Richard L. Samson

Office Managing Shareholder || Chicago

Mr. Samson has represented management in all aspects of labor and employment law for over 30 years with a particular emphasis on traditional labor law. He has also litigated cases before federal and state courts as well as state and local agencies in employment discrimination and wrongful discharge actions. He routinely advises clients on a host of employment-related issues including employer investigations, claims of harassment, employment policies and social media.

In the traditional labor arena, his experience covers the gamut of issues arising under the National Labor Relations Act including matters affecting both unionized and non-union employers in litigation, trial work and day to day counseling. He is currently outside labor counsel to one of the nation’s largest steel producers with over 12,000 represented employees, and also represents multi-employer bargaining associations in their negotiations with several construction craft unions for labor agreements covering several thousand employees. He has experience in a variety of industries including construction, ready mix supply, material supply (aggregate mining), steel, light and heavy manufacturing, retail, food distribution, theatrical production, casinos, meatpacking and assisted living. He regularly appears on behalf of employers before the National Labor Relations Board in the defense of unfair labor practice charges and in representation cases. Over the course of his career he has handled such matters throughout the country in the Labor Board’s various regional offices including Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Oakland, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Mr. Samson has been an adjunct professor of law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law where he taught a course on the law of employment relationships and established a seminar class on employee privacy rights.

Learn more about Richard L. Samson

Organizing Activities

Mr. Samson frequently advises employers who are confronted with union organizing campaigns. His experience ranges from the training of supervisors to the oversight of legal activities associated with communications affecting the voting group. He also regularly is engaged to handle representation proceedings at the NLRB and in this connection has handled dozens of hearings at the agency addressing the legal issues affecting the petitioned for unit including questions relating to supervisory status, temporary employees, confidential employees, security guards, and a host of other issues relating to the scope and appropriateness of the voting unit. In one matter, Mr. Samson was the primary counsel handling a 21 day hearing on behalf of a major steel company in response to an effort to organize over 1000 employees in a technical and clerical unit.

Unfair Labor Practice Cases

The handling of unfair labor practice charges is a routine part of Mr. Samson’s practice having handled hundreds of such charges including through trial and appeal to the NLRB. In one matter, Mr. Samson successfully defeated a claim for a Gissel bargaining order after an 11 day trial. His ULP experience includes, among other things, allegations involving discipline and discharge of employees – including during the course of organizing campaigns – refusal to bargain allegations, information request matters, questions relating to supervisory status, union salting and strike related claims. He also regularly prosecutes charges filed by employers at the NLRB in matters relating to illegal secondary picketing and other unfair labor practice claims against labor organizations.

Collective Bargaining

Mr. Samson has assisted a variety of employers in different industries in their collective bargaining negotiations whether behind the scenes as a “contract language drafter” or as the principal spokesperson “at the table.” In this capacity he has negotiated contracts covering only a handful of employees to those covering several hundred and he has also negotiated on behalf of employer associations where the units have included thousands of employees. Most recently Mr. Samson was management’s chief spokesperson for area-wide construction negotiations affecting hundreds of employers and over 25,000 thousand employees.


Arbitration is also a routine part of Mr. Samson’s practice having handled matters involving discipline and discharge of employees as well as significant contract interpretation issues in a variety of industries. He also has arbitrated claims against unions for damages arising out of their breaches of no strike clauses in the construction and elevator industries and has been involved in several Boys Markets injunction cases in federal court seeking to uphold grievance/arbitration procedures in the face of strikes that are in violation of contractual no-strike clauses. His arbitration practice also extends to the withdrawal liability arena, having acted recently as lead counsel in an arbitration contesting a nearly $1Million assessment of liability, as well as to the arbitration of disputes between trustees of Taft-Hartley benefit funds.

Construction Industry Matters

Mr. Samson has also developed a significant practice representing employers as well as employer associations in the construction industry. He routinely is asked to address questions involving secondary picketing, bannering, hot cargo agreements, multi-employer bargaining issues, trust fund liability problems, jurisdictional disputes, dual shops and double breasting, the negotiation of project labor agreements and a host of issues unique to the industry. He is an active member of the Associated General Contractors Labor and Employment Lawyers Council and a contributor to its annual labor law symposium where he has spoken on such topics as dual shops, union access to employer property, multi-employer bargaining, deferral to arbitration, and 8f/9a conversion issues.


  • J.D., IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1985
  • B.A., University of Illinois, 1982

Admittance to Practice

  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh and Tenth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois including Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section, Committees on Employee Rights and Responsibilities and the Development of the Law under the National Labor Relations Act)
  • Chicago Bar Association (Chair, Labor and Employment Committee, 2006-2007)
  • Associated General Contractors Labor and Employment Lawyers Council (Member and Chair, 2015)


