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James Burns • Partner

Reed Smith LLP • Chicago, Illinois

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Contact Information

Reed Smith LLP
10 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60606
phone 312-207-3890
fax  312-207-6400


For more than 25 years, Jim Burns has effectively represented employers before juries, judges, administrative agencies, arbitrators, and mediators throughout the United States, defending claims of age, race, sex, and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation, breach of contract, denial of overtime pay and employee benefits, unfair labor practices, and violations of collective bargaining agreements.? He has also brought and defended suits to enforce non-competes and other restrictive covenants.

Jim regularly advises employers on how to?manage legal risks in hiring, supervising, evaluating, investigating, and terminating employees, implementing reductions in force, creating and applying personnel policies, and dealing with labor unions.? He helps clients protect key interests through effective employment agreements, restrictive covenants, and separation agreements.? Jim counsels management on how to achieve business goals while complying with federal, state, and local labor laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), wage and hour laws, and affirmative action obligations.? Jim also provides practical management training on issues such as?workplace harassment, documenting employee performance, and accommodating disabled workers.

A frequent speaker to business groups, Jim has also published several articles on human resources issues.??He has been quoted in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Workforce Management, and Employment Law 360 on a wide range of labor and employment topics.? Jim is an active participant in the American Employment Law Council, an invitation-only organization of senior employment attorneys who represent management both in-house and as outside counsel, and is a charter member of the Technology Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law.? In each of the last three years, he has been selected by his peers as an Illinois Super Lawyer, a designation given to only 5% of attorneys in the state, in the area of “Employment and Labor.”

Activities, Awards, Acknowledgments

Member, American Employment Law Council.

Member, American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Technology Committee and Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee.

Recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer in the area of "Employment and Labor" in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Selected as a Leading Lawyer of Illinois in the area of "Employment Law: Management."


  • College: University of Michigan, A.B.
  • Law School: University of Michigan Law School, J.D.

Bar Admissions

Attorney Disclaimer - Attorney Advertising

The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and that the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.4(c)(2).

Site Activity

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Workipedia Contributions: 0
Profile Views: 3192
Last Login: May 20, 2009

Practice Areas

• Age Discrimination
• Alternative Dispute Resolution
• Class Action Defense
• Collective Bargaining
• Disability Discrimination
• Drug Testing
• Employee Handbooks
• Employment At Will
• Employment Contracts
• Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
• Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
• HR Training and Compliance
• Labor Law
• Labor Strikes
• National Origin Discrimination
• Noncompete Agreements
• Race Discrimination
• Reductions In Force
• Sex Discrimination
• Sexual Harassment
• Sexual Orientation Claims
• Unemployment Compensation
• Unfair Labor Practices
• Union Avoidance
• Wage and Hour Laws
• Whistleblower Claims
• Wrongful Termination
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