Ogletree Deakins knows manufacturing. In its most recent rankings, The BTI Consulting Group recognized Ogletree Deakins as a “Powerhouse” for our outstanding relationships with manufacturing industry clients. This recognition reflected feedback from in-house counsel, who were asked which law firms were both their core, go-to firms and which firms they would recommend most to peers. The in-house counsels’ very positive reviews flowed from the fact that experienced Ogletree Deakins practitioners have served a wide range of manufacturers in sophisticated labor, employment, and workplace safety matters for decades. Several of our attorneys were formerly in-house counsel with manufacturing companies, giving us additional insight into the time-sensitive and practical needs of our clients. We know that the employment needs of manufacturers are unique to the industry, and we approach them as such, bringing effective and practical solutions tailored to the needs of specific workplaces and workforces. Our capabilities in traditional labor, workplace safety and health, and immigration, when combined with our experience advising and defending clients on all manner of employment law matters, make us ideally situated to serve manufacturing clients.
In addition to our ability to counsel clients concerning their operations in the U.S., we have global capabilities that support our clients’ manufacturing and supply chain operations abroad. These include our International Practice Group and offices in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
At Ogletree Deakins, we put our knowledge and experience to work for manufacturers. With decades of experience across multiple practice areas, our attorneys anticipate developments and emerging compliance and litigation challenges in the industry and keep manufacturers aware of, and prepared for, these trends on local, national, and international levels. Our subsidiary, Ogletree Governmental Affairs, Inc. headquartered in Washington D.C., provides strong connections and deep institutional knowledge for our manufacturing clients. Leading business associations have repeatedly engaged our firm to represent their members’ business interests in important litigation and regulatory issues implicating many labor and employment law issues. For example, Ogletree Deakins has often represented the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in court litigation, agency rulemaking, and other contexts where the associations need knowledgeable advocates.
The members of Ogletree Deakins’ Manufacturing Industry Group know manufacturing, and we know our clients. We know that our clients make things, and we know what is important to their operations. We know they often compete on thin margins and that cost avoidance and value-added relationships are paramount. Attorneys in our Manufacturing Industry Group will always be willing to tour your factory with you—in full safety gear—and to learn what makes your business work. Let us know you better to serve you better.
In addition to the myriad federal laws affecting manufacturers, there are also regulatory challenges at the state and local levels. And the recruiting, hiring, and management of workers mainly happens in the localities where your factories operate. Ogletree Deakins is there too. We maintain at least one office in each of the top 15 states for manufacturing employment in the United States. In fact, we have 26 offices in those top 15 manufacturing states. Our overlapping footprint and physical presence contribute to our ability to effectively represent manufacturers in locations throughout the U.S. We know your local legal, regulatory, and employment markets because we do business there too.
EXPERIENCE GEARED TOWARD MANUFACTURERS
Ogletree Deakins is uniquely positioned to serve manufacturers because we have developed deep experience in the areas that are of particular concern for manufacturers, such as labor relations/union avoidance, workplace safety, immigration, and international labor and employment issues.
