Employers best manage their risk with well-trained managers and timely, strategic advice and counsel. In today's legal and regulatory environment, however, claims still arise, requiring cost-effective representation regardless of the forum. The Pierce Atwood Employment Group provides across-the-board expertise and legal services pertaining to the employment relationship.

Our goal with each of our clients is to foster effective human resource practices; minimize risk; provide zealous advocacy; improve the legal and economic environment for employers and enhance our clients' own expertise through information and training. We provide monthly one-hour (free) and periodic longer (low-cost) seminars, available live and online, regular alerts, and a private extranet for our clients.

Pierce Atwood is the exclusive Maine and New Hampshire member of the Employment Law Alliance, a global association of top employment and labor attorneys providing multi-state and multi-national companies access to the best labor & employment attorneys in every one of the United States and in over 135 countries around the world, far surpassing what any firm or other association can offer.

Employment law seminars are held monthly across our Portland, Boston, and Portsmouth offices

Areas of Expertise

Catalyst Program for Start-ups

You have a passion for what you do. So do we. Entrepreneurs turn to our Catalyst Program to get an idea off the ground, access funding sources, address basic legal requirements for running a business, and more. We welcome clients with creative ideas and disruptive new technologies. We tailor our legal services and advice according to your particular vision and near term objectives. Our Catalyst team members are experienced business advisers who know the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead of you, and how to prepare for them.

Jon Gelchinsky and Matt Stein discuss the importance of having trademark paperwork in order, because undoing the damage of not doing so can be costly.

Andrea Suter and Matt Stein share a cautionary tale of a company receiving less value in its acquisition due to unclear IP agreements.

Click here to learn more about how our Catalyst program can help your start-up or emerging business.

Employment Discrimination & Leave Management

At the heart of today's employer-employee relationship is the management of legal risk associated with discrimination: protected class discrimination, harassment, whistleblower, retaliation, failure to accommodate, and related claims. We help clients with prevention strategies such as 1) training managers in areas such as principles of employment discrimination, accommodations, leave, performance management and investigations; 2) regular updates to management on new developments and trends; and 3) defense of claims in all administrative, state and federal forums. In addition, whether it's under the ADA, FMLA, state law leave requirements, or workers compensation laws, we help clients make decisions concerning their workforce that comply with today's legal and regulatory environment.

Executive Compensation & Benefits

Pitfalls abound for employers seeking creative ways to compensate their executives, provide severance, and keep benefits affordable. We advise on compliance with section 409A deferred compensation compliance and help employers provide affordable benefits packages that maintain employee morale while complying with ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, GINA, the Affordable Care Act, and changing state insurance regulations.

Executive Compensation & Benefits Experience

FLSA & State Wage/Hour Including Class Actions

As federal and state requirements for compensating employees fall farther and farther behind the economic realities of today's economy, we help clients remain in compliance. Our attorneys have considerable experience defending individual and class action claims arising under the FLSA and state analogs.

Government Relations for Employers

We are engaged with Maine's public and political leaders. Together with trade associations or on behalf of client groups or individual clients, we advocate at the Maine Legislature and state agencies for employers' public policy interests.

Health Care Labor & Employment


MaineGeneral Medical Center

H.D. Goodall Hospital

Penobscot Valley Hospital

Down East Community Hospital

Northern Maine Medical Center

Martin's Point Healthcare

Mercy Hospital

Genesis Healthcare

Pierce Atwood's Employment Group has been Maine's leader in health care labor and employment for many years. We serve as outside counsel to many of Maine's hospitals, including the vast majority of those with collective bargaining units. For hospitals with unions, we provide representation in contract negotiations, arbitrations, unit determinations and other Board proceedings, as well as regular advice and counsel on contract administration and compliance. At the same time, we have helped our non-union clients stay union free; the last successful union organizing campaign at a Maine hospital was in the 1990s (an election with which Pierce Atwood was not involved). We also work with a broad range of providers in the industry, including those in long-term care, physician practices, laboratory services, research institutions and insurers.

HR Hygiene

There are many ways for employers to get tripped up today, whether by the complex regulatory environment, changes in the economy, or unexpected events. With the right platform, the human resources team is much better prepared to respond. Here's how we help our clients stay ahead of the curve:

  • Protection of Organizational Assets – We help employers with non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements; advice on maximizing trade secret protection; and enforcement of employers' rights.
  • Health and Safety – Whatever the intensity of OSHA's enforcement efforts, employers never want to lose sight of the benefits of a safe workforce. We advise on how to stay in compliance, and represent employers' interests in OSHA proceedings.

  • Recordkeeping – We help employers create the right records and keep what they should for as long as they should.

  • Social Networking and Privacy – The line between work life and private life seems to be getting less distinct with every passing day. We advise on how to find the right balance between employer and employee interests while complying with the National Labor Relations Act and federal and state privacy laws.
  • Affirmative Action Plans – For employers with federal contracts, timely compliance with OFCCP requirements is a must. We prepare and update affirmative action plans that help keep the OFCCP inspectors away.

Traditional Labor

Millinocket Regional Hospital

Sappi Fine Paper North America

Madison Paper Industries

Lincoln Paper & Tissue

Casella Waste Systems

Portland Pipeline

Traditional labor lawyers may be a dying breed, but not at Pierce Atwood. Our unionized clients rely on us for collective bargaining (both strategic advice and hands-on negotiating), unit determination proceedings, defense of unfair labor practice charge.