Michael K. 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, employment contract, personnel policy and drug testing issues.  A large portion of Mr. Clarkson’s practice is dedicated to workplace investigations.  Mr. Clarkson is 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 a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee.

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.” 

Mr. Clarkson is Vice Chair of the Employment Law and Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.

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 K. Clarkson

Published Decisions:

  • Electronic Data Systems Corp. v. Attorney General, 798 N.E. 2d 273 (Mass. 2003)
  • Kaytor v. Electric Boat Corp., 2007 WL 4322546 (D. Conn. 2007)
  • Kaytor v. Electric Boat Corp., 2009 WL 840669 (D. Conn. 2009)
  • Kaytor v. Electric Boat Corp. 2009 WL 1580989 (D. Conn. 2009)
  • Kaytor v. Electric Boat Corp. 609 F.3d 537 (2nd Cir. 2010)
  • Aggreko, LLC v. Koronis and United Rentals, Inc., 2013 WL 6835165 (D. Mass 2013)
  • Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, et. al., 477 Mass. 456 (2017)

Recent Activities:

  • Presented on “Designing a Litigation-Proof Drug Testing Protocol” to the Association of Corporate Counsel
  • Presented on “Drug Testing and Background Checks” at Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing
  • Presented on “D.R. Horton – Cuda and the Impact on Arbitration-Only Agreements” to Macy’s, Inc.
  • Presented on “The Use of Expert Witnesses in Complex Employment Litigation” to the City of Boston Law Department
  • Presented on “Smart Hiring Practices” to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Presented on “Public Accommodation and Wage and Hour Concerns in the Hospitality Industry” to the Saunders Hotel Group
  • Presented on “Facebook and Employment Law” to nation-wide audience of auto dealers
  • Presented on “Recent Developments in COBRA” to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Presented on the “Massachusetts Data Security Law” to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Presented on “Law Firm Diversity Efforts” at Cornell University
  • Presented on “Electronically Stored Information – A Game Plan for Compliance” to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Published “Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions:  ‘Til State Borders Do Us Part” in The Brief
  • Presented on the “Employment Law Implications of Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts and Civil Unions in Vermont and Connecticut” at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting
  • Presented on “Courtroom Technology and Employment Law Litigation” to Federated Department Stores
  • Presented on “How to Avoid Retaliation Claims” to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce

Education

  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law, 1992
  • B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, 1989

Admittance to Practice

  • Massachusetts
  • California (inactive)
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second and Ninth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

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)

