248-409-1900 dburke@mi-worklaw.com

OUR FIRM

Pilchak & Cohen (“P&C”) represents management in labor and employment matters exclusively in Michigan and across the United States.  We take pride in planning discipline and discharge to avoid litigation, and if litigation is filed, identifying creative defenses, counter claims and winning strategies for employers.  We identify defects in the Plaintiff’s case at the earliest possible stage of litigation to achieve early dismissal, deflate our opponent’s enthusiasm or to illustrate low settlement value to the opponent.

OUR PRACTICE AREAS

Our attorneys have extensive experience in virtually all areas of labor and employment law including:

  • Discipline, Discharge Planning
  • At-Will Disclaimers, Employee Handbooks
  • Employment Applications, Forms
  • Employment Contracts
  • Reductions in Force
  • Job Descriptions
  • Personnel File Requests
  • Policy Development and Revisions
  • Severance Packages and Releases
  • Supervisor Training
  • Charges Before the EEOC/MDCR
  • Litigation in State and Federal Courts
  • Sexual, Racial, Ethnic, Other Harassment
  • FMLA, ADA policies & claim administration
  • Leave and Accommodation Requests
  • Charges Before the EEOC/MDCR
  • Litigation in State and Federal Courts
  • DOT Regulations
  • Drug/Alcohol Testing Policies
  • Last Chance Agreements
  • Workplace Violence Policies, Response
  • MIOSHA Audits, Charges, Retaliation
  • Affirmative Action Plans
  • Federal Contract Compliance Audits
  • Service Contract Act
  • Davis Bacon Act, Prevailing Wages
  • False Claims Act Litigation
  • Organizing Drives & Union Elections
  • Bargaining and Negotiations
  • Construction Picketing-Dual Gate Issues
  • Contract Administration
  • Deauthorization, Decertification
  • Contract Termination
  • Grievance Arbitration
  • Protected Concerted Activities
  • Project Only Agreements
  • Secondary Boycotts
  • Strikes
  • Unfair Labor Practice Charges and Trials
  • Union Discrimination
  • Commission Claims
  • Invasion of Privacy
  • Tortious Interference with Contract
  • Whistleblower Cases
  • Breach of Contract
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duties
  • Business Torts
  • Conspiracy
  • Conversion Lawsuits to Recover Property
  • Corporate Defamation
  • Recovery of Unearned Compensation
  • Non-Compete Clause Preparation, Analysis
  • Confidentiality, Trade Secret Agreements
  • Litigation Asserting or Defending Same
  • Minimum Wage, Overtime Issues
  • State, Federal Audits
  • Fringe Benefit Issues
Our Philosophy

Our lawyers are committed to provide our clients with exceptional, innovative, and creative legal solutions specifically designed to deliver the best possible outcomes with the least legal exposure for their business.  We are honored that businesses have sought us out for labor and employment matters for decades without a marketing machine behind us.  Our success results from commitment, resolve and the following components:

Avoiding Litigation – Likely, our most valuable service is disarming employees with protected status when discipline or discharge is required.  Clients are seldom sued when we assist with the termination.

Creativity – Employing creative investigative techniques and inventive legal defenses is routine at P&C.  Techniques usually reserved for criminal matters have sometimes made the difference, such as secretly obtaining a plaintiff’s fingerprints at deposition, or recovering documents from an opponent’s trash.  Some cases have been “blown open” by evening interviews with shady characters or an opportune visit to an ex-girlfriend’s home to learn the real story.  We have successfully defended sexual harassment claims by obtaining admissions from plaintiffs’ own therapists that childhood experiences had skewed adult perceptions or that the plaintiff was sexually compulsive and likely initiated sexual banter.  We derailed one $52 Million class action claim within weeks of being filed by identifying a “silver bullet” defect.

Quality Work Product/Persuasive Writing – Most legal issues are decided on briefs.  We sometimes work without pay to turn out a fine legal product, because our reputation in the courts depends on the quality of every brief and argument.  Superior writing means that our product actually gets read.