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Hot Topics in Contemporary Labor Relations Law - "'Who is the Employer?' (An overview of the NLRB’s Joint Employer cases)" - Chicago - June 2018
  • Chicagoland Crane Association - "Labor Relations, CBA Grievances, NLRB ULPs" - Chicago - May 2018
  • Associated General Contractors, Chapters Executive Conference - "Labor Law Update" - New Orleans - March 2018
  • Illinois State Bar Association - "Concerted Activity in the Age of Social Media and Online Systems: Employee Rights, Employer Pitfalls, Remedies and Penalties" - Chicago - January 2018
  • AGC Labor and Employment Lawyers Council Annual Symposium - "Multi-Employer Bargaining in the Construction Industry" - Washington, D.C. - May 2017
  • Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association, Hot Topics in Construction - "Strikes and Picketing" - Chicago - February 2017
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Hot Topics in Contemporary Labor Relations Law - "Joint Employer Considerations and Issues" - Chicago - June 2016
  • AGC Labor and Employment Lawyers Council Annual Symposium - "From D.R. Horton to Babcock & Wilcox; the NLRB’s Non-Deferral to Arbitration" - Washington, D.C. - May 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Handbook Headaches: Ensuring Your Policies Withstand NLRB Scrutiny" - Chicago - May 2016
  • Illinois State Bar Association - "Alternative Fees and Services for Small Businesses" - Chicago - February 1, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Not Your Father’s Union Campaign Seminar - "Risk Assessment and Early Warning Signs of Union Activity" - Chicago - March 2015
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, Hot Topics in Contemporary Labor Relations Law - "Deferral to Arbitration" - Chicago - June 13, 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) (co-presenter) - "Employee On-boarding: Best Practices Now to Avoid Costly Litigation Later" - Chicago and Oak Brook - June 10 - 11, 2014
  • AGC of America Labor and Employment Law Council, 30th Annual Construction Law Symposium (co-presenter) - "Multiemployer Plans: Withdrawal Liability - the Construction Industry Exemption & Control Group Issues" - Washington, D.C. - May 2, 2014
  • Associated General Contractors Webinar - "Overview of the NLRB's Access Rules in the Construction Arena" - September 17, 2013
  • Illinois State Bar Association Trial Practice Series - "The Trial of a Retaliation Case" - Chicago - September 12, 2013
  • AGC Labor and Employment Lawyers Council Annual Symposium - 8(f) to 9(a) Conversion Update - "Pre-Hire Agreements in a post-Staunton Fuel Construction Industry" - Washington, D.C. - 2013
  • Illinois and Bloomington/Normal Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors Association, Setting the Bargaining Table: Management Negotiations Seminar & Forum - "'The Nuts and Bolts' of Contract Negotiations" - Bloomington - November 2, 2012
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Taming the Bear: Discipline and Discharge Under a Union Contract" - Phoenix - May 2012
  • AGC LELC Annual Symposium - "Access to Private Property: Union Rights and Management Responses: Accessing the NLRB's Access Rules in the Construction Arena" - Washington, D.C. - April 2012
  • Associated General Contractors of Michigan - "Multi-Employer Collective Bargaining in the Private Sector" - Detroit - January 27, 2012
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law - Public Sector Labor Law Program - "Multi-Employer Bargaining: Has its Time Come?" - Chicago - December 2, 2011
  • Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association of Northern Illinois ("PAMCANI") - The Works Program - "Union Contract Trends" - Chicago - November 2011
  • PAMCANI - Fall Meeting - "The Dual Shop - Double the Trouble? and Update on Withdrawal Liability" - Chicago - October 23, 2010
  • PAMCANI Spring Meeting - "Continuing and Terminating Labor Agreements" - Chicago - March 11, 2010
  • ASA & Lake County Contractors Association Annual Mid-Winter Meeting - "Jurisdictional Disputes and the Subcontracting Dilemma" - Cayman Islands - January 14, 2010
  • AGC LELC Annual Symposium - "Double Breasting Double the Trouble" - Washington, D.C. - April 2009
  • Occusport Physical Therapy - Workers Compensation Seminar - "Physical Examinations and Disability-Related Inquiries" - Chicago - January 22, 2008
  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) 9th Annual Employment Law Update and Motion Workshop - "Arguing the Statute of Limitations" - Chicago and Peoria - April 2006
  • December 2013 - ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (Contributing Editor) - "The Developing Labor Law - 2013 Supplement"
  • December 2013 - December 2018 - ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (Yearly Contributing Editor) - "The Developing Labor Law"
  • April 17, 2013 - Law360 - "Fragmented Workforces: A New Challenge For Employers"
  • September 2011 - Illinois State Bar Association "The Bottom Line" - "Emerging Issues for Illinois Employers in Wage and Hour Law (with Michael D. Ray)"
  • 2005 - Illinois State Bar Association "The Bottom Line" - "The Labor and Employment Law Top Ten"
  • 1999 - The Trial Lawyer's Guide - Volume. 42 No. 4 - "The Supreme Court Further Refines Workplace Discrimination Law"
  • Fall 1988 - Journal of Law & Education - Volume 17 No. 4 - "Drug Testing of Public Employees: A Management Perspective (with Jules I. Crystal)"
  • June 1, 2012 - Chicago Lawyer - "Green Industry Changes Employment Law"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Logo
  • Illinois Super Lawyer
  • Leading Lawyer’s Network (Illinois, Employment Law: Management)
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America (2015-present)

Insights by Richard L. Samson