Gary Fowler, Esq., brings 30 years of national experience in representing, counseling and advising clients, particularly in employment, labor, equity compensation, ERISA and related matters. Before joining JAMS, his representation included employers and individuals, with particular expertise in covenants not to compete, trade secrets, executive compensation, wage and hour, compensation, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, reductions in force (including WARN and “mini-WARN” acts) and disability matters. He has advised and represented clients in such issues in multiple jurisdictions, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama. His experience was built on a foundation of general commercial litigation representation. He is a frequent and well-known speaker on employment law and mediation and arbitration practice, and has served as an adjunct professor in disability discrimination law at the SMU Dedman School of Law. Mr. Fowler is committed to legal representation for all; he serves on the board of the Community Service Foundation of the Dallas Bar Association (which assists in funding for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas) and volunteers to serve pro bono as a mediator for the Dallas County Dispute Resolution Center.
After clerking for the Hon. Sam D. Johnson at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Mr. Fowler practiced commercial litigation before focusing his practice on representation in labor and employment. Board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1994 and co-chair of his firm’s labor and employment section from 2013 to 2021, Mr. Fowler worked with clients and organizations in banking, financial services, health care, real estate, media, insurance, retail, hospitality, transportation and telecommunications, as well as nonprofits, churches and religious organizations. During his practice, Mr. Fowler represented clients in at least 250 mediations and is known by both colleagues and opposing counsel as fair-minded, professional and zealous in his pursuit of the best result for his clients. Mr. Fowler brings those same qualities to assist parties to resolution in mediations and to provide fair and just results when called upon to serve as an arbitrator.
Mediation and Arbitration
Mr. Fowler has served as mediator and arbitrator in complex employment and commercial cases, including the following:
- Has mediated matters in the following areas:
- Employment discrimination
- Wage and hour
- Covenants not to compete and trade secrets
- Has served as an arbitrator in over 50 matters, including the following:
- Arbitrated to final award a multi-party case involving employment and franchise issues with complex issues of arbitrability and allegations of fraud and breach of contract
- Was lead arbitrator to final award on ERISA fiduciary breach case involving the simultaneous arbitration of six claimants in a complex “busted class” case alleging breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA
- Arbitrated to final award a case alleging disability discrimination and failure to accommodate
- Arbitrator in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases involving class and collective actions, including issuance of an interim award on key issue leading to early resolution of matter
Labor and Employment
Mr. Fowler also brings the depth of his 30 years of experience as a specialist in labor and employment, including:
- Representation including mediations, arbitrations, administrative proceedings, and trial or other final judgment in multiple jurisdictions throughout the country of companies and executives in all areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, wage and hour, employment contract, harassment, retaliation, OSHA, workers compensation, unfair labor practice charges, union representation proceedings, drug testing, family and medical leave, age discrimination, independent contractor, joint employer and Texas Payday Act matters
- Representation of companies and executives in complex litigation involving executive compensation
- Negotiation and execution of executive employment contracts and severance agreements, representing both executives and companies, including CEOs of major retail, pharmaceutical, staffing and home building companies
- Numerous injunction hearings in covenants not to compete, covenants not to solicit customers and employees, and trade secrets across multiple industries, representing companies and individuals, including retail, personnel, utility, banking and commercial companies
- Representation of companies in wage and hour matters, including collective and class actions under the FLSA and state laws, including cases in multiple jurisdictions (e.g., Arizona, California)
- Labor and employment counsel as part of the deal team on behalf of both buyer and seller in the negotiation of equity, acquisition and other significant corporate transactions, including health care, hospitality, energy and real estate companies
- Representation of media and entertainment companies in talent and other employment contracts (including negotiation on behalf of a symphony with its conductor of the contract of a symphony conductor), preemption of a state law claim under a labor contract, covenants not to compete, discrimination, libel, defamation and sales commission disputes
- Representation of companies (and a nonprofit entity) in unfair labor practice, union representation and matters under the National Labor Relations Act, including argument on a Fifth Circuit case involving LMRA preemption resulting in affirming summary judgment for client
- Representation of nonprofit organizations, including churches, charities, religious schools and sports associations, in employment and related matters
- Work with U.S. and international counsel on labor and employment issues, including cross-border employees and reductions in force
- Representation of hospitals, doctors, clinics, medical software and other medical entities and professionals regarding physician contracts, covenants not to compete, discrimination and other employment issues
