Akerman LLP, a top 100 U.S. law firm serving clients across the Americas, has expanded its Labor & Employment Practice Group with Partners Angela Hart-Edwards, former chair of the Federal Sector EEO Practice Group at Gordan Rees in Washington, D.C., Colin Barnacle from Holland & Knight LLP in Denver, Denise Gavica Perez from Fragomen in Miami, and Rory McEvoyfrom Blank Rome LLP in New York. Their collective experience bolsters Akerman's national capabilities for employers in the healthcare, hospitality and restaurant sectors, among others, adding new depth in management-side litigation, regulatory compliance, as well as corporate and investment-based immigration.
"Angela, Colin, Denise and Rory are exceptional lawyers who bolster Akerman’s national strengths in employment litigation and compliance," said Eric Gordon, chair of Akerman's Labor & Employment Practice Group. "Employers today are faced with a new set of uncertainties brought on by significant shifts in U.S. employment and immigration policies. The expansion of our team in New York, Denver, Miami and Washington, D.C., advances our ability to problem-solve on the ground with our clients while serving their interests nationally."
Hart-Edwards is a former Trial Attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. She also served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. She focuses her practice in the areas of employment and civil rights law, government investigations and corporate compliance, and federal sector EEO employment law. With more than 20 years of experience as a trial lawyer, Hart-Edwards represents corporations and their executives in labor and employment related litigation, class/collective actions, agency proceedings, arbitrations and mediations and investigations. She also provides EEO services and defensive federal sector employment litigation services to agencies.
Hart-Edwards regularly advises management on litigation avoidance, negotiates and prepares employment and related agreements, provides human resource and EEO regulatory compliance counseling and training, and serves as corporate diversity counselor. Her clients represent a diverse range of industries including manufacturing, logistics, utilities, higher education institutions, technology, nonprofit, government, healthcare, staffing, retail, and hospitality. She also serves as General Counsel to the commissioners of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and as an advisor to The Council for Federal EEO and Civil Rights Executives.
Barnacle focuses his practice on labor and employment litigation, compliance counseling, corporate governance counseling and investigations, and non-compete and trade secret enforcement. He regularly advises and defends clients in response to the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), including systemic discrimination investigations and related class actions. He has represented employers in all aspects of employment law before state and federal agencies and courts, including wage and hour collective/class actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state workers compensation laws. He is also experienced in Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) compliance, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) compliance during mass layoffs, and employee-related issues surrounding corporate transactions. Barnacle represents food companies throughout the supply chain, including growers/shippers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and food service businesses.
Barnacle brings years of in-house legal experience having served as Division General Counsel for Americas Fresh Foods, The WhiteWave Foods Company (NYSE: WWAV), a leading consumer packaged food and beverage company, and as assistant general counsel for The Gates Corporation, a global diversified manufacturer of industrial and automotive products.
Denise Gavica Perez
Gavica Perez focuses her practice on corporate immigration matters, with a strong emphasis in the healthcare sector. She routinely counsels hospitals seeking to obtain non-immigrant and immigrant visas for employees including physicians, nurses, residents, pharmacists, fellows, medical technologists, as well as staffing agencies tasked with recruiting healthcare professionals. She also has 18 years of practice representing companies within the financial services, technology, sports and entertainment, hospitality, higher-education, construction and engineering sectors.
Gavica Perez regularly provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals regarding investment-based immigration, including the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, and she advises clients on the full range of immigrant visas, labor certifications and U.S. citizenship matters. She has experience managing the immigration compliance programs for multinational corporations and institutions engaged in a wide range of activities and industries, including financial services, technology, sports and entertainment, higher-education, construction and engineering. She also has represented companies in connection with Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) audits, and Department of Labor/Wage and Hour Division immigration-related investigations.
McEvoy focuses his practice on labor and employment matters, including litigation in federal and state courts and agencies. He routinely handles matters involving collective bargaining, arbitrations, unfair labor practices and union representation proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He also represents clients in all aspects of the employment relationship, including non-compete litigation, breach of employment contracts, wage and hour matters and defamation.
McEvoy represents many of New York's large hospitals and healthcare systems. He also represents clients in other sectors, including financial services, philanthropic religious organizations, technology and educational institutions, among others.
Akerman has welcomed 17 lawyers to its Labor & Employment Practice Group in less than 15 months, expanding nationally with additions in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Other notable arrivals include Immigration Planning & Compliance Practice Chair Maria Casablanca from Casablanca Legal Group in Miami; employment litigators Bran Noonan and Sarir Silverfrom Gordon & Rees in New York, Lillian Chaves Moon from Jackson Lewis in Orlando, and Rachel Schumacher from Katten Muchin Rosenman in Los Angeles.
About Akerman LLP
Akerman LLP is a leading transactions and trial law firm known for its core strengths in middle market M&A, within the financial services and real estate industries, and for a diverse Latin America practice. With more than 650 lawyers and government affairs professionals and a network of 24 offices, it is ranked among the top 100 law firms in the United States by The American Lawyer (2017). Akerman also is ranked among the top 100 law firms for diversity in The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard (2017).
Akerman's Labor & Employment Practice Group defends employers throughout the United States in all types of litigation under federal, state and local employment laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act. Adept at class and collective actions defense, the group represents clients in connection with employment law compliance, collective bargaining and NLRB proceedings, ADA public access, global workforce issues, immigration, and non-compete and trade secret advice.