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Hal Gillespie Partner Gillespie, Rozen & Watsky, Dallas Yona Rozen Partner Gillespie, Rozen & Watsky, Dallas Hal Gillespie sometimes feels like he and partner Yona Rozen are doing David vs. Goliath work — and they’re David. And like David, the two have been victorious. “In a state that’s relatively conservative, with a judiciary that’s relatively conservative, that’s a big accomplishment,” he says. “Jurors are good if they think you were wronged.” He has won an arbitration award of about $70 million for a local of the American Federation of Federal Employees in an asbestos contamination grievance and helped secure a $4.2 million jury verdict in a breach of contract and torturous interference case last year in Dallas. Some of his big cases are not publicly known because they were settled on confidential terms. Rozen, 48, represented television personnel in Dalheim v. KDFW-TV, a landmark case in which the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that 19 general assignment reporters, producers, directors and assignment editors at the Dallas-based station were entitled to overtime. Gillespie — who received his J.D. in 1972 from the UT Law School — began in the field when there was mostly labor law work and few employment cases. He worked at a Dallas firm until 1978, and then became a partner in his own firm. Rozen, who spent five years working for the National Labor Relations Board in Buffalo, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., joined his firm in 1983. Rozen and Gillespie started what is now Gillespie, Rozen & Watsky in 1990. The firm represents individual plaintiffs and labor unions, from textile workers to musicians. Rozen, whose mother taught in the labor studies department at Pennsylvania State University, graduated in 1978 from Vanderbilt University School of Law. She knew she wanted to work in the labor and employment law field because her mother’s work showed how interesting it was. “You really have to learn about each case,” she says. “It’s intellectually challenging and changing all the time. I’m working in an area that’s important to people.” Gillespie, whose nickname is Rattlesnake (one of his ancestors, who was appointed the first attorney general of the Republic of Texas, died of a rattlesnake bite), also feels that he is helping people obtain justice. The cases with the bigger numbers tend to have a bigger impact, he says, but others are just as significant, such as a pregnancy discrimination case that he won on behalf of a woman who was earning barely more than minimum wage. “This is very difficult work,” says Gillespie, 53. “Sometimes you lose; that’s the hardest part. But you can’t win if you’re not willing to take the risk.”

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