Management's Workplace Lawyers


Shawe & Rosenthal LLP was founded in 1947 when Earle K. Shawe, a dean of the labor law bar, left the NLRB to go into private practice.  The practice, which became Shawe & Rosenthal LLP with the addition of William J. Rosenthal, quickly developed a reputation for tenacious, successful representation of employers in traditional labor law cases.  The original case load was divided between representing non-union employers in connection with union organizing drives and representing unionized employers in connection with collective bargaining and arbitration.  In addition, the firm handled unfair labor practice charges that grew out of organizing and collective bargaining and wage-hour litigation.  Our practice of traditional labor law remains an important and distinctive part of the practice.

In the 1960s and 1970s, our employment law practice was created shortly after the passage of landmark federal laws, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and ERISA.  The firm expanded to serve its clients in these new fields. The case load includes both individual and class action employment discrimination cases, mainly in federal court. These cases are hard-fought and sophisticated, and involve the use of expert witnesses in statistics, compensation analysis and demographics. We defended USF&G in federal court in Minnesota in one of the largest employment discrimination class actions ever filed.  In 1990, the practice was reshaped by amendments to federal law that made many employment discrimination cases subject to jury trial, with punitive and compensatory damages recoverable.

In more recent years, common law theories have provided additional growth in employment law. Wrongful discharge, implied contract, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims typically arise out of employee terminations and are often filed in state court. Like employment discrimination cases, they are subject to jury trial. In addition, there has been a resurgence of activity under some of the oldest laws in our field, the Fair Labor Standards Act and its state counterparts. Wage-hour cases are often brought as collective or class actions. With the aid of new technology, we have successful defended claims involving hundreds or thousands of claimants.

Although our practice is national, we have chosen to operate out of a single office in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area in order to remain cohesive, selective and collegial. Our stable corps of attorneys provides our clients with unparalleled depth of experience. All of our attorneys handle litigation from beginning to end, ensuring that the lawyer who tries the case is thoroughly familiar with the facts and issues.  Because the most effective way to win employment cases is to obtain dismissal or summary judgment before trial, we stress the quality of our written advocacy. We equally stress client service, ensuring that our clients are informed and in control at every stage of the case.