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John D. Geelan

John D. Geelan

Complex Commercial Litigation Department
Head, Employment & Labor Practice

New York
T: +1 212 836 8121
F: +1 212 836 8689

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  • American University Washington College of Law
    JD, cum laude, 1990, Dean's Fellow, Moot Court
  • University of Notre Dame
    BA, 1986

Bar Admission(s)

  • New York


  • Bar Association of the City of New York

John D. Geelan is a partner in Kaye Scholer’s Complex Commercial Litigation Department and head of the firm’s Employment & Labor practice.

Mr. Geelan’s practice concentrates in representing clients in matters relating to all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including with respect to restrictive covenants, executive compensation, wage and hour issues, workplace misconduct, trade secrets and employment discrimination. Mr. Geelan has represented clients in complex litigations involving allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty, violations of wage and hour laws, theft of trade secrets and discriminatory employment practices.

In addition to representing corporate clients in individual law suits, Mr. Geelan has defended clients in class actions and actions brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He has also conducted internal investigations of employee misconduct, including breaches of fiduciary and financial impropriety.

Mr. Geelan has counseled companies on employment matters arising during business transactions, including strategies to retain key executives. He also counsels growth stage companies on a host of general legal matters, including formation, capital raising and liquidity events.

Most notably, Mr. Geelan received the Thurgood Marshall Award for his work in leading a team of Kaye Scholer lawyers in reducing a death sentence in Haney v. Alabama.

Representative Matters

  • Major financial services institution in ongoing commercial and employment matters.
  • International pharmaceutical company concerning compliance with employment laws.
  • Global spirits company in numerous commercial matters, including joint venture agreements and intellectual property disputes.
  • Private aviation company in ongoing transactional, commercial and employment matters.
  • Integrated energy company in employment matters.
  • National health and fitness company on numerous commercial matters.
  • Food and wellness company in various commercial matters, including transactions and trademark issues.
  • Multinational electronics manufacturing services company in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit against claims of alleged fraud..
  • Former CFO of a public company in the successful dismissal of a negligent misrepresentation case brought against the former CFO of a public company that went into bankruptcy due to fraud allegedly perpetrated by the company’s CEO.
  • Private investment firm and international banking and financial services holding company on labor, employment and ERISA issues associated with the operation of an acquired hotel.
  • Publishing subsidiary of a multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate against allegations of discrimination and violation of Title VII.


Law Clerk to Honorable A. Andrew Hauk, US District Court, Central District of California, 1990-91.