NEW YORK (April 5, 2016) – Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has named Shareholders Philip Berkowitz and Jonathan Shapiro as co-chairs of the firm’s Financial Services Industry Group. Berkowitz is based in Littler’s New York City office and Shapiro is based in Littler’s New York City and Portland, Maine, offices.
“Phil and Jon have extensive knowledge and background working with financial services companies and we look forward to their leadership as we continue to represent clients who are faced with complex legal issues in this highly regulated industry,” said Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, Littler co-managing directors, in a joint statement.
With exclusive constraints imposed on the financial services industry by federal and state laws, and regulators such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and state regulatory authorities and self-regulatory organizations (SROs) such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS), financial services companies face growing complexities in navigating employment and labor law issues.
Legislators and regulators are imposing new and sometimes conflicting obligations concerning many aspects of the employment relationship, including the hiring process and involving the resolution of internal disputes. Further, the increasing focus on whistleblower claims, and the increasing remedies available to financial services employees pursuant to new and pending legislation, makes compliance ever more important – from the development of internal processes for investigating claims to resolving and, where necessary, defending whistleblower disputes. Also, in recent years, the role of compliance officers has become increasingly important, as employees in these positions more frequently surface whistleblower and discrimination cases.
“We look forward to leading the efforts of our Financial Services Industry Group,” added Berkowitz and Shapiro in a joint statement. “The industry continues to be an important focus area as financial services companies are increasingly subjected to unique and myriad legislation and regulation. We have a strong team in place to help clients navigate the complexities of the changing labor and employment landscape.”
Berkowitz and Shapiro actively represent a broad cross-section of financial services companies, including banks, credit unions, broker dealers, private equity firms, hedge funds, investment advisers, insurance companies and more. With deep-seated reputations in the industry, Berkowitz and Shapiro have each been recognized as leading employment lawyers for multiple consecutive years by prestigious legal ranking guides such as Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who Legal. Their financial services leadership also aligns well with other firm initiatives, including the Whistleblower, Corporate Compliance and International Practice Groups.
About Philip Berkowitz
In addition to his deep history advising financial services clients, Berkowitz counsels multinational and domestic companies in a wide range of industries on employment-related matters. His experience includes counsel and litigation for companies in discrimination and wage-and-hour enforcement actions, whistleblower lawsuits and arbitration. A regularly published thought leader and speaker on financial services issues and international employment law matters, Berkowitz also serves as U.S. co-chair of Littler’s International Employment Law Practice Group, vice chair of the IBA’s Discrimination and Equality Law Committee, and vice chair of the ABA’s International Employment Law Committee.
About Jonathan Shapiro
Shapiro has significant experience in employment, labor and employee benefits law and litigation. He regularly represents employers before state and federal courts across the U.S. in complex wage and hour misclassification and off-the-clock class and collective actions, as well as cases involving discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination, among other employment matters. Shapiro also provides counsel on a broad range of issues related to employment law compliance and managing a workforce, such as wage and hour compliance, exemption classification, payroll practices, personnel policies and practices, hiring and termination of employees, severance packages for executives, audits and investigations.
Littler is the largest global employment and labor law practice, with more than 1,000 attorneys in over 70 offices worldwide. Littler represents management in all aspects of employment and labor law and serves as a single-source solution provider to the global employer community. Consistently recognized in the industry as a leading and innovative law practice, Littler has been litigating, mediating and negotiating some of the most influential employment law cases and labor contracts on record for over 70 years. Littler Global is the collective trade name for an international legal practice, the practicing entities of which are separate and distinct professional firms.