Speeches

  • Parts Town - "Channeling Sherlock Holmes: Deducing Best Practices for Conducting Workplace Investigations" - Chicago - May 23, 2019
  • ALI-CLE Webinar - "Marijuana in the Workplace" - May 22, 2019
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Tips and Trends for the Modern Workplace" - Needham - May 16, 2019
  • Ogletree Deakins Podcast - "Drug Testing in the Manufacturing Industry: Top Tips for Legal and Effective Policies" - March 19, 2019
  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Pop Quiz - Labor and Employment Exclusive Style" - La Quinta - November 8, 2018
  • Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) - "Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations" - Marlborough - October 4, 2018
  • RMR Group Presentation - "MA Equal Pay Act and the Quest for Pay Equity" - Newton - June 28, 2018
  • Sonesta Hotels - "Handling Opioids and Marijuana in the Workplace" - Cambridge - June 26, 2018
  • CBA/ABA/IPEBLA Global Pension and Employee Benefits Conference - "Marijuana in the Workplace" - Boston - June 14, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Panel Discussion: The Straight Dope on Opioids and Marijuana" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • Cooperative Credit Union Association - "Employment Law Implications of Medical and Recreational Marijuana" - Marlboro - April 6, 2018
  • Cranes 101 - "Marijuana in the Workplace" - Franklin - December 6, 2017
  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Channeling Sherlock Holmes: Deducing Best Practices for Conducting Workplace Investigations" - Boca Raton - November 10, 2017
  • American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) Webinar - "Marijuana in the Workplace: A Look at Current Legal Issues and What's on the Horizon" - October 17, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "What Does Massachusetts’s Landmark Medical Marijuana Ruling Mean for Multistate Employers?" - August 29, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Dazed and Confused? Marijuana and Prescription Drug Issues at Work" - San Diego - May 4, 2017
  • Justice Resource Institute - "Conducting Effective Internal Investigations" - Needham - March 2, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "General Labor and Employment Law Update" - Needham - October 20, 2016
  • Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc. - "How to Conduct Effective Workplace Investigations" - Framingham - October 12, 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar - "Recreational and Medical Marijuana Laws – What Sports and Entertainment Employers Need to Know" - September 22, 2016
  • General Dynamics Legal Department - "Clearing the Smoke on Medical Marijuana Laws" - Falls Church - September 14, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "The Twists and Turns of "Routine" Workplace Investigations: Solutions to Common Challenges" - Phoenix - November 13, 2015
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce - "Legal Implications of Social Media in the Workplace" - Rockland - September 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "High Times - Managing Legal Marijuana and the Workplace" - San Antonio - May 14, 2015
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Legal Department - "Massachusetts Legal Update" - Boston - March 17, 2015
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce - "Paid Sick Leave and Other Hot Topics" - Rockland - February 12, 2015
  • Workplace Strategies - "Disgruntled, Computer Literate, and Focused on You: Defusing Social Media Attacks" - Las Vegas - May 8, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Employment Law Update" - Newton - March 27, 2014
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce - "Legal Implications of Social Media in the Workplace" - Rockland - November 19, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Blood, Sweat and Hair: Drug Testing in the Workplace" - New Orleans - May 10, 2013
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce Roundtable - "Workplace Privacy" - Quincy - April 25, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Webinar - "A Sober, Clear-Eyed Look at Drug Testing Best Practices" - January 17, 2013
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce - "Employee Drug Screening - What Employers Should Know" - Quincy - September 13, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Retaliation Litigation - Trends, Risks and Practical Strategies" - Phoenix - May 9, 2012
  • May 31, 2019 - SHRM Online - "How to Comply with New State and Local Laws"
  • May 6, 2019 - SHRM Online - "State Lawmakers Aren’t Waiting for Federal Pay-Equity Reform "
  • February 6, 2019 - Bloomberg Law - "Medical Marijuana Use Worker Protections Growing, Rulings Show"
  • May 2, 2018 - Associated Press - "Desperate to hire, more businesses open door to pot smokers"
  • April 25, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Employers Increasingly Drop Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants"
  • February 8, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Vermont Legalizes Recreational Marijuana"
  • November 29, 2017 - HR Dive - "6 updates to get your employee handbook ready for 2018"
  • August 2, 2017 - Business Insurance - "Demand for impairment training high as employers prep for marijuana law"
  • July 10, 2017 - SHRM Online - "How Can Multistate Employers Develop Solid Drug-Testing Policies?"
  • November 10, 2016 - Law360 - "4 Employer Takeaways From The Spread Of Legal Marijuana"
  • August 16, 2016 - https://www.thestreet.com/story/13675470/1/why-your-future-boss-won-t-be-able-to-ask-about-salary-history.html - "Why Your Future Boss Won't Be Able to Ask About Salary History"
  • August 15, 2016 - The Street - "Why Your Future Boss Won't Be Able to Ask About Salary History"
  • September 29, 2014 - Workforce Magazine - "Painkiller Addiction: An 'Equal Opportunity Destroyer'"
  • June 30, 2014 - Workforce Magazine - "The Hazy Issue of Marijuana in the Workplace"
  • December 10, 2012 - New England In-House - "Fired officers can't sue city over allegedly biased drug test"
  • December 5, 2012 - New England In-House - "ERISA Suit Barred by Job Offer Refusal"
  • November 12, 2012 - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - "ERISA Suit Barred by Job Offer Refusal"
  • October 22, 2012 - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - "Fired Officers Can't Sue City"
  • October 12, 2012 - Daily Labor Report - "Boston Police did not Violate Title VII, ADA by Testing Hair for Drug Use"
  • October 5, 2012 - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - "Boston Police Officers' Disparate Impact Racial Discrimination Claim Fails"
  • October 3, 2012 - CCH Employment Law Daily Wrap Up - "Statistical evidence insufficient to establish African-American police officers suffered disparate impact because of hair test to detect illegal drug use"
  • October 3, 2012 - Law360 - "Boston Police Drug Test Passes Discrimination Challenge"
  • May 31, 2012 - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly - "Non-billable hours"
  • Ranked in Chambers USA
  • “Preeminent AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, reflecting the highest ethical standards and legal ability
  • Acritas Star (2019)
  • Chambers USA
  • Super Lawyer (2008 – present)
  • Rising Star (2005 – 2007)
  • National Moot Court Competition
  • Moot Court Board
  • “Street Law” Instructor

Insights by Michael K. Clarkson