Hunton Andrews Kurth, the product of a recent merger between two prominent firms (the Southeast institution Hunton & Williams and the Texas-centric Andrews Kurth), with the combined entity bringing together each firm’s strengths in a complementary fashion and doubles down on its comprehensive coverage regionally. Clients cheer the firm’s “expertise in our area and consistent excellence in client service and communications exceeded expectations,” calling out the individual lawyers’ “thorough, responsive and concise work product,” and testifying that they are “always available”.
Hunton’s concentration of litigation talent in its Richmond office is particularly notable. Mike Shebelskie garners praise from well beyond Virginia and is noted nationally for his presence in high-stakes matters often containing an environmental element, an area in which Hunton & Williams was particularly well versed. Shebelskie has cases with Elbert Lin, another Richmond partner who has been particularly visible as of late. Lin argued for Maui County at the Supreme Court in a case exploring the parameters of the Clean Water Act, Lin triumphed in a favorable decision that was rendered in April 2020. “This is a milestone,” claims a peer. “It’s time to recognize Elbert Lin!” Another environmental litigator (and leader of the practice) based in the DC office, Deidre Duncan led a team that won a significant victory for Mosaic Fertilizer in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in a suit challenging the federal authorizations and reviews issued for Mosaic’s South Pasture Extension mine under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA.)The underlying suit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups, raised more than a dozen claims under NEPA, CWA and ESA. The Hunton team defeated those claims in the district court in November 2018, and the environmental groups appealed. In a comprehensive opinion, a divided panel of the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision and, in doing so, established important precedent governing the scope of NEPA reviews.
Kelly Sandill in the firm’s Houston office led an all-female firm team that scored a milestone win in a hotly contested lawsuit for the Houston Police Officers’ Union when, in May 2019 after months of litigation, a Harris County District Court Judge awarded summary judgment in the client’s favor by ruling that Proposition B, which was a City Charter Amendment passed by the voters that tied firefighter pay to police pay, was preempted by Texas state law and unconstitutional. The ruling follows a year’s worth of contentious debate surrounding Proposition B and the financial effect on the City of Houston and Houston police officers. In the Miami office, all-purpose commercial litigator Sam Danon continues to be viewed as “a force,” with one local peer elaborating, “Sam is very savvy – he’s a native Spanish speaker, which you need to be around here, but Sam is particularly good at using this to his advantage not only in litigation but for building business.”
The firm’s geographic footprint is not limited to the South. Partners in the firm’s Boston office Harry Manion and Martin Gaynor led a team that won a June 2019 jury verdict of more than $20 million against the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center over dredging related to construction of a marine terminal.
The national labor and employment team of Hunton Andrews Kurth are active in employment, wage and hour, labor relations and public accessibility cases. Their expertise stems from routinely representing clients in class, collective, and mass actions, as well as in high-profile, high-risk matters in federal and state courts. In addition, practitioners at the firm are noted for serving as counsel for clients in hearings before enforcement agencies, mediations, and arbitrations.
The Richmond office houses a group of labor and employment lawyers who routinely represent employers in a wide range of disputes. Ryan Glasgow is active in wage and hour class and collective actions, in defeating class certification, whistleblower claims, Fair Credit Reporting Act class actions, ERISA actions, immigration litigation, single- and multi-plaintiff discrimination and harassment litigation, and prosecution and defense of breach of contract and restrictive covenant litigation. Fellow partner Kurt Larkin negotiated numerous area master collective bargaining agreements around the country. He is also active in advising clients in union organizing campaigns. Gregory Robertson has handled representation and decertification elections for employers, including numerous campaigns of 500 to 5,000 employees. Robertson, who has four decades of experience under his belt, currently serves as counsel to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
The Georgia office of the firm is home to two Atlanta-based partners in Robert Dumbacher and Kurt Powell. Powell, the office’s managing partner, successfully obtained the dismissal of a nationwide collective action against a pharmaceutical company challenging exempt status of sales representatives under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Dumbacher routinely represents clients before the National Labor Relations Board, including prosecution and defense of unfair labor practice charges. He is active in large-scale labor relations matters, restrictive covenant disputes, trade secrets and non-compete disputes and wage and hour cases.
