For more than a century, Burr & Forman LLP’s experienced legal team has served clients at the intersection of business and government with local, national, and international interests in numerous industry and practice areas, ranging from commercial litigation and class actions to corporate transactions, including bankruptcy and restructurings. A Southeast regional firm with 360 attorneys and 19 offices in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, Burr & Forman attorneys draw from a diverse range of resources to help clients achieve their goals and address their complex legal needs. The firm operates as Burr Forman McNair in North Carolina and South Carolina.
One of our firm’s aspirations, as reflected in our Vision Statement, is to understand our clients’ businesses at a deep level and to evidence, in all of our interactions, the same sense of urgency for the success of these businesses as their leaders do. We measure our success by that of our clients and our mission is to help our clients and the communities they serve, grow and prosper.
When clients come to us they see an urgency and concern that mirrors their own. They expect a strategic and big-picture approach that drives grounded and practical problem solving.
Commitment to Excellence
Without exception, Burr Forman McNair is committed to the pursuit of excellence. Each attorney in our firm serves on various charitable, civic, professional, and business associations or organizations contributing to the communities where we reside, ranging from membership in various local civic groups to national associations and foundations.
In addition to playing an active role in the life of our state and country, our timely awareness of developments in local and global communities allows us to better serve our clients.
We take pride in our ability to solve problems, seizing each opportunity of advantage for our clients. It is in these tough and challenging circumstances that we are at our best. We pursue the solution, not belabor the issue. There is a simple, though multi-faceted, key to the Firm’s success: capability, capacity, and concern.
A Team Approach
We emphasize the team approach in our practice and are committed to controlling client costs while delivering quality performance with desired results. We accomplish this through the following means:
Labor & Employment
The responsiveness employers need for getting things done.
We know that most employers have a strong commitment to an honest, fair workplace. Yet their companies can still unwittingly run afoul of complex labor and employment laws or face an unsupported allegation of misconduct. Burr Forman McNair labor and employment attorneys know how to identify the problems that can become employment lawsuits, and work to prevent problems or resolve controversies in the most effective way possible. If you are faced with an employment lawsuit, we’ll work to resolve it – and are committed to giving you a tough, aggressive, but cost-effective defense against employment related claims before regulators and in court.
Our client roster typify the full range of business diversity throughout the Southeast, such as manufacturing, transportation, hospitality, retailing, construction, and healthcare. We have counseled companies of Fortune 500 size, but more typically represent mid-range businesses with 50 to 1,500 employees. Our attorneys work directly with CEOs, CFOs, department heads, and human resource personnel. They call us with confidence, knowing we understand their businesses and will answer their questions.
Responding to YOU
Labor and employment problems often involve high stakes and intense time pressure. That’s why our lawyers are committed to giving you the most responsive service possible. When you call, we’ll respond – promptly and without fail, with straightforward advice from an experienced lawyer who doesn’t pass responding off onto someone else.
Issues like sexual harassment and workplace violence demand immediate attention, and we provide it. If you’re in the middle of a dispute over an organizing drive or an unfair labor practice complaint, we know that you need aggressive responses at once. Our attorneys will speak with you whenever necessary, day or night. Accountability and accessibility are our watchwords, as you get direct access to the person who can solve your problem or answer your question.
How we get things done:
A recent example on how we achieve results for our clients is one of our attorneys has been employment law counsel to a South Carolina manufacturer for 20 years. Recently, he received a matter-of-fact call from the company’s president, who had just been freed after being held at gunpoint by a former employee. Having handled the former employee’s termination, our lawyer understood the situation and immediately drove two hours to the manufacturer’s plant while in constant mobile phone conversation with the local sheriff and the court judge.
By the time he got to the plant, our team had ensured that the former employee was committed for 30 days to undergo mental testing. Burr Forman McNair’s client hadn’t asked us to come or to remove the immediate threat of danger – but we knew it was the right thing to do. As the client said later, “I’ve never been more impressed.”
