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Charles High Jr. Shareholder Kemp Smith, El Paso Michael McQueen Shareholder Kemp Smith, El Paso When you need defense lawyers in an employment case in El Paso, the names Mike McQueen and Charlie High often come up first. The two have been representing clients in their corner of the state for years: High joined Kemp Smith in 1978 after practicing law in New York City, and McQueen has been with the firm since receiving his J.D. in 1976. High, 59, has practiced labor and employment law during his entire legal career; McQueen, who was a litigator at the firm for his first few years there, joined him. Today, the firm has six lawyers in that practice area. High and McQueen handle all kinds of labor and employment matters, from Occupational Safety and Health Administration cases to sexual harassment complaints to union contract negotiations. High, who’s represented some clients for more than 20 years and is considered the institutional knowledge person, has extensive experience in representing mines and sand and gravel operations in Mine Safety and Health Act matters. High — who received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1970 and his L.L.M. in labor and employment law from New York University School of Law — counts as one of his accomplishments the building of a first-rate employment practice in El Paso, giving clients the option of going with a local firm. “I replaced the first lawyer doing labor and employment work,” he says. “Now we have six lawyers doing nothing but. There are very, very good lawyers in El Paso. People don’t have to go out of town to get good representation.” The field has grown all over the state, he adds. “There used to be just a few of us,” High says. “Now, there’s a ton of us.” McQueen, 49 and a graduate of the UT Law School, says he likes the variety of issues and businesses in the labor and employment field. His interest in the area was sparked in law school, when he took the labor law class of the late Jerre Williams, he says. “I generally get my sense of accomplishment from keeping my clients happy,” McQueen says. “Sometimes that’s settling the case and sometimes it’s trying a case.”

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