Trial Readiness – We enjoy trying cases.  We would like to conduct more trials, but our job is to get cases dismissed or impair an opponent’s case so that trial is avoided by a reasonable settlement.  A trial ready posture helps even those clients who wish to avoid trial at all costs.  One trial victory can result in the dismissal or settlement of other pending actions, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

Aggressive, Yet Civil, Advocacy – We know that plaintiffs have settled cases with our clients at a discounted value rather than return for a second day of vigorous deposition. We know that our clients have been spared litigation because of our reputation for not missing defenses.

Hard Work – We simply work harder than most other attorneys, because we believe the most prepared attorney usually prevails.

We Care Passionately About Our Clients – We are honored that our clients place their trust in us.  We earn our pay by taking on our clients’ problems.  Often, our commitment to our clients extends beyond the practice of law. Ask about the time when we were prepared to “take a bullet” for the client – literally.

A Reputation for Tightfisted Settlement Practices –We have been told that we disregard the interests of “the bar” by not coughing up sufficient settlement dollars for opposing counsel.

Justice and Ethics – If our client isn’t “guilty,” it is our job to do everything ethically possible to win.

Our Commitment to Value

We strive to make sure our bill reflects services with obvious value.  If we have recorded time that objectively does not seem to be worth the cost to the client, we have an easy solution: We don’t bill it.   We believe our commitment to value is demonstrated by the following:

Lower Fees – Because we serve clients ranging from the smallest to the largest businesses, we have intentionally kept our rates as low as possible so they remain affordable to the entire range of clients.

No Nonsense Billing – We just don’t like certain billing practices.  For example, our clients rarely see a bill that reports a “conference” between two attorneys.   While we confer constantly on strategy and the law, we do so on our time.  Accordingly, if our clients are ever actually billed for a “conference,” they can be sure that it was a major strategy brainstorming session, where the attorneys have pulled out their resource files and contributed significantly to the meeting.  We have similar feelings about “double billing.”  When two of our attorneys attend to a client at the same time, we make an intelligent decision on whether the client receives value from both attorneys.  If the session merely educates a junior attorney (for example for a discovery project) we generally bill a single blended rate for the two attorneys.

Early Disposition Of Cases –  We have identified many strategies for obtaining dismissal or settlement early in the litigation process.  We have obtained many dismissals or nominal settlements through vigorous depositions, discovery, requests for admission and motions in limine.  Of course, we also use summary judgment motions to eliminate claims and damages.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP, HONORS AND AWARDS
Of course, the most important rewards for us are victories in contested matters and the continued patronage of clients over the years.  However, since civic, business and legal groups have honored us with appointments to leadership positions or other recognition, we are proud to share them:

  • National Federation of Independent Business Leadership Committee
  • Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce
    Chairman, Vice Chairman, Bd. Member
    2013 “Board Member of the Year”
  • Best Lawyers in America, Superlawyers
  • National Champion, ABA Client Counseling Competition
  • Oakland County Bar Association, Leon Hubbard Community Service Award In Support of Diversity
  • American Bar Association, “The Best Labor & Employment Article Published by the ABA,” The Labor Lawyer, Vol. 21, No. 2, Fall, 2005, Republished GP Solo Magazine 2006

OUR WORKLAW® NETWORK CONNECTIONS

As the only Michigan member of the Worklaw Network, P&C is instantly connected to over 350 management labor and employment attorneys across the country, and more around the world.  When we encounter the rare problem we have not faced before, WLN colleagues stand ready to provide insight and briefs, at great savings to our clients.

OUR ATTORNEYS

Our attorneys have a combined 89 years of experience in labor and employment law and human resources.  Refer to the following biographies for a more complete picture of our experience.

OUR EMERGING PRACTICE AREAS

Lately, our practice involves the assistance of educational staff in their attempts to decertify their union.  The traditional labor law practice, as highly specialized as it is, tends to be an all or nothing practice, meaning you either represent the interests of employers or represent the interests of unions.  Unfortunately, there really is no segment of the bar that serves the interest of employees when they have issues with their union.  Decertification of large national/international unions is a right that unionized employees, particularly those in public education, will seldom hear about.  They never hear about their options from their unions, who have no self-interest in advising their members how to represent themselves, and the law constrains what employers can lawfully say on the topic.  Consequently, P&C fills this void and assist educational employees with their decertification petitions and in navigating the election process.