Adds expertise in class actions, financial services sector

Bill Dugan has joined Baker McKenzie's Employment & Compensation Practice as a Partner, bringing extensive employment litigation experience, particularly in class action defense.

Based in Chicago, Bill represents management in complex litigation in federal and state courts and other tribunals throughout the United States. Bill has defended a range of employers in numerous class and collective actions, and he frequently litigates against the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), defending clients against high-profile systemic cases.

"We are focused on further strengthening our employment counseling capabilities in the US, and Bill is a seasoned employment counselor and litigator who clients trust with contentious disputes," said George Avraam, Chair of the Firm's North America Employment & Compensation Practice. "Bill will be a key asset to many of our clients."

Bill joins the Firm from Seyfarth Shaw, where he served as Chair of Seyfarth's Financial Services Employment Arbitration Practice Group. He has represented clients in a range of high-profile class and collective actions, including successfully defending:

  • The largest gender pay and promotion sex discrimination action filed by the EEOC
  • The largest gender pay and promotion class arbitration in the US
  • A race pay and promotion class action against a significant not-for-profit
  • Title III class litigation involving hundreds of stores for a major retailer
  • Class action involving RICO, FLSA, and companion state law claims
  • Class actions involving independent insurance agents in the US

Bill also represents clients in the financial services industry, strategically forcing various plaintiffs to litigate their actions before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), achieving successful results before FINRA for some of the leading international financial institutions.

Baker McKenzie's Global Employment & Compensation Practice is one of the world's largest and most recognized employment practices, with more than 700 lawyers globally and more than 130 attorneys in North America focused on employment law. A recent BTI Consulting survey of corporate counsel named Baker McKenzie a "standout" law firm for complex employment litigation. In addition, Chambers Global has recognized the Firm's employment practice with a Band 1 ranking for eight consecutive years.

"Employment counseling continues to be an area of top concern for companies conducting business in the US, and Bill's decades of experience in this space will allow him to provide sophisticated advice to our clients around the world," said Guenther Heckelmann, Chair of the Firm’s Global Employment & Compensation Practice.

Added Rick Hammett, the Firm's Managing Partner in North America: "Bill is another great addition to the Firm as we further enhance our services throughout North America to better serve our clients. He joins a talented bench of employment practitioners in the US, and we are pleased to add him to the team."

Baker McKenzie has added more than 40 lateral partners in North America over the last two years, as it continues to strengthen its presence in key markets and practice areas. Bill joining the Firm follows the arrival of employment attorneys Arthur Rooney in Chicago, Kevin Whittaker in Palo Alto and Celina Joachim in Houston, as well as global equity lawyer Sinead Kelly in San Francisco.

"Baker McKenzie is a leading law firm on employment matters, making it an excellent fit for my practice," Bill said. "I look forward to working with the Firm's talented team to provide the best solutions for our clients when trial beckons."

Bill received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

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