Friedman Kaplan has a robust and multi-faceted employment practice that exemplifies our strength in approaching challenges with creativity and sensitivity to our clients’ needs. We have represented employers and employees in a wide variety of litigations, trials, arbitrations, contract and severance negotiations, and internal investigations. We also regularly advise companies in matters of employee recruitment and separation, and claims of workplace discrimination and other misconduct. Our vast experience and expertise in multiple practice areas enable us to apply whatever skills are necessary to address even the thorniest employment issues.
Because Friedman Kaplan has advised both companies and individuals in a broad array of employment matters, we are attuned to all aspects of the employment relationship, from recruitment and contract formation through separation and post-employment enforcement (or defense) of restrictive covenants. Our attorneys understand that the employment relationship is much more than simply an economic arrangement, and is often freighted with highly personal and institutional concerns. That is why we work closely with clients to gain a full appreciation of all of the interests, objectives, and ramifications involved in a given strategy or approach. In every such engagement, we take our role of counselor very seriously. Whether negotiating a complex executive compensation or severance package, navigating a group placement, arbitrating a trade secrets dispute, or conducting a months-long trial involving allegations of "raiding," we recognize that our clients depend on us to steer them through difficult waters.
Selected Litigation Experience
- We represented one of the world's most prominent inter-dealer brokerage firms in eight consolidated FINRA arbitrations, defending against claims of "raiding," unfair competition, breach of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, and other business torts. The FINRA panel ultimately awarded plaintiffs a fraction of the damages they sought, and awarded significant damages to the employees hired by the client. Most recently, the firm represented the client in a follow-on five-month jury trial that settled favorably.
- We represented a high-level executive of Merrill Lynch in connection with an arbitration before FINRA pertaining to the terms of his departure from the bank. Following a multi-day trial, the matter resulted in a multi-million dollar award.
- At the request of their new employer, we represented former senior employees of UBS in connection with the defense of allegations by UBS of misappropriation of trade secrets and source code, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of garden leave. Our clients were forced to appear before FINRA in two plenary arbitration hearings, at which – in addition to in a subsequent investigation – we represented them. At the end of each, the panel denied all relief sought by UBS.
- We represented an international sports management and marketing company at trial in connection with the defense of claims by a company executive of race and gender discrimination. The District Court decided in our favor, and the decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit.
- We successfully represented a high-level former executive of American Airlines in defense of allegations of theft of trade secrets following his move to Delta.
Selected Corporate Experience
- We represent hedge funds in connection with employment, confidentiality, non-solicitation, and termination agreements, and negotiations for and with personnel.
- We frequently represent employees of prominent hedge and private equity funds and other major financial services companies in the negotiation of their separation and severance agreements.
- We represented the CEO of a publicly-traded real estate investment company in connection with his negotiations to become non-executive chairman of a second public company.
- We advised a private equity fund in connection with an internal investigation into the activities of a principal of the fund.
- We represented a former senior investment banker in the negotiation of his stock purchase and shareholder agreements when he was appointed co-CEO of a successful privately-held real estate firm.
- We represented a hedge fund manager in the negotiation of the terms of employment and investment partnership arrangements under U.S., U.K., and Cayman tax structures and law following his retention by a wealthy American family to run their family office in Europe.
- We represented the management group of a company specializing in the repair and leasing of aircraft and aircraft parts in connection with the negotiation of equity arrangements for management, and other employment matters.
- We represented the management of Tygris Vendor Finance in connection with complicated employment agreements related to the company's official takeover by major private equity fund DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, which had launched and grown Tygris.