Jay W. Waks has over 42 years of experience, all with Kaye Scholer. He was a partner (1981-2014) until he stepped down under the terms of the Partnership Agreement, where he served as Special Counsel, continuing in its Employment and Labor Law practice of which he was chair for over 25 years.
- Past Chair of Kaye Scholer’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group.
- Immediate past chair of Kaye Scholer’s Employment & Labor Law practice.
- Past member of Kaye Scholer’s International practice group, Asia Pacific practice group.
- Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Inc.
- Life Fellow of the ABA Foundation.
- Member, Board of Directors, International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute).
- Chair, Employment Committee of the CPR Institute; featured, “Raising the Bar Through Engagement,” CPR’s 2011 Annual Report.
- Past Chairman (2002–04), Board of Directors (succeeding Jerome M. Rosow, Founder, and Clark Kerr, former Chancellor, Univ. of California), and member of Executive Committee with Thomas R. Donahue, former Secretary-Treasurer & Interim President, AFL-CIO, of the Work In America Institute, Inc., an organization that, for a quarter century, brought together national leaders of industry, labor, government, NGOs and academia, with the goal of making the U.S. more productive and competitive in today’s global economy.
- General Counsel and Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.
- Vice President of the Federal Bar Council; FBC Executive Committee and past Chair (5 years) of FBC’s Programs Committee; Sustaining Member; past Vice President, Federal Bar Foundation.
- Elected Member, The American Law Institute.
- Advisor, The American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Third – Employment Law.
- Past Chair, Committee on Labor and Employment Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
- Past Chair, New York State Bar Association’s Special Committee on Age Discrimination in the Profession; NYSBA’s Empire State Counsel.
- Peer ranked in top band of labor and employment lawyers in New York by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2003–2013; Senior Statesman 2014-2015.
- Named among “The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” by Human Resource Executive, 2008–2010, 2012-2013.
- Ranked among the nation’s top 25 labor and employment lawyers in “The Best of the Best USA” 2007 and 2009 by Euromoney.
- Profiled by The American Lawyer (November 2002) in its “Top of the Docket” column for his success in a high-profile public sector case, also featured in its “Big Suits” column.
- Featured by The National Law Journal in its July 27, 1992 article, titled “Among Nation’s Best Litigators in Employment Law — A National Who’s Who of the Top Lawyers in Employment Law.”
- Representative matters:
- Groundbreaking 2002, 2005 and 2008 victories in public sector cases, resulting in awards totaling well over $2 billion; leadership of Kaye Scholer litigation team featured in June 27, 2008 New York Law Journal and November 2002 American Lawyer.
- Representation of state controller in lawsuit over application of FLSA’s minimum wage when state legislature fails to enact fiscal year budget.
- Representation of state public benefit corporation in regard to concessionary bargaining with labor unions during federal Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings.
- Mediator in Ansoumana, et al. v. Gristedes, et al., S.D.N.Y. No. 00Civ.0253 (Alvin K. Hellerstein, U.S.D.J.) (FLSA and NYS collective/class action for non-payment of minimum wages and overtime, additional statutory payments and attorney’s fees.)
- Representation of financial and entertainment firms in pursuing “faithless servant” claims against former COO and CEO, respectively.
- Representation of national media industry leader in connection with union’s tactics during national organizing campaign.
- Dismissals of federal and state discrimination class and FLSA-based collective actions.
- Representation in connection with reorganization of French bank’s subsidiary in U.S. and potential arbitration.
- Representation of Australian financial firm in separation of venture capital group.
- Dismissals of NLRB charges attacking national client’s unilateral promulgation and enforcement of nation-wide performance rules.
- Representation of interests of senior executive aligned with major international financial services firm in SOX whistleblower retaliation case.
- Successes in risk management and liability avoidance arising from reductions-in-force of corporate clients and NGOs.
- Decision of Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the federal preemption dismissal of fraud claims in S.D. Ohio suit brought on behalf of unionized former workers of an international client’s closed manufacturing facility.
- Lead national counsel in resolving contentious national and local labor negotiations in security industry.
- Dismissal of restrictive covenant breach suit brought against a corporate client and key employee who had been fired without cause by a competitor.
