As labor and employment laws become more nuanced and complex, Hall Booth Smith’s national Labor and Employment Practice Group proactively assists both private and public sector clients in navigating the ever changing legal landscape. When challenging employment law and workplace issues arise, employers, companies, educational institutions and municipalities across the United States turn to our labor and employment attorneys to provide the strategic guidance necessary to safeguard against potential claims and to resolve conflicts in the most favorable and cost-effective manner possible.
Efficient and innovative solutions are the hallmarks of our practice. Recognized for our zealous advocacy, Hall Booth Smith’s seasoned attorneys deliver comprehensive advice and counsel in all types of employment-related matters, including:
Education Employment Law
Hall Booth Smith offers investigative and litigation services to public and private school entities, administrators, boards, and others across the education sector. Our team has extensive experience in education employment legal matters, including teacher dismissals and evaluations, disciplinary matters, sexual harassment, Title VII, speech and First Amendment issues, civil rights, student discipline, school violence, special education, testing/promotion, access to student records, fraternity and sorority matters, and other emerging issues. We also represent educators in internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings and other matters related to their employment.
A significant portion of our employment practice is devoted to defending claims alleging sexual harassment, discrimination (including but not limited to age, race, disability, national origin, religion and gender), whistleblower, hostile work environment, retaliation and wrongful termination. We also defend employers in wage and hour/FLSA claims, contract disputes, trade secret, and unfair competition claims. We provide strategic counsel and representation in matters before state and federal courts as well as the United States Department of Labor, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Justice, as well as state and local agencies and authorities.
Professional Liability and Insurance Defense
Hall Booth Smith serves as panel counsel for many of the leading insurance carriers, both domestic and abroad. We work closely with underwriters, adjusters, carrier representatives, risk managers, consultants, brokers and insureds to deliver effective claims management and risk control services to address claims quickly and cost effectively. Insurance carriers also call upon the skill of our seasoned attorneys for mediation, arbitration and litigation, as well as monitoring outside counsel on a national level. We focus on the early evaluation of claims, and aggressively obtain mitigation information in order to swiftly and effectively assess liability. This allows us to develop strategies that make Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures more effective and drive down the cost of traditional litigation.
Employment Practice & Legal Compliance Audits
We offer comprehensive employment practice and legal compliance counseling that help clients develop practical strategies designs to reduce overall employment-related costs, minimize the risk of lawsuits, improve productivity, and enhance employee morale and retention. This includes educational training for in-house counsel, human resources professionals, senior management, mid-level leadership with respect to compliance with labor and employment laws at the federal, state and local levels. Our attorneys have developed an extensive library of presentations covering virtually all workplace issues that can be uniquely tailored to any employer’s specific business operations.
We also train companies on payroll practices and procedures, drafting and implementing personnel manuals/handbooks, hiring practices, separation agreements, medical leave compliance, workplace investigations, proper classification of workers, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), employee drug testing and pre- and post- employment screening, immigration, and compliance audits.
Restrictive Covenants/Unfair Competition/Trade Secrets
Our Labor and Employment Practices Group understands the value of protectable proprietary interests and what is at risk for an organization should its confidential information be misappropriated. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in drafting enforceable employment contracts and restrictive covenants that ensure that the company’s confidential information is protected when an employee is terminated or leaves the organization. Our attorneys also draft and negotiate severance agreements, non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements and non-disclosure agreements for companies of all sizes operating across all industries. Similarly, our lawyers are highly experienced in aggressively defending and/or enforcing the terms of these agreements, particularly within the context of post-employment restrictive covenants. In situations where an employee breaches a restrictive covenant or other type of employment agreement, we take immediate action, typically seeking emergency injunctive relief to protect the employer from irreparable harm.
Class Action and Multi-Employer Litigation
We have successfully defended class action and other multi-plaintiff suits alleging breach of contract, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, whistleblowing, tortuous interference, age and other protected classifications. Our national wage and hour defense practice defends class action lawsuits and investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and other government agencies.
Labor Management Relations
Our Labor and Employment Law Practice Group also handles virtually all aspects of traditional labor relations on behalf of management, including collective bargaining, grievances and arbitration. Our team provides labor counseling to employers and advises management on effective and strategic response efforts to avoid unfair labor practice disputes to promote mutually satisfactory employee-employer relations. We also represent clients in actions before the National Labor Relations Board and other government agencies.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
With labor and employment disputes on the rise, companies, insurers, government agencies and courts are increasingly turning to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to avoid the costs and complexities of adversarial litigation. Arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution platforms are effective and efficient ways for management and employees to collaboratively find workable solutions that are acceptable to all parties.
