Businesses of all types and sizes throughout the United States, Mexico and beyond bring their disputes to Gardere's litigation team and receive practical, responsive, boutique-style attention in return. Our clients have access to the firepower and value of a well-known and highly-regarded Firm's capabilities and interdisciplinary strengths.
Gardere has a national and international energy practice formed around our Energy Industry Team, which is a multidisciplinary group of approximately 80 attorneys with diverse backgrounds, experience and skills specific to the energy industry. Our team includes attorneys who have served as in-house counsel for major energy companies, providing a depth of insight into our clients' needs, issues and concerns. We understand and regularly practice in virtually every sector of the energy, and we represent a wide variety of industry participants from multinational corporations to individuals.
From our offices in the United States and Mexico, our International Practice helps clients operate in today’s global economy. We have more than 30 professionals operating as a boutique within an Am Law 200 law firm and are able to provide focused service with the resources of a large firm. We understand that clients who are engaged in the global marketplace need lawyers who can operate seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions. Our international experts are multi-lingual, are culturally fluent and intimately familiar with various legal systems across the world, especially those in Latin America. Whether you need help with commercial transactions, regulatory matters, customs and import regulations, immigration matters, M&A and joint ventures, international disputes, or international tax planning, Gardere’s international team is here to assist you.
We represent domestic and foreign private funds in all aspects of fund formation, fund operations, platform and add-on acquisitions, and portfolio company operations. Our team has a reputation for being the go-to-lawyers for private equity funds, hedge funds, venture capital funds and family offices. We are known for our vast deal experience, the efficient way we staff and manage our work, and the way we maintain our relationships. We get deals done with sophisticated, strategic, and practical advice tailored to the needs of our clients.
*Not admitted to practice law.
CARRIE B. HOFFMAN (INTERVIEWED BY HEATHER BODELL)
BLOOMBERG BNA: How has the decision of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division to cease issuing opinion letters under the FLSA affected employers and defense strategies in litigation? Are there particular amicus briefs filed by the agency of which defense attorneys should be aware?
HOFFMAN: The change in policy has negatively impacted employers’ ability to obtain information and rely upon it as part of their wage and hour enforcement position, both in and out of the litigation context. FLSA compliance has never been easy, and the application of the statute and regulations are extremely fact-specific. For more than 60 years, opinion letters were one way that the DOL provided guidance to employers. In recognition, however, that employers were using these opinion letters against the DOL and private plaintiffs, the DOL announced the policy that it would no longer issue such letters. Instead, it would issue Administrative Interpretations which would not apply the law to a specific set of facts — meaning they have not provided real guidance to employers. In effect, the DOL has shifted its resources from assisting employers (and providing good defense arguments in litigation) to enforcement.
The amicus briefs filed by the DOL most recently were in 2011 on the issues of (1) whether pharmaceutical sales representatives fit within the outside sales exemption and (2) whether the retaliation provisions of the FLSA covered internal employee complaints. On the issue of pharmaceutical sales representatives, the DOL is attempting to effectuate policy through the amicus brief rather than formal rulemaking. At the Supreme Court argument on this issue, Justice Breyer noted, if the agency is going to ‘‘. . .suddenly do something it hasn’t done for 75 years, the right way to do it is to have notice and comment, hearings, allow people to present their point of view, and then make some rules or determine what should happen. Perhaps they’d say for the future let’s do this, but not let’s give people a windfall for the past. . . . that’s my instinctive reaction.’’ While the specific issue may not be of interest to many employers, how the Court handles the DOL’s enforcement position will have significant impact. The Supreme Court’s decision may provide important guidance to employers on whether they can rely on past enforcement policy of the agency.
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