Across the Southeast and throughout the nation, only about 50% of employers are able to keep their workplaces union-free when faced with an organizing drive. On average, when taking yearly variations into account, we help our clients maintain a success rate exceeding 90% in defeating organizing drives. Our low-profile, but highly effective labor relations counsel can be crucial to helping you maintain a competitive workplace that treats employees fairly, minimizes conflicts, and maximizes your management flexibility. If you face a union organizing drive, count on our help to maintain a positive working environment and communicate fully with all employees. We’ll make sure you comply with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election law, and counter aggressive unionizing efforts without creating a “union-busting” controversy.
During the past 15 years we have helped one client maintain a union-free environment through two different organizing drives. Our straightforward and effective counsel during the union organizing drives led us to representing the client in a discrimination case. Our knowledge of the company, its people, its values, and its mission was important in jury trial of allegations that one of our client’s human resources managers had not properly responded to an employee problem. We put the manager on the stand, asked him to explain his actions in light of the company’s values, mission, people, and policies then asked the jury in summation: “Can you believe this person and this company did what they were accused of?” The jury’s answer: “No.”
Preventing Poor Performance
The best approach to employment law problems is to keep them from occurring. And, we think the best way to do that is daily application of a tongue-twister, but down-to-earth business rule: “Prior proper planning prevents poor performance.” Our team will help you develop and implement a sound strategy for relationships with your employees in a way that identifies potential problems before they become concerns for your company.
We visit your workplace, learn what you do and how you do it, and ask you the right questions about how best to fulfill your responsibilities to your employees. Our goal is to help you eliminate the problems, avoid the risk of a lawsuit, and comply with the law. You get a review and revision of your existing policies and procedures, or creation of a new employee handbook for your company from scratch. Then, we’ll help your managers effectively implement the policies, making sure they become part of everyday business practices as we maintain a long-term counseling relationship with you.
For 15 years a Burr Forman McNair attorney has counseled a large medical practice on everything from general employment issues to specialized staff concerns. She has developed such a close working relationship with physicians and staff members, become so knowledgeable about the business of the medical practice, and saved them so much money, that she has become an advisor on other legal aspects of their business while continuing to advise on complex medical staff and credentialing issues. Our attorney turned the client relationship into such a friendship that she gets invited to their annual Christmas party – she’s part of their “family.”
Disputes over partnership agreements or non-compete agreements often pit a company’s managers or executives against each other. Our team is skilled at handling the time-sensitive injunctions and restraining orders that often are important parts of these disputes, and we have defended the interests of employers on all sides of such controversies. You can get our help to secure your legitimate ownership rights, whether to sensitive information or to the entire company and its operations. There are also plenty of other workplace controversies that our lawyers help resolve. Your company might face tort allegations involving everything from workplace defamation to infliction of emotional distress. In these and many other controversies, we’ll defend you in administrative forums and in state or federal court.
Our client’s business partner, who had responsibility for day-to-day operations of the business, tried to buy out our client’s 51% ownership interest for substantially less than its actual value. The client refused to acquiesce and sought Burr Forman McNair’s help when the business partner set up a competing business the day after our client said no to the offer.
We brought suit on our client’s behalf, alleging, among other claims, breach of duty and loyalty against the other partner. The jury found in favor of our client.
Defending your Interests
Your potential labor and employment controversies are as wide-ranging as the many federal and state laws and regulations that you operate under, and we can defend and resolve them. We have represented many employers in complaint investigations and administrative proceedings by state agencies, and by such federal agencies as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Employers increasingly face lawsuits claiming back pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay exemptions. We work to make sure your employees are properly classified while mounting a vigorous defense against any claims. Any protected class of your employees – by age, race, gender, disability, religion – could bring suit under the discrimination statues, and we have successfully litigated and resolved all types of discrimination matters.
No matter what the dispute or controversy, we prepare your defense by going to the workplace, reviewing all the documents, interviewing all the relevant people, and asking the right questions to understand the claim. Every strategy we recommend and each action we take is with your business objectives in mind. We don’t litigate for the sake of litigation, but we’re not afraid to take an aggressive approach to a dispute on your behalf when it’s warranted – and we make sure all your relevant personnel are fully prepared in depositions or at trial.
The members of our Labor and Employment Practice Group are editors and contributors to a number of regional publications focused on employment issues.
For more information, visit the firm’s website at www.burr.com.