Our attorneys are recognized nationally for their ability to evaluate all legal issues, develop targeted strategies and reaching an amicable resolution that protects the needs and business objectives of the organization. Whether mediation, arbitration or a hybrid of the two, ADR requires experienced legal counsel who can thoroughly evaluate a case and develop a comprehensive strategy before litigation costs take over and diminish the chances of early resolution.
We represent clients of all sizes, including public and private companies, partnerships, joint ventures, nonprofit organizations, franchisees, universities and other education systems, and other employers across a diverse range of industries including:
The Employment Practice Group has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts nation wide litigating individual and large class actions involving the full range of employment claims including:
HBS assists the construction industry in a wide variety of private and public construction projects, including commercial, residential, industrial, and mixed-use properties. In addition to managing risk and defending and asserting liability claims on behalf of clients, we regularly advise on the myriad of issues that arise in the course of planning, managing and completing construction projects. As a full-service law firm, we offer services in construction related fields, such as real estate, litigation, ADR/arbitration, finance, environmental, land use, energy, regulatory, and utilities.
HBS construction attorneys have handled the entire gamut of claims that can be brought in the construction industry, including successfully representing property owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects and engineers, construction managers, suppliers, transportation providers and haulers, individuals, corporations, electric companies, engineering companies, government entities, insurance carriers and sureties regarding construction industry issues.
Representing creative minds and creative businesses, Hall Booth Smith provides clients with the business advice and legal guidance needed to succeed in the ever-evolving multimedia entertainment marketplace.
From day-to-day business operations and management advice to transactional guidance and dispute resolution, our attorneys help those in the entertainment industry manage talent and preserve, protect and actualize their entertainment property and services. We have critical access to key players in the entertainment industry and provide clients with the business-oriented and dedicated legal advice needed to thrive.
Transactional and litigation attorneys work together seamlessly, handling all of our clients’ legal needs and helping them achieve their goals. Our experience is diverse and includes advising clients regarding music, film, television, software, books and other print media, advertising, and graphic, visual and performing arts, social media and gaming, negotiating the full range of transaction documents and industry agreements, and litigating disputes. We assure that our clients’ creativity and their rights in creative works are fully protected.
As active members of various respected industry-leading societies, including NARAS, CMA, we remain at the forefront of industry trends and legal developments. Our attorneys speak regularly on industry panels, contribute as writers to respected industry publications and serve on boards of several industry non-profit organizations.
Already among the most regulated industries, and now grappling with the uncertainty regarding the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other reforms, the health care industry and those doing business with the sector rely on HBS to advise on and effectively resolve their business, legal, and regulatory challenges. We advise on all aspects of our clients’ healthcare related businesses from structuring, employment issues, office management, corporate governance and transactional matters to malpractice issues, patient privacy, records retention and data protection.
Scientific developments, technological efficiencies, global trade, and government support and regulation have changed food and fiber production in the United States into a sophisticated and complex business. From a farmer’s field to a consumer’s kitchen table, complicated legal issues now arise for growers, agribusinesses, distributors, brokers, and food retailers. Hall Booth Smith (HBS) specializes in providing legal counsel to and litigation and regulatory advocacy for farmers and agribusinesses.
Because most of our Agriculture Law Practice Group attorneys either grew up on a farm, earned degrees in agriculture, or have spent their careers counseling farmers and agribusinesses, our specific and keen understanding of the business practices and needs of farmers and agribusinesses superiorly position us to handle any agricultural matter. With six offices located throughout Georgia and offices in South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida, we couple the expertise and reputation of a large firm with the accessibility of a local firm.
The legal issues farmers and agribusinesses face are often unique to the agriculture sector. For example, HBS handles issues for buyers and sellers under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), a complex federal statute which establishes a code of fair business practices that protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. In many cases, the laws relevant to the issues facing agriculturists arise out of the laws and regulations that are applicable to any contract, insurance policy, property right, business organization, or succession plan.
Hall Booth Smith guides real estate industry clients through the complexities of real property purchases, assessments, sales and leases, land use, zoning, financing and environmental issues, and a host of other concerns. HBS team represents virtually all players in the industry, including owners and occupiers, developers, real estate advisers, lenders, pension funds, insurance companies, governments, and hotel owners and operators. HBS , negotiates commercial and residential transactions of all types and sizes. Our real estate attorneys have advised clients throughout the life cycle of their property ownership from acquisition through development.
Hall Booth Smith provides transactional and operational counsel as well as investigative and litigation services to a wide variety of public and private school entities, their administrators and boards, and others involved with the education sector. We have represented K-12 educational institutions, colleges and universities, school district board members, administrators and staff, handling the full range of school-related issues they encounter, including civil rights, First Amendment rights, student discipline, school violence, special education, testing/promotion, access to student records, and fraternity and sorority matters. Our Education lawyers also advise on and resolve employment and labor issues including teacher evaluations, remediation and discipline, teacher dismissals, at-will employment, sexual harassment, and Title VII, as well as represent professional educators in internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings and other matters related to their employment.
