his practice, Mike is a regular speaker and author on the labor and employment issues facing employers.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins back in 2005, Mike served as a law clerk for current Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Thomas Saylor.

Learn more about Michael D. Ray

Trial Experience

Mike has tried cases to defense verdicts in courts and forums across the country. Highlights of his trial results include:

Class and Collective Actions

Mike regularly represents employers in class and collective actions under state and federal laws across the country.  Mike has represented employers in a myriad of different industries and has significant experience in high-stakes and “bet the company”-type litigation. He has defended clients faced with both statewide and nationwide class actions. Mike has defended clients across many different industries including manufacturing, retail, automotive, food services, temporary staffing and many others. Examples of his work include:

Wage and Hour Compliance

In addition to his litigation practice, Mike regularly helps companies navigate through complicated wage and hour issues. In addition to providing general advice and counsel on wage and overtime matters, Mike regularly leads audits of wage and hour practices and procedures, to ensure that employers fix any potential issues before they can lead to litigation. Further, Mike also represents and counsels employers in connection with audits conducted by the United States Department of Labor and various state Departments of Labor.


Mike regularly defends employers against discrimination and retaliation claims in the federal and state courts. Mike has obtained summary judgment at the district court level and has defended those judgments on appeal in the state and federal appellate courts. Several of the cases Mike has argued and prevailed on in the appellate courts have resulted in published decisions. Mike also regularly defends employers before various federal and state agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state counterparts. In addition to litigating employment matters, Mike also regularly provides proactive advice and counsel to companies on employment issues to help those clients avoid litigation in the future.

Traditional Labor

Mike’s traditional labor practice involves representing clients in arbitrations, labor injunction proceedings, and before the National Labor Relations Board.


Admittance to Practice

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • College of Wooster “W” Association (Association of Former Wooster Intercollegiate Varsity Athletes)


Best Lawyers Award Badge

*No aspect of this communication has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. For methodology for selection for one of the honors above, please click on the following link.

Insights by Michael D. Ray