Littler Welcomes Jim Thelen as Of Counsel in Portland

PORTLAND, Maine (May 24, 2023) – Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has added James Thelen as of counsel in its Portland, Maine office. Prior to joining Littler, Thelen was a higher education consultant, as well as general counsel and chief legal officer at the University of Maine System, a statewide system of seven public universities. While there, he also served as vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and chief of staff.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim as the newest member of our Portland office,” said Michael Mankes, Littler’s Portland office managing shareholder. “Jim is a highly qualified strategic partner for employers in the higher education and labor and employment spaces. His executive higher education experience and labor and employment background make him an excellent addition to the team and a great resource to our clients.”

Thelen is a seasoned labor and employment lawyer who has worked both in private practice and as general counsel and chief legal officer at public and private higher education institutions. With his experience, he helps large public and private institutions understand how labor and employment practices and legal risk impact long-term institutional strategy and performance. Thelen provides legal advice and counsel and represents higher education institutions and other entities in state and federal labor relations matters and administrative hearings, union campaigns and representation, collective bargaining, board governance matters, and more.

Thelen’s previous higher education experience includes four years as associate dean for legal affairs and general counsel at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, as well as a stint as assistant general counsel and lobbyist for Western Michigan University. He also worked for more than a decade in private practice as a labor and employment lawyer at a large firm in Michigan, where he is still licensed to practice.

“Like so many other industries, higher education will face challenges and disruption over the next decade. Jim’s vast experience in higher education is impressive and encompasses all aspects of operating an institution in both the public and private sectors. He will be an excellent resource to counsel our clients and expand our work and service to colleges and universities as they confront legal challenges, manage risk, and develop long-term institutional strategies,” said Darren Gibson and Barbara Gross, co-chairs of Littler’s Higher Education industry group, in a joint statement.

Thelen earned his J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Western Michigan University.

About Littler

With more than 1,700 labor and employment attorneys in offices around the world, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere. Our diverse global team and proprietary technology foster a culture that celebrates original thinking, delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers for what’s happening today, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow.