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36th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor and Employment Law CLE

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Thank you for joining us for 36th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Labor and Employment Law CLE!


  • Jack E. Cohoon

    Jack E. Cohoon is Special Counsel at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, PA in Columbia, South Carolina. He has 14 years of experience helping clients find solutions to employment issues and other legal problems. Jack has successfully represented clients in trial and appellate courts and before many state and federal administrative agencies. In Jack’s previous position as a civil legal aid attorney at South Carolina Legal Services, he was named 2012 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year by the S.C. Supreme Court’s Access to Justice to Commission. Jack holds a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Georgia.

    Click here for more information about Jack.

  • Debbie W. Durban

    Debbie W. Durban is a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in Columbia, South Carolina. She practices in the areas of labor and employment law, ERISA, ADA compliance, trade secrets, and business litigation. Debbie defends employers against individual and class claims of employment discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin, disability, religion and sex, including sexual harassment; wage and hour claims, Family and Medical Leave act issues, enforceability of covenants not to complete, breach of employment contracts; retaliation; wrongful discharge; trade secrets, ERISA, and other employment-related suits. She is a member of the American Bar Association, South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association, Defense Research Institute and the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association. Debbie received her B.A. degree from the University of South Carolina and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Debbie.

  • Patrick H. "Pat" Flanagan

    Patrick H. "Pat" Flanagan is a partner with Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP in Charlotte. Pat currently serves as the Chair of the firm’s Municipalities & Public Entities Practice Group and Vice-Chair of the Employment Practice Group. Before joining CSH Law, Pat served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. He is a member of all United States District Courts in North Carolina, the Fourth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

    Litigating cases for almost 30 years, Pat focuses his practice on municipal law, civil rights and government liability defense, and the defense of employers, both public and private. He also defends various types of premises liability claims and claims against homeowners associations, community management groups and non-profit organizations.

    Pat has successfully defended public and private entities and individuals in numerous jury trials including wrongful termination; civil rights such as First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and excessive force; wrongful death; contract; defamation; breach of fiduciary duty; negligence; and premises liability.

    Pat is a member of the Dispute Resolution Institute (DRI), North Carolina Bar Association's Appellate Practice Section and the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys. He received his B.S. degree from St. Lawrence University and his J.D. degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Pat.

  • Warren V. Ganjehsani

    Warren V. Ganjehsani has been Chief Legal Counsel for the South Carolina Technical College System since 2018, and in this role he furnishes guidance to the System's sixteen institutions on personnel matters, student affairs, contracts, and a wide array of higher education issues. He spent five years as an Assistant Attorney General for the S.C. Attorney General's Office, where his duties included providing legal advice to the State Employee Grievance Committee during administrative hearings in which public employees challenged disciplinary action taken against them. Mr. Ganjehsani has also served as General Counsel for the S.C. Department of Public Safety and as a Labor Attorney with the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson. Previously, he handled a variety of litigation as an associate with law firms in Atlanta and Charleston, S.C.

    Mr. Ganjehsani is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He has been admitted to the South Carolina Bar since 1999 and the State Bar of Georgia since 2002.

    Click here for more information about Warren.

  • John W. Gresham

    John W. Gresham began his law practice in Charlotte in 1976 following two years of service as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge James B. McMillan in Charlotte. Gresham, as he is known to both colleagues and clients, was a partner with Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham & Sumter until joining Tin Fulton Walker & Owen in 2011. Gresham's practice focuses on employment and labor litigation, public employee rights, constitutional law, personal injury, and general civil litigation. Gresham has devoted a significant part of his career representing public school teachers and UNC employees. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for a decade in the areas of First Amendment and employment litigation, and as a Super Lawyer and Legal Elite by Business North Carolina in employment litigation and labor law. He continues to hold the AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale–Hubbell, first awarded over twenty years ago.

    John is a member of the North Carolina and Mecklenburg County Bar Associations. He graduated from Davidson College and Boston University School of Law, where he won the Bigelow Prize for greatest potential for scholarship and teaching and published a note in the Boston University Law Review on the employment rights of veterans. He has taught employment law and civil rights litigation at the Vermont Law School and Campbell Law School.

    Click here for more information about John.

  • Sean F. Herrmann

    Sean F. Herrmann is a partner with Herrmann & Murphy in Charlotte. Sean's entire career has been devoted to representing individuals in disputes with their current or former employers. He has represented workers in matters involving race, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, religious, and national origin discrimination; whistleblowing and retaliation; and hostile work environment and sexual harassment. He also handles cases related to workplace safety, wage and hour violations, and leaves of absences. Sean also works with clients on executive pay, non-compete agreements, and severance negotiations.