- Cutting-edge dismissals in employment arbitration of nationwide FLSA collective action against financial services client and entertainment client.
- Noteworthy dismissal of alleged whistleblower retaliation case under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, cited in the New York Law Journal.
- Dismissal of NLRB unfair labor practice case already scheduled for hearing by developing the dispositive “futility” defense that this international communications client had not previously argued, saving this client well over $80 million.
- Chair, Federal Bar Council’s 40th Annual Winter Bench & Bar Conference (2008).
- Recipient, 2010 Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, Cornell University’s highest.
- Recipient, 2007 Cornell University Citation; the 2007 Freedom Tower award, only the second to be given, of the Dean of Cornell Law School; Cornell Law School’s 2010 Exemplary Public Service Award.
- Recipient, 2007 Judge William B. Groat Award for “exceptional professional accomplishment,” bestowed by Cornell University’s ILR School.
- President, Cornell Association of Class Officers (2013–), also serving on Committee on Alumni Affairs of Cornell’s Board of Trustees, Administrative Board of the Cornell University Council, and the Cornell Alumni Association Board; previously VP, Diversity and Inclusion.
- Chair of the Cornell University Council (2005–2007); Life Member of Cornell University Council; former Chair, Admissions & Financial Aid Committee; member of CU Council’s HR Advisory Committee; member, 2009 CUC Strategic Advisory Board.
- Chair, Advisory Council of the Cornell Law School (2004–2007) (member, 1997–present), and past Visiting Committees.
- Co-Chair, Cornell University’s Metro-NYC Regional Annual Fund Campaign, 2009–present.
- Organized Kaye Scholer support of Cornell Black Alumni Association’s annual campaign to endow Cornell Tradition Fellowships and scholarships and to assist Cornell in its diversity initiatives (1998–2010); recognized “for his steadfast dedication to and support of CBAA’s mission and goals” at its 2002 Annual Holiday Benefit.
- Past National Chair, Cornell Law School Annual Fund (2001–2004).
- Founding Member, Board of Advisors, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution, Cornell University, ILR School.
- Member, Advisory Council of Cornell University’s ILR School (2002–present).
- Endowment of Harriet S. and Jay W. Waks Scholarship Fund, Cornell Law School.
- Establishment of The Waks Family Fund for International Education and Research at Cornell University’s ILR School.
- National Co-Chair, Dean’s Special Leadership Committee, Cornell Law School (1996–2001).
- Profiled in the Spring 2004 issue of the Cornell Law Forum, http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/pdfs/Spring2004Forum.pdf.
- J.W. Waks, N.L. Vanderlip and D.B. Lipsky, eds. Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes. (CPR Inst. and Cornell’s Scheinman Institute), 2014.
- Speaker, “The Reach of Bilateral Arbitration Agreements and Waivers of Aggregate Actions: Has Class Been Dismissed by the Latest Supreme Court Trilogy of AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, Stolt-Nielsen v. AnimalFeeds and CompuCredit v. Greenwood?” at 2012 annual meeting of National Finance Industry Employment Law Committee in NYC; at 2012 ACI 3rd Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation in NYC; at 2011 and 2012 ACI 13th (San Francisco) and 15th (NYC) National Forums on Wage and Hour Claims and Class Actions; at 2012 NYS Management Attorney Conference in Ithaca, NY; at 2012 Federal Bar Council Winter Bench and Bar Conference in Kona, Hawaii.
- Organized Federal Bar Council’s 2012 Winter Bench and Bar Conference on “Times of Crisis: When Law, Business, Government and Media Collide.”
- Speaker, “Class Actions and Arbitration: Assessing Current and Future Practice After AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion,” 2012 Cornell’s Scheinman Institute and American Arbitration Association.
- Speaker, ABCNY’s “Executive Pay: Kenneth Feinberg and Leading Practitioners Address Lessons Learned From the Past and Best Practices for the Future,” (2010).
- Cornell Law School/Entrepreneurial Network’s Webinar Featured Speaker, “Ahead of the Curve — Resolving Statutory (and other) Workplace Discrimination Claims in Arbitration Under Collectively Bargained Agreements,” October 20, 2009.
- Speaker, National Academy of Arbitrators plenary session, on application of external law to labor arbitration after 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, May 23, 2009.
- Speaker, on implications of U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, at Cornell University ILR School’s Institute for Workplace Studies, June 11, 2009.
- Speaker, “Reflections of a U.S. Management-Side Labor/Employment Lawyer on International Labor Education and the Lessons for China,” Cornell University, ILR School, Conference on “Breaking Down Chinese Walls: The Changing Face of Labor & Employment in China,” September 26, 2008.
- Guest Lecturer, “Cross Cultural Aspects of Negotiation of Business Matters,” Cornell Law School (Fall Term, November 21–22, 2008).
- Member, NYSBA Special Committee that issued the 2007 Report on Mandatory Retirement in the Profession; Committee Chair, 2007–2008.
- Delivered L. Kevin Becraft Lecture (April 2003), Cornell University, ILR School’s Institute for Workplace Studies.
- Guest lecturer, “The Law of Workplace Diversity,” Cornell University’s ILR School (2000–2001).
- Invited to join faculty as Practitioner-in-Residence of the Cornell Law School.
- Keynote speaker, Cornell Law School’s Fourth Tradition of Excellence Symposium on “Sexual Harassment in the Law Office” (1994).
- Chair, Cornell Law School’s Class of 1971 20th Reunion Campaign; 30th, 35th and 40th Reunions & Campaign Chair.
- Co-Chair, Major Gifts Committee, Cornell University Class of 1968’s 35th, 40th and 45th Reunion Campaigns; Class of ’68 Officer.
- Panelist, Federal Bar Council programs in the Second Circuit on Equal Employment Opportunity Law; on Mandatory Arbitration of Civil Rights Claims; on Principles of Employment Discrimination Law; on The Law and Practice of Mandatory Retirement in the Profession in October 2009; on Latest Developments in Employment Litigation.
- Chair, Discussion with Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s Pay Czar, at Special Meeting of National Finance Industry Employment Law Committee, Fall 2009.
- Chair, CPR Institute’s Employment Committee Special Meeting with Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama Administration’s Pay Czar, January 14, 2010.
- Federal Bar Council’s Training Program on Employment Discrimination Litigation for Law Clerks to Judges of the Second Circuit and U.S. District Court for the Southern, Northern and Western Districts of New York (2000, 2004, 2006).
- Faculty, ABCNY’s Training Program for Law Clerks & Court Attorneys of the Supreme Court, New York County (2001).
- Invited participant, The Legal Leadership Summit of the American Corporate Counsel Association, 1996–99.
- Featured Commentator on Employment Law developments over the past 25 years, in “The Expert’s Eye” column of the 25th anniversary issue of The National Law Journal, October 20, 2003.
- Co-Moderator, “Is The Brave New World Of Employment ADR Right For My Company?” at The ADR Superconference: Strategies To Insure Profitability, sponsored by the American Arbitration Association and Forbes magazine, 1997.
- Panelist, among six nationally recognized outside defense counsel, and presenter to the Advisory Committee, convened by the NASD and NASD Regulation, Inc. to consider issues relating to arbitration of statutory employment discrimination claims in the securities industry, Washington, DC, 1997.
- Advisor to separate blue ribbon task forces of the NYSE and NASD, assessing arbitration of employment disputes in the securities industry (1994–95).
- “Business Watch”/“Corporate Brief” Columnist of The National Law Journal (beginning in 1991).
- Past Chair, Advisory Panel on Employment Litigation of the New York City Partnership/Chamber of Commerce.
- Editorial Board & contributor, New York Employment Law & Practice (1999–2004).
- Co-author, “Stolt-Nielsen, Silence and Class Arbitration: ‘Same As It Ever Was,’” 29 Alternatives (December 2011) (CPR Institute).
- Co-author, “Challenging AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: Employment Class Action Waivers and Federal Statutory Rights,” AAA’s Dispute Resolution Journal (February–April, 2012).
- Co-author, “Class Waivers & Statutory Rights in the Post-AT&T Mobility World: ‘Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water,’” 30 Alternatives (April 2012) (CPR Institute).
- Contributing author, Kaye Scholer LLP Deskbook on Internal Investigations, Corporate Compliance and White Collar Issues (PLI 2007 and updates).
- Author, “Employment Discrimination,” in the Kaye Scholer LLP Class Action Deskbook (2005 and 2012 update).
- Co-author (with Prof. David Lipsky) “Labor Law ... ‘14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett,’” The National Law Journal, January 12, 2009, explaining that labor arbitration is hospitable to statutory claims and deserves the Supreme Court’s backing.
- Author, “Geopositional Tracking of Work Makes Sense, and Non-Work Outside, Lawful Activities Generally Are of Little Interest to Employers ...,” in the Newsletter of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fall 2008.
- Co-author, “Class/Collective Arbitration of Employment Disputes: An Oxymoron or a Matter of Contract?” Alternatives, the publication of the CPR International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Resolution (October 2006).
- Co-author, “Employment Law ... 9th Cir. ‘Hardage’ Ruling,” The National Law Journal, January 16, 2006, discussing impact of cases where harassment victim rebuffs intervention by company.
- Co-author, “Disparate-Impact Theory and the Reasonableness Defense: ADEA Litigation After Smith v. City of Jackson” (March 30, 2005), at www.kayescholer.com.
- Co-author, “Disparate-Impact Theory: The Square Peg Just Does Not Fit ADEA Litigation,” in ABA Section of Litigation, Employment & Labor Relations Newsletter, Spring 2005.
- Author, “Model Employee Invention, Noncompetition and Confidentiality Agreement,” in Business Laws, Inc.’s Employment Law Counselor.
- Co-author, “Mediation, Arbitration and Other ADR Programs,” Ch. 39, in M. Rossein, ed., Employment Law Deskbook for Human Resource Professionals (West, 2001).
- Co-author, “Legal Issues Relating to Condition of Employment Plans,” Ch. 7 in ADR in Employment Law (ABA L&EL Section/BNA exp. 2007).
- Speaker, “Enforcement of Mandatory Arbitration of Statutory Claims Under Arbitration Clause of Collective Bargaining Agreement: Management-Side Perspective of 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett (cert. granted, U.S. Supreme Court, February 19, 2008),” at NY Regional Conference of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, May 12, 2008.
- Faculty, PLI’s 30th Annual Conference on Litigating Employment Discrimination Claims, speech on “Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation Programs: Litigation and Arbitration of Employment Class Actions,” June 16, 2008.
- Faculty, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, speech on “Employment Class Action Issues in Arbitration,” January 18, 2008.
- National Finance Industry Employment Law Committee, delivered remarks on “Mandatory Arbitration of Statutory Discrimination and Other Employment Claims under Collective Bargaining Agreements,” “The American Law Institute’s Restatement Third, Employment Law Project,” May 21, 2008 and on other cutting-edge employment law topics (also delivered remarks on the mandatory arbitration topic at the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, NY Region, May 12, 2008).
- Faculty, American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, speech on “Antidiscrimination Law with Respect to Employees in Germany and the US — A Transnational Challenge,” in Frankfurt, June 19, 2007.
- Faculty, New York State Bar Association conference, “Women on the Move,” speech on “Mentoring,” April 26, 2007.
- Cornell University’s Institute for Workplace Studies, speech on “New Mechanisms for Resolving Workplace Conflict,” New York City, May 31, 2007.
- Faculty, National Academy of Arbitrators Conference on “Beyond the Protocol: The Future of Due Process in Workplace Dispute Resolution,” Chicago-Kent College of Law, April 13, 2007.
- Faculty, ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law’s ADR in Labor & Employment Law Committee Midwinter Meeting, Naples, Florida, February 12, 2007, “Class Action Issues in Arbitration & Mediation.”
- Faculty, “The Ultimate Arbitration Update,” a four-hour seminar broadcast live by the American Bar Association via satellite to over 80 locations in the United States and abroad (December 9, 2003).
- Faculty, AmLaw/Law Journal Seminars’ Annual General Counsel Conference (1988–2004), and past Chair, Annual Employment Law and Litigation Conference.
- Faculty, Practising Law Institute’s Conference on Utility Restructuring, presentation on “Keeping Utility Executives in Line: Employment Restrictions in a Mobile Economy” (1998–2004).
- Faculty, Law Education Institute, ABA Labor & Employment Law Section and BNA books, National CLE Conference on Employment and Labor Law, in Colorado (1998–2004) .
- Faculty, Glasser LegalWorks’ Annual Conference on Litigation & Resolution of Complex Class Actions (1999–2003), and former Co-Chair & faculty, Employment Class Action Institute.
- Faculty, 2004 ABA Annual Meeting, presentation on “Disqualification of Counsel” in “Emerging Issues in ADR Ethics in Labor & Employment”; 2003 ABA Annual Meeting, presentation on “Employment Law Arbitration” for the ABA program “The Ultimate Arbitration Update: Drafting, Attacking and Defending Arbitration Clauses and Emerging Jurisdictional Issues”; 2002 ABA Annual Meeting, presentation on “Class Certification in EEO and FLSA Actions”; 2001 ABA Annual Meeting, presentation on “Circuit City [2001 Supreme Court case upholding FAA enforcement under most employment contracts]: Where Do We Go From Here?”; 1998 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor & Employment Law, presentation on “Outlook for Employment ADR Towards the Year 2000: How Alive & Well is Gilmer and Corporate ADR Systems?”
- Faculty, Southwestern Legal Foundation’s 45th Annual Institute on Labor & Employment Law, presentation on “The Resolution of the ‘Big Case’ — Strategies-Settlement Negotiations-Settlement Agreements-Decrees.”
- Co-author, “Smith v. City of Jackson,” in the Employment Law column of The National Law Journal (January 31, 2005, discussing application of disparate impact theory).
- Co-author, “A New York Perspective on Workplace Spam,” American Lawyer’s New York Employment Law & Practice (August 2003); commentary, “Spam at Work Gets Another Look” (February 2004).
- Co-author, “Workplace Rights of Domestic Violence Victims,” American Lawyer’s New York Employment Law & Practice (February 2004).
- Co-author, “Bankruptcy/WARN Act” in the “Employment Law” column of The National Law Journal (April 26, 2004), discussing recent cases holding that majority owners of a company or its major lenders could be directly liable for violations of the WARN Act (or other employment laws).
- Co-author, “Free to Agree? If Supreme Court Stumbles, Arbitration Agreements for Employment Disputes Could Be Knocked Out,” Legal Times, January 8, 2001.
- Co-author, “U.S. Supreme Court Limits Application of the ‘Continuing Violation’ Theory” (August 2002), “Recent Federal and State Decisions Reject the ‘Continuing Violation’ Theory” (December 2001), “A Chill in the Air — EEOC Tender-Back Regulations Apply to Negotiated Releases” (March 2001), and “Federal Judges Recognize Growing Trend of Dubious Workplace Discrimination Claims” (March 2000), in New York Employment Law & Practice.
- Co-author, “Disparate Impact and the ADEA: A Viable Transplant?” The National Law Journal, November 5, 2001.
- Co-author, “The ADA and Health Insurance,” The National Law Journal, August 14, 2000.
- Co-author, “Employment Law ... Use and Misuse of Statistics,” The National Law Journal, April 17, 2000.
- Advisory Board to Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights (1990–94).
- Charter member and past conference faculty, American Employment Law Council.
- Faculty, Law Journal Seminars’ “Conference on Employment Litigation Strategies & Solutions,” presentation on “Preventing, Prosecuting and Defending Sexual Harassment Claims After the 1997–1998 Supreme Court Term” (1998).
- Board of Advisors, Employment Law Counselor, Thomson/West.
- Editor-in-Chief, Law Office Employment Bulletin — Compliance and Litigation, published by Leader Publications of The New York Law Publishing Company (1993–95).
- Executive Editor, Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report, Leader Publications of The New York Law Publishing Company (1995–96).
- Member, American Bar Association and its Section of Litigation (International Litigation Committee; ADR Committee; Employment & Labor Relations Law Committee); Section of Labor and Employment Law (Committee on Individual Rights and Responsibilities; ADR Committee; Committee on International Law).
- Associate Member, The State Bar of California, and its Labor and Employment Law Section.
- Member, New York State Bar Association, and its Labor and Employment Law Section, Litigation Section (Former Member, Executive Committee; Past Co-Chair, Employment ADR Committee; past Chair, Special Committee on Age Discrimination in the Profession).
- Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York (past committees: Labor & Employment (Chair, 1990–93); Advisory Committee on ADR; Sex & Law; Municipal Affairs (Secretary)).
- Member, International Society of Labor and Social Security Law.
- Member, Labor & Employment Relations Association (formerly, IRRA).
- Member, American Arbitration Association’s Employment Advisory Board, 1999.
- Member, National Finance Industry Employment Law Committee
- Firm representative: CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution.
- Highly Recommended Labour and Employee Benefits practitioner in New York, 2003/04 edition of Global Counsel 3000.
- Listed over the years in: Martindale-Hubbell (AV–highest peer review rating); Chambers USA; Marquis Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in American Law; Law Business Research Ltd’s International Who’s Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers; Who’s Who Legal — The Int’l Who’s Who of Business Lawyers; whoswholegal.com; Mondaq’s Guide to The World’s Leading Labour & Employment Advisors; Euromoney’s Guide to The World’s Leading Labour & Employment Lawyers; Best Lawyers.
Mr. Waks was Chair of Kaye Scholer’s ADR practice and immediate past Chair of its Employment & Labor Law practice founded by the late Frederick R. Livingston in 1947. He was respected for his defense of U.S. and international companies and was known for his successes in high-profile public sector cases. In 2012, Chambers USA 10th edition noted that Mr. Waks is “regarded as ‘a dean of the Bar.’” It also described his “distinguished career” in advising employers and his “recently presid[ing] over the defense of retaliation cases in the financial services industry.” Chambers 2014 reported on Mr. Waks having been “singled out by one client as ‘one of the preeminent employment experts in the country.’”
The 2004 Chambers USA Guide reported: “Recommended to Chambers’ researchers as a firm with a ‘really positive atmosphere,’ [Kaye Scholer’s] labor and employment practice group has recently handled a number of substantial class actions involving age and sex discrimination, plant closures and wage and hour issues .... Peers attribute much of the group’s prestige to Jay Waks, the cochair [sic] of the employment department. He was renowned for his discrimination and alternative dispute resolution work and for his skill in negotiating executive compensation packages. Leading market figures characterized him as an attorney who ‘knows the law, chapter and verse.’” In its 2004–05 rankings, Chambers added: “[Kaye Scholer’s] labor and employment group is seen as ‘high-powered,’ and is respected for cases such as the defense of class action suits pertaining to race, religion and ethnicity discrimination. Emphasis is also placed on alternative dispute resolution ... Jay Waks, chair of the labor and employment group, garnered plaudits for his ‘intellectual grasp and experience’ as well as his ‘street-smart’ approach. In 2003 the team won its first dismissal of an alleged violation on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The claim concerned disclosure of controversial management practices.” Kaye Scholer’s Employment practice also was given highest marks in terms of “service, quality and value” in American Lawyer’s 1995 listing, based on its poll of in-house counsel.
The 2005 Chambers commented that Kaye Scholer’s Employment practice is “traditionally thought of as a ‘powerhouse’ in employment litigation” and that “the firm has seen a rise in traditional labor work and counseling. It serves a raft of foreign clients with interests in the USA, advising on union organization and compliance matters. It maintains a reputation for ‘high-quality’ work .... Chair of employment and labor law Jay Waks is a highly regarded name about town.”
The 2006 Chambers referred to Kaye Scholer’s Employment practice as a “highly regarded” group that scored some decisive victories in 2005. Foremost among these was winning an unprecedented $700 million in pay for the police officers of the City of New York. Other highlights include carrying out corporate board investigations for a major regional energy company, and successfully defending a national financial services company in arbitration against a collective action. The publication called Mr. Waks “[k]nowledgeable, responsive and practical.”
The 2007 Chambers described Jay Waks as a “terrifically bright lawyer,” described by clients as “extremely knowledgeable, easygoing and accommodating.” For the fourth consecutive year, Chambers ranked Mr. Waks #1 among New York’s leading defendant-side employment lawyers.
The 2008 Chambers notes that Mr. Waks is “‘fantastic’ for both labor and employment matters” and in “strategizing for collective bargaining, as well as litigating.”
The 2009 Chambers added: “A leader of the New York Bar, Waks is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to labor law.”
The 2010 Chambers noted that Mr. Waks is highly “recommended in Labor and Employment” matters and is well “respected for his defense of US and international companies in labor negotiations and related proceedings.” The publication went on to call Mr. Waks a “leader in arbitration and dispute resolution” as well.
Mr. Waks has over 42 years of experience, all with Kaye Scholer, representing major U.S., Canadian, Latin American, Asian, Australian and European companies in a broad range of employment and labor relations litigations, negotiations and arbitrations, and compliance matters affecting their business interests in the U.S. and abroad. He concentrated on complex employment rights, discrimination, benefits, fair labor standards and SOX and other whistleblower retaliation litigation, including defense of collective or representative actions, formulation of employment policies (including sexual harassment avoidance and glass ceiling, family leave, ADA, substance abuse, workplace surveillance and privacy matters), executive employment and termination matters and investigations, trade secret and restrictive covenant agreements and their enforcement in court and before alternative tribunals, employment arbitration, independent contractor agreements and governmental audits, resolution of employment law and benefits problems arising from corporate reorganizations and workforce reductions, employment legislation, government contract compliance, collective bargaining and arbitration, alternatives to litigation of employment and other business disputes, preventive employee relations programs, international labor and employment matters, and practice before the NLRB, EEOC, OSHA, U.S. Labor Department, and state and city regulatory agencies.
Mr. Waks has represented U.S. and international clients in virtually every business sector, both public and private, including: aviation & aerospace; apparel; autos; audio-visuals; broadcasting; chemicals; communications; construction and maintenance; consulting; cosmetics; defense and national security; e-commerce; education (private primary, secondary and university); electronics; emergency services; energy; entertainment; financial services (U.S. and international banking, brokerages, insurance, investment banking, hedge funds, private equity); food and beverage; gaming; government; health care; high-tech; homebuilding and furnishings; hospitality, hotel and restaurant; import/export; law firms; luxury handbags; manufacturing; media and news; medicine; mining; mortgage; municipal and state employment (in New York City, New York State and California); needle trades; not-for-profit entities; off-track betting; petroleum; pharmaceuticals; plastics; printing and publishing; private clubs; professional partnerships; public housing; real estate and REITs; retail; sales; security services; steel; textiles; trade associations; wine and spirits; and wireless communications.
The litigations that Mr. Waks has handled in various federal and state courts (and in arbitration) have involved cutting-edge issues in regard to, e.g., overtime compensation (FLSA) collective actions and related state law class actions; application of FLSA to public sector; collective bargaining aspects of Chapter 9 bankruptcy of state public benefits corporation; enforcement of restrictive covenants (and forfeiture issues); defense of employment discrimination class actions; individual and multiple claims of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination; equal pay, race, national origin, age and disability bias; SOX whistleblower retaliation; employment rights under executive employment agreements, severance and benefit plans; application of U.S. employment statutes to expatriate foreign executives; constitutional law; WARN Act notification pay claims; and Taft-Hartley Act claims, among others.
In his representation of profit and not-for-profit clients in labor matters, Mr. Waks has confronted some of the most aggressive national and local unions. He has considerable experience in dealing with corporate campaigns that unions have been mounting in an effort to have venture funding sources and the public put pressure on clients. He also has dealt with complex issues of health care and other benefits, directly at the bargaining table and, from time to time, behind the scenes, working with our more specialized benefits lawyers in finding solutions to issues.
Mr. Waks has had considerable success as amicus curiae counsel before the United States Supreme Court. He represented the Center for Public Resources (now, CPR Institute) as amicus in Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corporation (1991), in which the Supreme Court broke new ground in upholding arbitration of federal age discrimination claims, adopting the position he advocated on behalf of CPR. A decade later, Mr. Waks represented the American Arbitration Association as amicus in Circuit City Stores v. Adams (2001), in which the Supreme Court upheld the enforcement of employment contracts (except for transportation workers) under the Federal Arbitration Act, an issue sidestepped in Gilmer. The third and final section of the Court’s majority opinion in Circuit City Stores focused approvingly on a number of the substantive points made in the AAA’s amicus brief in regard to what the Court considered to be the “real benefits to the enforcement of arbitration provisions ... [in] the employment context” in reaching its conclusion.