- Traditional Labor Relations
American manufacturing has historically been intertwined with organized labor. U.S. manufacturers either have unionized workforces or need to be constantly vigilant and strategic if they wish to remain union-free. Ogletree Deakins boasts a large and deep traditional labor practice, with over 190 lawyers who practice in the areas of labor relations and union avoidance. Our Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group includes a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as well as many lawyers who routinely represent clients in:
- Union avoidance, including positive employee relations, training, campaigns, and related strategy
- Collective bargaining
- Strike preparations and management
- Labor arbitrations
- Defense (and assertion) of unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB
- Labor law–related litigation against or about unions
- Counseling and litigation defense in relation to multi-employer/union benefits plans
- Workplace Safety
Creating and maintaining a safe workplace is a top priority for U.S. manufacturers. However, legal compliance is complicated by a patchwork of federal law as enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and OSHA-approved State Plan jurisdictions, which layer different or even additional compliance requirements on top of federal regulations. We proactively keep our manufacturing clients abreast of ever-changing regulations, and we effectively assist clients in mitigating workplace safety problems when they occur—and litigating them, if necessary. Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group includes more than 50 attorneys who dedicate their practice to workplace safety compliance counseling, crisis management, and effective handling of OSHA inspections and citations. Workplace safety-related services we routinely provide to manufacturers include:
- Development of occupational safety and health strategy;
- Investigation of workplace accidents;
- Counseling in the effective handling of OSHA inspections and whistleblower complaints;
- Negotiation and resolution of OSHA citations;
- Litigation and trial of OSHA citations;
- Assistance in ensuring compliance;
- Assistance and training in the utilization of best practices to improve safety and health performance;
- Formulation of safety and health programs;
- Conducting safety and health audits; and
- Training of safety and human resources personnel on OSHA-specific issues, including managing post-accident risk management protocols
Many manufacturers in the U.S. are challenged to find particular talent in the fields of engineering and other sciences, as well as hourly production workers. At times, manufacturers meet these workforce needs by hiring foreign nationals with employment-based visas. Compliance with immigration laws is increasingly challenging and requires a strategic approach that pursues the most appropriate and advantageous visa options and a keen awareness of the latest enforcement trends and regulatory requirements. Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the U.S. and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees. Our Immigration Practice Group consists of over 70 experienced and dedicated immigration lawyers who work with domestic and international corporations and businesses in developing strategies to facilitate the international transfer of skilled employees. Our full-service immigration practice assists our clients in obtaining temporary employment visas for executives and managers, researchers, and other specialized technical employees; obtaining permanent residence status for foreign nationals; assisting clients in planning for the immigration impact of mergers and acquisitions; and providing guidance regarding I-9 compliance and related anti-discrimination provisions.
- Wage and Hour
Manufacturers face a host of wage and hour issues, including whether supervisors and team leaders qualify as exempt under federal and state wage and hour laws, meal and rest break requirements, donning and doffing issues, coordination of federal and state overtime rules, timekeeping obligations, and more. Our Wage and Hour Practice Group has deep experience with solving these issues for manufacturing clients and successfully defending wage and hour litigation, which has markedly increased in recent years. In particular, Ogletree Deakins has six offices in California, where we have extensive experience counseling clients on wage and hour compliance and efficiently defending class and collective action litigation on wage and hour issues.
- Drug Testing
Given the manufacturing industry’s workforce and the high-stakes workplace safety issues that may exist in factories, a drug testing program that is effective yet compliant is key for manufacturers. Drawing on decades of experience advising and defending drug testing laboratories, as well as public and private employers across the country and internationally, our attorneys provide highly responsive legal services that include drafting and revising drug and alcohol testing policies; analyzing individual drug and alcohol testing situations (including reasonable-suspicion drug testing determinations); providing counsel regarding investigations; training employees; and litigating class and collective actions, single-plaintiff cases, and regulatory drug testing matters.
- Other Experience Important to Manufacturers
Ogletree Deakins marshals the broad and deep experience of our lawyers—and related work product and resources—in practice groups focused on every subcategory of labor and employment law. Among those with particular importance to manufacturers are these Ogletree Deakins practice groups:
- Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance
- Background Checks
- Leaves of Absence/Reasonable Accommodation
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Pay Equity
- Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets
These and other focused practice groups increase the value and effectiveness of our general employment law counseling for problem prevention and solving, as well as litigation defense.
Communication is a vital part of serving the legal needs of our clients. We regularly update clients on the status of their matters and are available for consultation at every step of the decision-making process. This participative practice style promotes information-driven decision-making and helps to build strong and lasting relationships based on timeliness, responsiveness, quality, and value.
Our firm has been a leader in offering value-based billing for clients. We work closely with our clients to develop fee arrangements tailored to their needs and interests. We are happy to discuss the nature of any alternative fee agreements of interest to our clients.