    Sean is licensed in both North and South Carolina, and he represents employees throughout both states. Sean is just as happy to take on employers in Raleigh-Durham or Charleston as he is those right in his backyard in Charlotte.

    Sean graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law. After graduating from Illinois, Sean moved to Charlotte and began representing employees the day after he was sworn into the bar. Sean gained valuable experience at one of North Carolina's top-rated plaintiffs-side employment law firms where Sean has won trial victories for clients in federal jury trials and arbitration.

    Click here for more information about Sean.

  • Eugene H. "Gene" Matthews

    Eugene H. "Gene" Matthews is a shareholder with Richardson Plowden & Robinson P.A. in Columbia, SC where he heads the firm's Employment Law Practice Group. He joined the firm in 2004.

    Mr. Matthews is certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a Specialist in Employment & Labor Law. He is also a certified mediator, and often mediates employment claims.

    From April 2000 to March 2004, Mr. Matthews was General Counsel and Deputy Director for the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS). From 1999 to 2000, he was Deputy Director for Labor at the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (LLR). Prior to state service, from 1995 to 1999, Mr. Matthews practiced law with Kilpatrick Stockton, L.L.P.

    Mr. Matthews has previously served as the Chairman of the South Carolina Bar’s Employment & Labor Law Section and has also served on the Employment & Labor Law Specialization Advisory Board of the S.C. Commission on CLE and Specialization. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar and North Carolina Bar.

    Mr. Matthews received his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Furman University, his M.A. degree in International Relations from Yale University, and his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Matthews served with the Central Intelligence Agency. In 2019, he retired as a Captain from the U.S. Navy Reserve.

    Click here for more information about Gene.

  • William J. "Bill" McMahon IV

    William J. "Bill" McMahon, IV is a partner with Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP in Winston-Salem. Bill represents and defends plan sponsors and employee benefit plans in connection with claims for denial of benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, and other miscellaneous relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). He is Co-Chair of Constangy's ERISA Litigation Practice Group and also teaches Employee Benefits & Pension Law (a course he created) at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law since 2010.

    Stemming from his unique accounting and philosophy undergraduate background, Bill takes an analytical approach to simplifying issues in cases that he handles, even drawing inspiration from some of his hobbies, including chess and Sherlock Holmes. In an era when very few cases actually go to trial, Bill nonetheless has significant trial experience, having represented clients in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts, including the United States Tax Court. This trial experience allows Bill to evaluate and handle a lawsuit working backwards from trial to focus at the very outset of a case on what witnesses and documents are important.

    Bill is a member of the American and North Carolina Bar Associations. He received his B.S. degree in Accounting, summa cum laude, from State University of New York in 2002 and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2005.

    Click here for more information about Bill.

  • Shannon R. Meares

    Shannon R. Meares is the Regional Attorney of the National Labor Relations Board. Shannon assists the Regional Director in the administration and enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    Shannon began her career with the NLRB at the Winston-Salem office immediately following graduation. Shannon served as a Field Attorney for the first 13 years of her career and then the Region promoted her to Supervisory Attorney. Shannon also served as the 10(j) Injunctive Relief Coordinator for the Nashville and Winston-Salem offices.

    Shannon is a transplant from the cornfields of the Midwest. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1997, with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. In 2000, she graduated from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

  • John T. Merrell

    John T. Merrell is a shareholder in the Greenville, SC office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC. He represents and counsels management on a range of labor and employment law issues, including preventive employment and labor law advice, drafting employment policies and procedures, advising clients on their rights and legal obligations involving union organizing activities, employee relations, training on positive employee relations and other aspects of labor and employment law and federal and state litigation involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, noncompetition covenants, and breach of employment agreements.

    John is a member of the American and Greenville County Bar Associations and the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys.

    John received his B.S. degree, cum laude, from Clemson University in 2003 and his J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2006.

    Click here for more information about John.

  • J. Griffin "Griff" Morgan

    J. Griffin "Griff" Morgan is a partner with Elliot Morgan Parsonage PLLC in Winston-Salem. His principal areas of practice are employment law, workers' compensation law, personal injury and civil rights. He is a Board-Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law. Since 1985, Griff has taught as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he currently teaches Workers' Compensation. He is a former Chair of the North Carolina Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association. He was a board member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, where he served as the founding Chair of the Employment Law Section and Chair of the Workers' Compensation Section. He is the former Chair of The North Carolina State Bar Workers' Compensation Specialty Committee.

    Griff frequently lectures at legal education seminars on employment law and workers' compensation. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America for Employment Law and Workers' Compensation. Recognized as a Super Lawyer and has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating of AV® Preeminent™.

    Girff received his B.A. degree from Denison University in 1972 and his J.D. degree from Antioch School of Law in 1975.