Mr. Waks organized and has chaired Kaye Scholer’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group, which brings together those lawyers in all of our offices who, over many years, have assisted our clients in fashioning innovative and cost-effective ways to successfully resolve their business disputes, rather than go through traditional litigation, or who serve as neutrals in mediations, arbitrations and other ADR proceedings.
Reflecting the breadth of his experience in employment law litigation and counseling, Mr. Waks has lectured on a wide range of employment and labor matters and litigation practice for national and international conferences sponsored over the years by American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, Federal Bar Council, American Arbitration Association, Scheinman Institute, American Conference Institute, American Lawyer/Law Journal Seminars, New York State and City Bar Associations, American Bar Association, Federal Bar Council, ALI-ABA, Law Education Institute/ABA Section on Labor & Employment Law’s National CLE Conference on Labor and Employment Law, American Employment Law Council, CPR Institute, Glasser LegalWorks, American Arbitration Association, Southwestern Legal Foundation, BNA Books, Practising Law Institute, California Business Law Institute, Wisconsin Bar Association, New York County Lawyers Association, and Strategic Research Institute, among others. In these programs, Mr. Waks typically addresses such subjects as class actions and complex employment litigation, cross-border employment issues of discrimination and restrictive covenant enforcement, employment ADR, Dodd-Frank, SOX and other whistleblower retaliation litigation, sexual harassment, age and other discrimination litigation, enforcement of restrictive covenants, forfeiture of benefits and protection of trade secrets, ethical considerations in employment litigation and the use of statistics and statistical experts in employment cases. The National Law Journal (April 9, 2001) article that he co-authored on the use of statistics in employment litigation was relied upon by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Robertson et al. v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (2001), in denying race discrimination class certification.
In addition, for sixteen years, the Law Journal’s Annual General Counsel Conference, considered by many to be the premier forum of its type, featured Mr. Waks as its opening speaker on cutting-edge employment law, litigation and class action developments as to which he has been actively litigating or advising.
Mr. Waks has contributed commentary to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, International Herald Tribune, BNA Daily Labor Report, BNA Employment Discrimination Report, N.Y. Observer, New York Law Journal, Newsweek, Crain’s, Reuters, L.A. Times, Newsday, New York Magazine, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and various online, overseas, regional, trade and other publications. He has appeared on national Internet, cable, and TV news broadcasts and national and international radio broadcasts discussing key employment law issues.
Mr. Waks, as Chair of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on Labor and Employment Law, was responsible for its 1993 Report on Law Firm Policies on Workplace Sexual Harassment, its study of the Application of the RICO Act to Labor-Management Relations, and the adoption of its groundbreaking NASD and NYSE Arbitrator Training Programs to educate securities industry arbitrators on the fundamentals of employment and labor law, among other projects.
In 2014, the CPR Institute and Cornell’s Scheinman Institute published Cutting Edge Advances in Resolving Workplace Disputes, edited by Mr. Waks, CPR Board members and the chair of its Employment Disputes Committee, along with Nancy Vanderlip and Cornell Professor David Lipsky. Mr. Waks is also principal author of the pioneering 1995 report (and its later revisions) of the CPR Institute, titled Employment ADR Program, on the subject of “The CPR Program to Resolve Employment Disputes Through Mediation and Arbitration,” as well as the “CPR Model Pre-Dispute Procedure to Adjudicate Employment Termination Disputes” and, with Dr. Mary T. Rowe of MIT, authored the CPR Model Procedure for Mediation of Termination and Other Employment Disputes. As a member and later Chair of the CPR Institute’s Employment Disputes Committee for more than two decades, Mr. Waks is responsible for CPR’s 2002 report, How Companies Manage Employment Disputes, A Compendium of Leading Corporate Employment Programs, and its 2005 Resource Book for Managing Employment Disputes.
Mr. Waks has been an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and is a member of the mediation/arbitration employment disputes panel of the CPR Institute. He has served as mediator in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Southern District of New York and has been engaged privately to mediate and arbitrate executive employment disputes, class/collective actions and other complex employment cases.
- Waks Discusses “Sexploitation and Sextortion in the Workplace” January 30, 2016
- Leskin Named to Legal Momentum Board December 3, 2015
- Best Lawyers 2016 Recognizes 45 Kaye Scholer Lawyers August 17, 2015