Recognizing that the most effective solution is prevention, we review our clients’ existing policies and help them devise risk avoidance strategies and comprehensive rules, policies, and procedures to minimize their exposure. As an added value, HBS lawyers offer training programs to assure that our clients’ administrators, school board members, school system officials, educators, and staff fully understand the rules and the importance of compliance. Through these workshops, attendees learn to readily identify and address issues and concerns before they become problems.
With a team of former and current government leaders , and those actively involved in various areas of government, HBS offers comprehensive representation and advice to those in government, including states, counties, cities, non-profits and other related industries.
Our team members are regarded as among the most influential leaders in the state of Georgia and are repeatedly recognized for their work on behalf of clients in the government arena. Regularly interacting with legislative leaders concerning client needs, we maintain close working relationships with elected officials, appointed officials, and agency staff, enhancing our ability to provide expertise and counsel. Leveraging our connections, regulatory know-how and legal experience, we work with local, county and state government officials to craft good policy and address our clients’ legislative, regulatory and legal concerns.
HBS attorneys assist clients with the full range of local, county and state government affairs, regulatory matters, lobbying efforts, and political and campaign finance issues. Understanding the regulatory framework which affects our clients’ business operations, we are particularly adept at helping related regulated industries such as utilities, energy and trade associations, telecommunication companies, health care, insurance, local governments, and nonprofit organizations with compliance matters.
From appraisals, coverage, claims and adjusting issues to drafting and review of insurance policy, regulatory compliance advice and dispute resolution, HBS assists insurance industry clients with resolving the many challenges they face.
In addition to managing risk and defending liability claims, we regularly advise clients on the full range of insurance products, services, and coverages, including general liability, automotive, life, property and casualty, director and officers’ liability, professional malpractice, errors & omissions coverage, business interruption and environmental, cyber-risk and other specialty coverages and exclusions.
Our lawyers represent clients in courts of all levels throughout the United States, litigating class actions, multiparty and multi-district cases as well as individual lawsuits involving virtually every type of claim, coverage, fraud and bad faith action. We handle regulatory investigations and enforcement actions and are experienced with all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Active insurance coverage attorneys in the international insurance markets, we also help domestic clients gain access to the overseas market and assist foreign insurers in managing their domestic litigation.
As industry leaders, HBS Insurance Coverage lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in the field of insurance. Team members regularly write and lecture on insurance and property ISU issues, and are active members in insurance industry groups. As a value-added, we offer clients employee training to help their staff understand the laws and regulatory requirements impacting their industry and strategies to minimize risk exposure.
HBS helps hospitality industry clients both maximize their financial return and meet consumer service expectations.
Subject to a host of federal, state, county and municipal laws, regulations and code requirements and facing economic, real estate, employment and customer challenges, restaurants, hotels, leisure resorts, recreational facilities and other hospitality businesses turn to HBS for guidance. Our Hospitality lawyers are experienced advising on all aspects of hospitality businesses, from project conception and regulatory guidance through financing, development, operations and dispute resolution.
Whether addressing a labor and employment, transactional, privacy law, food and beverage, real estate or construction matter or attempting to resolve an issue involving employee benefits and compensation, intellectual property, data protection or potential liability, we advise our clients each step of the way, helping them leverage opportunities and avoid attendant risks. We vigilantly monitor the evolving regulatory and legal framework impacting our clients, to make sure that they are prepared for the future.
Our team of experienced litigators regularly handle claims for our hospitality industry clients in courts of all levels and has successfully defended class actions, multi-district litigation, personal injury claims, construction disputes and a wide variety of other matters. With a former State Senator and active government affairs attorneys, we are also adept at representing hospitality industry clients regarding their legal, regulatory and government affair challenges.
Hall Booth Smith has decades of experience providing transportation industry clients with comprehensive, strategic business and regulatory advice and effective legal representation.
Our firm represents a wide array of entities in transportation-related litigation, including owner-operators, insurers, insureds and various self-insurance funds, as well as aviation companies, oil and gas companies and railroads.
HBS attorneys have counseled transportation industry clients regarding virtually every issue affecting the industry and have litigated disputes throughout the country on nearly every facet of transportation law.
We also regularly work with clients to devise, implement and enforce risk avoidance strategies. Applying the experience gained from decades litigating industry-related disputes, we offer clients effective and cost-efficient representation in courts as well as before government agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, state Departments of Transportation, and other regulatory bodies.