    Click here for more information on Griff.

  • Kevin P. Murphy

    Kevin P. Murphy is a partner with Herrmann & Murphy in Charlotte, North Carolina. He represents individuals in all types of employment disputes, including discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower actions, and sexual harassment and assault cases. Kevin serves on the Board for the North Carolina Advocates for Justice—North Carolina's trial lawyers association—and is the immediate past chair of the NCAJ's Employment Law Section. Kevin began private practice on the management-side labor at Littler Mendelson. Before that, Kevin served as a law clerk for the Hon. Robert J. Conrad, then Chief United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina and as a law clerk for the Hon. B. Avant Edenfield, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia in Savannah.

    Kevin graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was published as a member of the Georgia Law Review, decorated as a member of several award-winning moot court teams, and recognized by his peers with the Matlock Award for the attorney they would want representing them if ever in need. Kevin graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics and International Studies, where he led the undergraduate mock trial program, founded an annual mock trial tournament, and interned with the Global Education Center.

    Click here for more information about Kevin.

  • Joseph S. "Joe" Murray, IV

    Joseph S. "Joe" Murray, IV is Senior Legal Counsel, Labor and Employment, at Circle K in Charlotte. He is a member of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

    Joe received his B.S. degree in Business from Virginia Tech – Pamplin College of Business in 1998 and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2005.

    Click here for more information about Joe.

  • Trisha S. Pande

    Trisha S. Pande is an attorney at Patterson Harkavy LLP in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She primarily represents employees and labor unions. Trisha also contributes to Patterson Harkavy's civil rights practice. Before joining Patterson Harkavy, Trisha was Assistant General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC. Trisha received her B.A. degree from Brown University and her J.D. degree from George Washington University Law School.

    Click here for more information about Trisha.

  • J. Paul Porter

    J. Paul Porter is an employment lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina where he practices with the law firm of Cromer Babb Porter & Hicks, LLC.

    Paul is a certified specialist in employment and labor law. He also serves as the employment law section chair for the South Carolina Association of Justice.

    His practice involves litigating federal discrimination claims, state statutory claims relating to employee rights and pay, and tort and contract claims typically on behalf of the worker. Paul has argued appeals involving employment law issues at the South Carolina Court of Appeals, South Carolina Supreme Court, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Paul has also tried employment law cases to a verdict in both state and federal court.

    Paul is a member of the American, South Carolina and Richland County Bar Associations. Paul graduated from Presbyterian College in three years with two degrees (Spanish and Political Science), with honors, in 2009. He next attended the University of South Carolina School of Law where he was a recipient of the William L. Bethea Jr. Scholarship and was a member of the Moot Court Bar. Paul graduated from USC Law in 2012.

    Click here for more information about Paul.

  • Catherine Sanders Reach

    Catherine Sanders Reach is Director for the Center for Practice Management at the North Carolina Bar Association, providing practice technology and management assistance to lawyers and legal professionals. Formerly she was Director, Law Practice Management and Technology for the Chicago Bar Association and the Director at the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center.

    Prior to her work at the NCBA, CBA and ABA she worked in library and information science environments for a number of years, working at Ross and Hardies as a librarian. She received a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 1997.

    Catherine's professional activities include articles published in Law Practice magazine, Law Technology News and GPSolo Magazine, as well as numerous other publications. She has given presentations on the use of technology in law firms for national bar conferences, state and local bar associations and organizations such as the National Association of Bar Council and the Association of American Law Schools. In 2011 she was selected to be one of the inaugural Fastcase 50, celebrating fifty innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the field of law and in 2013 became Professionalism for New Attorneys (PNA) a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She served on the ABA TECHSHOW Board from 2007-2009, 2014-2016 and is co-vice chair in 2019.

    Click here for more information about Catherine. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • Janet E. Rhodes

    Janet E. Rhodes is a partner with Burnette Shutt & McDaniel PA in Columbia, SC. As a seasoned litigator, she represents clients in a range of discrimination and other employment law cases in South Carolina and federal courts. She's handled matters involving the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She's fought for clients in cases involving age discrimination, equal pay, wrongful termination, and wage disputes. Janet also has represented clients in cases involving military employment USERRA rights and in contract disputes, including those involving non-compete agreements.

    A native of Ninety-Six in Greenwood County, South Carolina, Janet chairs the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the South Carolina Bar Employment and Labor Law Section. She's also a member of the Planning Committee for Sherwood Forest of SC, a local charity.

    She earned her bachelor's degree in government at Wofford College, where she was a true Renaissance woman. She excelled in academics, athletics, and the arts.

