KATIE BROWN is a shareholder in the firm's Corporate and Employment practice group. Specializing in employment law, Ms. Brown focuses primarily on counseling employers to take proactive measures to prevent more costly claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and improper payment of wages. As a part of that process, she works closely with business owners, managers, and human resources directors to prepare onboarding documents and handbooks, provide on-site training for employees and managers, respond to employee concerns, conduct investigations, manage employee performance, prepare and negotiate severance agreements, respond to agency charges of discrimination and unfair labor practices, manage audits conducted by the Department of Labor, and attend hearings related to claims for unemployment insurance benefits. Ms. Brown has worked with clients in myriad industries, including automotive, corporate, medical, educational, non-profit, and financial fields. She is committed to understanding her clients' businesses with a results-driven approach to provide high-quality legal advice.
Ms. Brown's experiences range from administrative agencies to large firm litigation. At the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Ms. Brown worked in the Reconsideration Unit, evaluating and deciding appeals of administrative decisions. Her experience in complex insurance, contract, and constitutional cases makes her a skilled advocate who values the benefit of reaching mutually agreeable resolutions and understands the costs and risks associated with litigation. The success of Ms. Brown’s practice is driven by her hard-work, active listening, investigative research, and organized analysis. She values professional relationships based on trust, authenticity, and respect.
Ms. Brown has been recognized among Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s 2016 Up and Coming Lawyers, named a Michigan Super Lawyers® Rising Star from 2014 to 2019, received the Women’s Bar Association Member of the Year Award in 2017, was named the 2018 Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer by the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, and was recognized in the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan also recognized Ms. Brown with a Pro Bono Accomplishment Award. She has provided numerous pro bono services, including handling a prisoner’s rights case, volunteering at Homeless Experience Legal Protection and Common Ground’s Legal Clinic, and coordinating pro bono activities for the Women’s Bar Association.
Ms. Brown is admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and in the State of Indiana.
Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked in New York City making documentaries for networks such as National Geographic International, The History Channel, and Discovery Health.
Honors and Awards
Recognized in the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2020
Named Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer by the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section
Nominated Fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation
Named Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers® 2014-2019
Women’s Bar Association (Oakland County Region of Women Lawyers Association of Michigan) Member of the Year Award, 2017
Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Up and Coming Lawyers, Class of 2016
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Pro Bono Recognition Award, 2013
John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition, Best Brief nominee, 2009, 2010
WASHINGTON & LEE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Lexington, Virginia, Juris Doctor, 2011
WASHINGTON & LEE UNIVERSITY, Lexington, Virginia, BA - Studio Art Honors, magna cum laude, 2005
Publications and Presentations
- “Employee Handbook Policies: The Importance of Regular Updates and Training,” PowerPoint presentation for Maddin Hauser Roth & Heller Employment Law Symposium (2017).
- “How to Maintain and Protect Confidential Information and Personnel Files,” PowerPoint presentation for American Payroll Association seminar (2017).
- “Encouraging Optimal Performance as Individuals and as a Company,” PowerPoint presentation about employee handbook updates, legal obligations, and company expectations in regard to employee conduct and work rules (2016).
- “A Financial Evaluation of How to Comply with the Wage & Hour Department’s New Overtime Rule” PowerPoint presentation to discuss employee classification and compensation structures (2016).
- “Early Resolution of Employment Law Cases,” Moderator for discussion about how to save clients time and money by obtaining early resolutions to employment law cases (2016).
- “Severance Agreements: Tax and Employment Considerations,” Joint PowerPoint presentation with Marc Wise to evaluate when severance packages are offered, terms to include in the contract, and related tax implications (2016).
- “Pro Bono: Making the Connection,” PowerPoint presentation about how to handle pro bono cases and utilize resources available (2013).
- “Getting Social: Use of Social Media as a Marketing Tool,” PowerPoint presentation to large firm (2013).
- “The EOBR Mandate and its Potential Impact on Safety, Claims Handling, and Underwriting,” co-authored with Timothy Groustra & Jim Rodi, 15 The Transportation Lawyer No. 1, 47–52 (2013). Re-published in 30 Michigan Defense Quarterly No. 2, 11–16. (2013).
- “Enhancement of Pro Bono Culture in Michigan: A Summary of the State Bar of Michigan’s Pro Bono Workshop,” State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section’s Newsletter, Inter Alia, 5–6 (2013).
- “European Court of Human Rights & European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights,” Presentation (2010).
- “Conference Report — The Transnationalization of Legal Cultures,” co-authored with Ronald Bruckmann, 10 German L. J. No. 10, 1399 (2009).
Oakland County Bar Association, Chair, Labor & Employment Law Committee, 2017-present
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Membership Committee, 2017-present
Oakland County Bar Association, Vice Chair, Labor & Employment Law Committee, 2016-2017
Institute for Continuing Legal Education, New Lawyers Advisory Board, 2013-2016
Washington & Lee University's Alumni Association, Detroit Chapter, President, 2013-2017
Representative Cases and Matters
- Advised employees and employers on contractual concerns, disability rights, and claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
- Updated and prepared employment policies and procedures, including onboarding documents.
- Conducted management and employee training regarding leadership skills and compliance requirements.
- Investigated sexual harassment complaints, employment disputes, and public safety concerns.
- Negotiated severance agreements for executives.
- Evaluated and revised employment contracts to assure legal compliance and protection of clients.
- Reviewed civil rights charges, including working with investigators, to determine validity of claims.
- Represented employers in investigations conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, and Michigan Wage and Hour Division.
- Successfully protested and appealed claims for unemployment insurance benefits, resulting in denial of benefits.
- Analyzed and handled complex litigation cases by reviewing voluminous records, preparing concise chronologies, conducting discovery/depositions, and resolving cases through case evaluation, facilitation, and dispositive motions.
OAKLAND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN
OMICRON DELTA KAPPA (National Honor Society)