Jeffrey Risch - Through many years of both in-house and private practice experience, I offer employers clear and decisive advice to proactively manage workplace problems involving wage/hour claims, traditional labor union matters, prevailing wage disputes, unfair competition, wrongful termination charges as well as government regulation/audit. I also possess the experience and skill to litigate matters successfully through trial. I particularly enjoy helping employers grow their business and create jobs; while sustaining profitability. My passion is to assist management in exercising its right to effectively manage despite growing workplace regulation and scrutiny.
Beverly Alfon - Since joining SA, I have repeatedly been introduced as a recent defectee from the dark side (almost 10 years on the union-side) – who is now using the force for the good of employers. I fell into L&E when I was fresh out of college and worked two jobs – one of which was as a legal assistant at a small labor and employment firm in Boston. I was immediately fascinated by all of it and what was true then, still holds true today: the politics and people that permeate this flavor of law make it greater than fiction. You just can’t make this stuff up! It is what makes this work so challenging and so very interesting at the same time.
Brandon Anderson - Helping people solve their interesting or perplexing problems is what drew me to becoming a lawyer. One of my favorite aspects of working in Labor & Employment is the ever-changing nature of the scenarios that clients seek advice on—every situation seems to have its own twist that keeps things interesting. Even with more than six years of giving advice and litigating grievances in the public sector, ERISA cases in federal court, and all varieties of discrimination cases in state venues, I know that tomorrow will present me with a situation that might initially seem to be the “same-old, same-old,” but always morphs into something new or quirky.
Heather Bailey - I think they should play a song as lawyers approach the bench the way they do for baseball players when they are coming up to bat. My inspiring song would be Express Yourself by Madonna. I love what I do, and it shows in my results each day! I’ve been a litigation attorney for more than 10 years. My client relationships are strong not only because I advocate in my clients’ best interests but because my clients can trust me and know I’m always there for them. This reminds me of my favorite quote: “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” - Muhammad Ali
Karuna Brunk - My career started in economic consulting – business costs, price changes and wage rates. In my first year of law school, however, I began working for a plaintiffs’ employment litigation firm, which exposed me to discrimination, wage and hour and retaliation cases. I quickly learned that I was not meant to be a plaintiffs’ lawyer. After law school, I switched sides. I love employment law because the cases consist of diverse and interesting stories of real people. A recent transplant to Chicago from Washington, D.C., outside of work, you will probably find me exploring the culture and food of this amazing city.
Jill Cheskes - I first became interested in labor and employment law during my time in law school. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to spend my career practicing in this area of law. Partnering with my clients and litigating these cases are my specialty. I get the most enjoyment out of solving problems – whether it is a complex case or a tricky one-time issue on which my client needs advice.
Rebecca Dobbs Bush – I am an attorney in the labor and employment practice group working out of the St. Charles office of SmithAmundsen LLC. I focus my practice on various employee benefit matters, including everything from transactional work through litigation. Prior to becoming an attorney, I spent my days working directly in the trenches of HR.
Samantha Esmond - I am an attorney in the labor and employment practice group working out of the Rockford office of SmithAmundsen LLC. I have been practicing law since 2007, and have been fortunate to focus my practice on labor and employment issues, including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, Section 1981, ADEA, ADA, and FMLA, since 2008. I am also a recent defectee from the other “dark side” (over 3 years on the plaintiff’s side). Outside of work, you’ll find me spending time with my husband (who is also an attorney!).
Caryl Flannery - Refusing to believe the adage that “no good deed goes unpunished” for an organization dealing with employee issues, I am committed to working with employers to structure a workplace that is productive and successful in an atmosphere that minimizes employee complaints and performance issues. I am a night owl which is a bonus in this practice because many of the businesses and public entities I represent have 24/7 operations and need quick advice on employee issues at all hours of the day and night. The situations I encounter as a labor and employment attorney can be unusual, entertaining, shocking, or even dangerous but even the most seemingly routine matters are important to my clients and get my full attention no matter when they arise.
Terry Fox - Non-class action employment disputes are largely intense personal breakups involving a perceived lack of loyalty and failure of trust. At least that’s what I’ve learned from my twenty years of litigating and resolving these disputes in almost every conceivable forum. Detached, analytical, and emotion-free counsel sometimes is needed, but also a view of why the relationship worked well previously is of benefit when the disputes involve key employees and stake holders.
Jeff Glass - I am an experienced business attorney in SmithAmundsen’s Rockford office. Much of my practice is devoted to representing employers in emergency injunction litigation to enforce restrictive covenants. These cases usually involve related areas such as trade secret misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty. I also draft employment agreements and advise employers on how to safeguard their confidential information and prevent unfair competition by their employees.
Jonathan Hoag - I became interested in representing employers during my years as a human resources professional. I returned to law school intent on defending employers from the growing number of legal issues within the labor and employment arena. I’m a dedicated advocate in the courtroom, but most of all I enjoy working closely with human resources managers to take proactive steps that help organizations stay out of the courtroom.
Michael Hughes – I’ve been practicing labor & employment law my entire career. Before becoming an attorney, I worked for several years as a supervisor and manager in the food manufacturing industry, giving me a unique perspective to many of my clients’ needs and issues. I enjoy helping employers work through the challenges of managing a workforce in today’s world, whether that involves managing my clients’ relationship with a union, dealing with employee disputes, litigating cases, or counseling my clients on compliance with the alphabet soup of statutory and regulatory requirements. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and coaching my four sons’ sports teams.
Jacqueline Lentini McCullough - I have been practicing business employment immigration for more than eleven years. I went to law school to work with immigrants after my experience counseling international students in the university environment. Whenever the university could not fix an international student issue, we sent the case to an attorney making me curious about immigration law as a career. Outside the firm my twin boys keep me very busy.
Julie Proscia - The best part of my job is getting to know about my clients and their businesses; taking the tour. I love learning how they started out in a garage and worked hard and grew to 50 or 2000 employees. I carry my own safety glasses and ear protection and now have knowledge of a multitude of industries that is an inch deep and a mile wide. I concentrate my practice in both employment litigation and traditional labor issues.
Larry Smith - I graduated from the College of Holy Cross and the University of Michigan Law School. Both of my parents were lawyers, so the typical conversation over dinner indoctrinated me in the differences being just a lawyer and a “counselor.” Back in the day when trying jury trials was a recognized specialty, I became an employment lawyer by winning a retaliatory discharge case for a corporate client. These days, you can reach me on the weekends by yelling “fore!”
Michael Wong - I am attorney in the labor and employment practice group working out of the St. Charles office of SmithAmundsen, LLC. I have worked on both the plaintiff and defense side of litigation, which allows me to offer different perspectives and strategies to employers on how to remedy and prevent labor and employment law disputes. What I enjoy the most about practicing law is getting to know my clients and solving their problems, whether that be simply providing advice and counseling, resolving a matter through settlement or fully litigating a matter. My experience is in legal matters concerning wage and hour issues, discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, civil-rights laws and §1983 claims, contract disputes, and complex litigation of state, administrative and federal laws.
Sara Stertz Zorich - I have been practicing law since 2006 but have been focusing my practice solely on Labor and Employment issues since 2009. My work involves defending and counseling companies on wage and hour issues, discrimination claims and workplace enforcement issues. I come from a family of attorneys (my dad and two siblings are lawyers too!). Outside the office you’ll probably find me skiing or watching/attending collegiate sports with my husband and family.