    She graduated magna cum laude, studying abroad in London. She also was an NCAA Division I competitor in javelin, setting school records as she earned MVP and all-conference honors. Additionally, she performed with three vocal groups, the Wofford Singers, the Wofford Show Choir, and the Gold Tones, an eight-woman acapella ensemble.

    After her time at Wofford, Janet studied at the Charleston School of Law. After completing her Juris Doctor there, she clerked for the Hon. J. Ernest Kinard, Fifth Circuit Court.

    Click here for more information about Janet.

  • Paul E. Smith

    Paul E. Smith is a partner with Patterson Harkavy LLP in Chapel Hill. Paul primarily represents employees, labor unions, and the victims of police misconduct. He is also an integral member of Patterson Harkavy's civil rights and appellate practice. He is active in the North Carolina Bar Association Labor and Employment Section and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

    A native of Kinston, Paul graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2007 and from Columbia Law School in 2012, where he was a Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan Fellow and a James Kent Scholar. While in law school, he worked for the North Carolina ACLU, won Columbia's internal moot court competition, and acted as a research assistant for Professor Nathaniel Persily's work in election law and redistricting. Before joining Patterson Harkavy, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable N. Carlton Tilley in the Middle District of North Carolina.

    Click here for more information about Paul.

  • Ashley C. Story

    Ashley C. Story is a partner with White & Story, LLC in Columbia, SC, where she represents primarily school districts and public entities, and a majority of her practice involves employment law.

    Before partnering with Andrea White to form White & Story, LLC, in April of 2017, Ashley began advising local school districts and public agencies during her tenure at Duff, White & Turner, LLC. She provides counsel on a variety of topics ranging from employment and personnel matters to student disciplinary concerns and tort issues. Additionally, Ashley enjoys connecting with her clients and others by presenting on various legal topics at conferences throughout the state.

    Ashley previously practiced employment law with J. Lewis Cromer & Associates, LLC, for four years, gaining experience in both federal and state employment issues by representing employees in both the private and public sectors, giving her a unique perspective on defending potential employment claims and providing legal advice as it concerns personnel matters. She has experience in both state and federal courts and is familiar with various administrative processes, including state employee grievance procedures and teacher dismissals. Ashley also thoroughly enjoys her civil litigation work. She is an active member of the Richland County Bar Association as President Elect and works frequently with Project HELP, which enables attorneys to provide free legal advice to Columbia's homeless population.

    Prior to graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in May of 2012, Ashley served as a Public Interest Law Fellow and clerked with South Carolina Legal Services and Richland County CASA. Ashley was actively involved with various law school extracurricular activities; she was a competing member of the Mock Trial Bar, served as Vice President of the Pro Bono Board, and was a member of the Black Law Student Association.

    Click here for more information about Ashley.

  • Laura J. Wetsch

    Laura J. Wetsch is a partner in the Raleigh firm of Winslow Wetsch PLLC. She is the author of A Practitioner's Guide to North Carolina Employment Law, and co-author of the North Carolina chapter in the ABA's Employment at Will: A State-By-State Survey.

    Laura has previously served as the Chair of the NCBA Labor & Employment Law Section, and the Chair of the NCAJ Employment Law Section, and has been named to Best Lawyers in America, N.C. Super Lawyers, N.C. Super Lawyers' Top 50 Women Lawyers, and N.C. Legal Elite.

    Laura was born in Fargo, ND, raised in Minot and Bismarck, ND, married a guy from Killdeer, ND, and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1985 – in that order. After law school she was a federal law clerk and then practiced law in North Dakota until 1991 when she and her family moved to North Carolina (the other Great North State).

    Click here for more information about Laura.

  • Sheila M. Willis

    Sheila M. Willis is an associate of Fisher Phillips in Columbia, South Carolina. Sheila is committed to finding practical, real world solutions to her clients' employment law needs. She represents companies—large and small—as they navigate employment issues related to hiring, discipline, investigations, employment discrimination, unemployment, and other related issues. Sheila provides guidance to higher education institutions on Title IX Compliance and investigations. She has extensive experience providing compliance advice to federal contractors on affirmative action and OFCCP regulations and audits. Sheila also has extensive experience working on collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and class actions under wage and hour state laws. Sheila also provides training for supervisors and managers on harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance, the Family Medical Leave Act, diversity and inclusion, and many other areas.

    Sheila serves on the Board of Directors for Columbia – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the board of the National Conference of Women's' Bar Associations. Sheila is active in the Richland County Bar, American Bar Association, and is a member of the Junior League of Columbia.She received her B.S. degree from the University of South Carolina in 2005 and her J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2011.

    Click here for more information about Sheila.

October 30, 2020
Fri 7:55 AM EDT

Duration 8H 25M

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