Juan Enjamio serves as managing partner of the firm’s Miami hub. He is recognized for his work in discrimination and harassment lawsuits, wage and hour collective actions, ERISA litigation and enforcement of non-competition agreements. He is also active in international litigation, complex commercial litigation, and defense of class actions.
Texas-based litigator Scott Nelson recently joined the Houston team where he will continue to specialize in employment litigation, with an emphasis on wage and hour class and collective actions, ERISA litigation, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters. Fellow Houston partner Holly Williamson is active as employment counsel to companies in the oil and gas industries, as well as in the restaurant, retail, financial, chemical, health care, drug testing and administration, transportation, and telecommunications industries. Amber Rogers hails from the firm’s Dallas office where she serves as the hiring partner. Her practice is dedicated to advising clients in collective bargaining, representation elections, decertification elections, unfair labor practice charges, arbitrating grievances, contract administration and interpretation, and union avoidance strategies. She routinely represents clients in wage and hour collective and class actions, trade secrets and post-employment restrictive covenant disputes, and employment discrimination cases, as well as in affirmative action work and audit defense, and advising clients on various diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Fellow Dallas partner Alan Marcuis co-heads the unfair competition and information task force. He also serves as the hiring partner for the firm’s Texas offices. His practice is dedicated to litigating trade secret and nondisclosure matters arising from employment and fiduciary relationships, including intellectual property and other proprietary information. Marcuis frequently represents clients in matters relating to contract, trade secret and post-employment restrictive covenants, EEO litigation, collective bargaining, and labor relations.
The DC office of the firm is home to trial lawyer Susan Wiltsie, whose three decades of experience before numerous courts, compliance boards, and arbitration panels make up her well-rounded practice. Ryan Bates is also a new addition to the list this year due to his nationwide practice handling complex employment litigation, including class actions, collective actions, and bet-the-company litigation. He regularly defends employers against lawsuits arising under Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and other state discrimination statutes. Kevin White chairs the national labor and employment practice group where he focuses on complex employment litigation and employment advice and counseling. His practice also includes representing clients in discrimination class action litigation, governmental agency systemic discrimination investigations, wage and hour litigation, and in conducting internal investigations. Fellow co-chair of the firm’s unfair competition and information protection task force is Bob Quackenboss, whose practice is dedicated to resolving complex labor, employment, trade secret, non-compete and related commercial disputes. He is also active in complex employment discrimination, harassment, and wage-and-hour disputes, including class and collective actions before numerous courts along the east coast.
Christopher Pardo joined the Hunton Andrews Kurth team in Boston after stints in other national and international firms. His practice involves defending clients in complex employment cases in federal and state courts, arbitration, and before administrative agencies. He also routinely defends clients in class and collective actions, wage and hour issues, trade secret litigation and restrictive covenant agreements, discrimination matters, wrongful termination, and other state law claims.
The California offices of the firm house several labor and employment litigators. Michele Beilke specializes in a wide range of labor and employment matters, including wage and hour disputes, and class and collective actions. Emily Burkhardt Vicente is part of the counsel team led by Rolando Juarez defending Katmai Government Services against class and collective action wage and hour claims under California and Federal law. The team was able to settle for approximately one-tenth of the original amount valued by the plaintiffs. Brett Burns is lead counsel to Nationstar Mortgage in a series of wage and hour class actions filed in the Superior Court of California. The dispute alleges the client failed to pay overtime and double time compensation, failed to provide meal periods, failed to authorize and permit rest breaks, and failed to provide accurate wage statements, along with alleging various derivative claims. After two years of litigation, the firm reached a favorable agreement on behalf of the client. New addition trial lawyer Julia Trankiem is recognized for her role representing employers in class, collective, and hybrid actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as state wage and hour laws. She is also active defending claims of wrongful discharge, employment discrimination and other employment-related issues.