Mr. Fowler built his practice on a foundation of commercial litigation throughout his career, including:
- Litigation involving the attempted hostile takeover of a U.S. insurance company working with prominent legal scholars on constitutional issues based on preemption under the international commerce clause
- Litigation involving the Texas receivership of a foreign insurance company, including allegations of fraud against a Texas utility company
- Successful representation of a major publication company in federal court in New York in a putative class action alleging misrepresentation in advertising sales
- Trade secret and breach of fiduciary matters on behalf of companies and individuals
- Representation and counseling of law, accounting and professional firms, as well as advice to individual professionals, on covenants not to compete, trade secrets and professional liability
- Representation and successful resolution of claims for negligent hiring in matters involving theft by former employees
- Representation of homeowners’ associations on claims challenging or enforcing HOA restriction and architecture violations, as well as employment matters, including successful resolution of an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act;
- Representation of landowners, restaurants and retailers under civil rights laws, Title III of the ADA and state law disability claims in public accommodations
Memberships and Affiliations
- Board Certified, Labor and Employment Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1994–present
- Director, Community Service Foundation, Dallas Bar Association, 2016–present
- Chair, Labor and Employment Section, Dallas Bar Association, 2009
- Chair, Employment Law Committee, Media Law Resource Center, 2019–2021
- Member, SMU HR Roundtable, 2003–2013
- Texas Association of Attorney Mediators, 2019–present
- Texas Association of Mediators, 2019–present
- American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section, 1984–present
- Dallas Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section, 1993–present
- Texas Bar Foundation, 2008–present
- American Bar Foundation, 2021–present
- Board of Visitors, Honors College of Texas Christian University, 2012–present
- Board of Governors, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, 2012–2020
- Board of Directors, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, 2004–2011
Selected Awards and Honors
- College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, admitted in 2018
- Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers, 2020
- The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White Inc.), 2006–2022
- Lawyer of the Year – Dallas, Employment Law – Management, 2017
- Lawyer of the Year – Dallas, Labor Law – Management, 2020
- Employment Law – Management, 2011–2022
- Labor Law – Management, 2011–2022
- Litigation – Labor & Employment, 2020–2022
- “Texas Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, 2003–2020
- “Best Lawyers in Dallas” List, D Magazine, 2008–2009, 2011–2013, 2018
Selected Publications and Presentations
- "Covenants Not to Compete: The Swinging Pendulum of Enforceability,” Corporate Counsel Review, 2012.
- "A Slap at Employment Law? A Look at the Impact of Texas Citizens Participation Act in 2017," Texas Lawyer, December 1, 2017.
- “Mediating and Arbitrating Non-Competes and Trade Secrets,” State Bar of Texas Labor & Employment Law Section’s Summer CLE Series, June 2021.
- "Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Current Administration” (panelist with Cecilia Morgan), American Bar Association ADR Practice Management, Business, and Skills Development Committee, March 2021.
- “Mediation and Arbitration of Disputes Involving Non-Competition Agreements and Trade Secrets,” Dallas Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and Labor and Employment Section, February 2021.
- “Virtual Mediation” (with Cecilia Morgan and Joe Gillespie), JAMS, June 2020.
- “Videoconference Procedures for Arbitration Hearings,” DFW Arbitration Study Group, April 2020.
- "Covenants Not to Compete: Where We Are and Where We've Been" (with Jacqueline Johnson), Dallas Bar Association, April 2019.
- “2013 Case Law Update and Legislative Review,” 8th Annual Employment Practices Liability Insurance Seminar by ExecuSummit, October 2013.
- “Alternative Workforces: Minimizing Liability for Joint Employment and Contractor Misclassification” (with James M. Nelson), Stafford Webinar, September 2013.
- “Covenants Not to Compete in the Broadcast Industry,” Media Law Resource Center Employment Law Committee, April 2013.
- “Employment Law 2012: Hot Topics for CPAs in Their Practices,” Southwest Practice Management Group of CPAs, October 2012.
- "Harassment in the Workplace: Dangerous Liaisons," State Bar of Texas 10th Annual Advanced Business Law Course, November 1-2, 2012.
- “Plunging into the Quagmire of Marsh: New Issues in Noncompetes” (with Monica Latin, Elizabeth Thompson and Donna McElroy), American Law Institute (ALI CLE), July 2012.
- “Litigation Pitfalls When Drafting Executive Compensation Agreements,” Executive Compensation Course, State Bar of Texas, May 2008.
- Jackson Walker L.L.P., Dallas, 2000–2021
- Equity Partner, 2000–2021
- Co-Chair, Labor and Employment Section, 2013–2021
- Adjunct Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law, Disability Discrimination, 1995 and 1996
- Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C., Dallas, 1991–2000
- Partner, 1993–2000
- Attorney, 1991–1992
- Littler Mendelson, Dallas, 1992–1993
- Small, Craig & Werkenthin, Austin, 1986–1991
- Law Clerk to Hon. Sam D. Johnson, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1984–1986
- J.D., Yale Law School, 1984
- Commentary Editor, Yale Law & Policy Review
- Moot Court, Semifinalist
- B.A., summa cum laude, Texas Christian University, 1981
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Outstanding Senior in the Liberal Arts (co-winner), Phi Beta Kappa, 1981
- Departmental Honors and Senior Scholar in Political Science
- 1979 Harry S. Truman Scholar of Texas
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