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Glen Nager has been something of a prodigy in the labor and employment bar. He argued his first Supreme Court case as a 28-year-old assistant to the solicitor general and by age 35 had returned to win the high-profile Landgraf v. USI Film Products, which held that the Civil Rights Act of 1991 could not be applied retroactively. Now 46, Nager, a Jones Day partner and head of the firm’s issues and appeals practice, is one of Washington’s top defense-side employment litigators, with clients like the General Electric Co., grocery-chain Albertsons Inc., and the Federated Department Stores. After graduating from Stanford Law School, Nager clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1982, and for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor the following year. Nager became interested in employment cases while at the D.C. Circuit, which had a large volume of them. He knew he wanted to be a litigator, but wasn’t interested in extremely time- and document-intensive cases. Employment litigation fit the bill. “The legal issues were interesting to me,” he says, and “as a young lawyer, you could get early trial experience.” In 1984, Nager hooked up with Andrew Kramer, who was leaving the D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw to build the national labor practice at Cleveland-based Jones Day. Kramer offered Nager a job, and promised he would let him try cases as a new associate. Kramer wasn’t bluffing. Nager tried five jury trials in his first two years at Jones Day, and was first chair on two. He won four. In 1986, Nager took a leave from Jones Day for the solicitor general’s office, where he handled labor and employment cases, arguing five before the Supreme Court in just two years. But when Nager returned to Jones Day in 1988, he didn’t want a Supreme Court practice. Instead, he found a niche in employment class actions. In 1998, Nager was asked to head up the firm’s issues and appeals practice, with the bulk of his work remaining employment litigation. Nager was successful in 2000 in keeping 4,000 Westinghouse employees from getting class certification for a race discrimination lawsuit. And in 2001, Nager convinced the 11th Circuit that disparate impact claims, or claims that a company policy affects a protected group more than others, couldn’t be brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Nager later argued the case before the Supreme Court, but the Court revoked cert after arguments. The Court, however, recently granted cert to a case on the same issue, Smith v. City of Jackson, which Nager will argue next term. From 1995 to 2000, Nager moonlighted in the Office of Compliance, established in 1995 as part of the Republicans’ Contract With America, to make federal labor laws applicable in the congressional workplace. Nager is now lead counsel for General Electric in a nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act case in Cincinnati federal court, in which GE faces claims that it failed to properly pay salaried employees overtime. He’s also settlement counsel to Gaithersburg, Md.-based Sodexho Marriott in a class action brought by 2,600 current and former black managers charging race discrimination in promotions. Nager’s clients appreciate his analytical skill and ability to use his personality to his advantage in litigation. “Good trial lawyers like Glen use their strengths in a courtroom,” says Brackett Deniston, GE’s general counsel. “They don’t try to transform themselves. They become people [whom] judges and juries can trust.”

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