(July 26, 2023) – Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, is proud to announce that shareholders Janell Ahnert (Birmingham), Jeff Nowak (Chicago) and Michael Royal (Dallas) have been elected as fellows in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers’ (CLEL) 2023 class. Ahnert, Nowak and Royal will be inducted at this year’s annual installation of fellows during the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s CLE Conference in Seattle on November 11, 2023.
“It is an honor to have Janell, Jeff and Michael join the group of Littler attorneys who serve as fellows in this distinguished organization,” said Erin Webber, Littler’s managing director and president. “Each of them continually demonstrates the leadership qualities, professionalism and exceptional client service the college requires of its fellows. On behalf of the firm, I congratulate them on this merited distinction.”
The CLEL is a nonprofit professional association honoring leading lawyers nationwide in the practice of labor and employment law. Fellows are recognized as prominent members of the labor and employment community who promote achievement, advancement and excellence in the practice. Election as a fellow is the highest recognition by one’s colleagues of sustained outstanding performance in the profession and a demonstration of integrity, dedication and skill.
Janell Ahnert's practice encompasses all facets of employment law, specifically in representation of management in both employment counseling and litigation. With licenses held in four states, she is able to serve her client’s needs in various legal forums, while handling a variety of employment law matters in state and federal courts. She has first-chair trial and arbitration experience, successfully defending statutory employment claims on behalf of employers. Ahnert also has over a decade of experience defending financial services clients in employment matters pending before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In this area, she represents broker-dealers and other financial services clients in FINRA industry disputes across the country. In addition to being a top-notch advocate, Ahnert is also a respected mediator. She is known for being able to combine empathetic listening with realistic cases and evaluate damages based on her extensive federal court litigation experience. Ahnert earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her B.A., cum laude, from the University of South Alabama.
Jeff Nowak has decades of experience advising and litigating on behalf of employers on a wide range of complex employment law matters, so they can run the most profitable business and efficient operations without being side-tracked by discrimination claims, strikes or other workplace issues. He is a recognized leader on Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act issues, helping employers develop comprehensive strategies to achieve compliance with employee leave and accommodation issues. Additionally, Nowak is co-chair of Littler’s Leaves of Absence and Disability Accommodation practice group and is the author of the highly regarded FMLA Insights blog, which has earned him entry into the ABA Journal’s Blogger Hall of Fame. Nowak earned his J.D., cum laude, from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and his B.A. from Indiana University.
Michael P. Royal has built a notable reputation over the last 30 years as a zealous advocate on behalf of regional, national and international clients in multiparty, complex and class action litigation matters. On behalf of employers, he handles matters involving allegations of breach of post-employment covenants, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference with contracts, wage and hour violations, wrongful discharge, whistleblowing and retaliation, harassment and discrimination, and other employment-related torts. Royal is a core member of Littler’s International Employment Law, Wage and Hour, and Contingent Workforce practice groups, and serves as the Texas coordinator and liaison for the firm’s Workplace Policy Institute. He is a frequent writer, commentator and lecturer on workplace issues before numerous organizations, such as the American Bar Association, International Bar Association, National CLE Conference, State Bar of Texas and the Employment Lawyers Association. Royal earned his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and his B.A. from the University of Oklahoma.
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.