Four Ogletree Deakins Shareholders Named BTI Client Service All-Stars

Published Date: 
February 22, 2013

ATLANTA – February 22, 2013 – Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, is pleased to announce that Chuck Baldwin, of the firm’s Indianapolis office; Craig Cleland, of the firm’s Atlanta office; and Fred Suggs and Stephen Woods, of the firm’s Greenville office, have been selected as 2013 Client Service All-Stars by the BTI Consulting Group. The BTI Client Service All-Stars are an elite group of attorneys nominated exclusively by corporate counsel in BTI’s independent study as the leaders of client service excellence. This year, BTI interviewed more than 240 corporate counsel from large and Fortune 1000 companies to probe all aspects of client relationships. Responses from those interviews found that client focus, exceptional understanding of the client’s business, outsized value, legal skills, and outstanding results were among the attributes that make for exceptional client service.

Chuck Baldwin is on the board of directors of Ogletree Deakins. Practicing for almost 30 years, he devotes his practice to representing employers in lawsuits involving EEO claims, labor arbitrations, NLRB proceedings, wage and hour disputes, union avoidance, employment contracts, non-competition/trade secret disputes, and class and collective action litigation. He frequently consults with and trains employers on employment practices and policies, union avoidance, protection of trade secrets and litigation avoidance. In his litigation practice, Baldwin has served as lead counsel in defending employers at trial and on appeal in class actions, multi-plaintiff, and individual lawsuits arising out of every conceivable type of workplace dispute.

Earlier this month, Baldwin was selected as a 2013 Client Service All-Star by the BTI Consulting Group. He has been named as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in Indiana by Chambers USA, Leading Business Lawyers in the USA (2004 to present), and has been included in Indiana Super Lawyers (2004 to present), the Best Lawyers in America (2007 to present), and The International Who’s Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers (2010). He was also inducted into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. In January, Baldwin was elected to the Indiana Legal Foundation Legal Advisory Committee. He is an active member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Board of Directors since 2000. Baldwin earned his J.D. from the University of Dayton.

Cleland is a shareholder in the Atlanta office of Ogletree Deakins and is co-chair of the firm’s Class Action Practice Group. He defends employers in litigation—including class and collective actions—and counsels them in all areas of employment law. A graduate of the Harvard Law School Mediation Program, he also mediates disputes. In addition to being selected as a BTI Client Service All-Star, Cleland is recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Atlanta Magazine’s “Super Lawyers,” Georgia Trend’s “Legal Elite,” and Chambers USA’s Leading Business Lawyers. A contributor to Black’s Law Dictionary, Garner’s Modern American Usage, and Lindemann & Grossman’s Employment Discrimination Law, he teaches employment discrimination law at Georgia State University College of Law. Cleland is active in his community, serving on several Atlanta nonprofit boards, including as chair.

Before Ogletree Deakins, Cleland practiced at Paul Hastings and was Senior Employment Counsel at Georgia-Pacific. Before that, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob in Atlanta, and earned his J.D., cum laude, from Georgia State University, where he was the Editor of the Law Review. 

Fred Suggs is one of the founding attorneys of Ogletree Deakins. Certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a specialist in labor and employment law, Suggs helps companies avoid work-related legal exposure by giving preventive advice and providing training for managers at client locations. Suggs, who has wide experience in labor and employment law, began defending “across-the-board” class actions in 1976 and has since handled a number of class complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color, sex, and age. He has defended countless individual claims of discrimination before government agencies and state and federal courts and has litigated claims arising under restrictive covenants, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and common law torts and contracts.

Suggs has been included in Best Lawyers in America (1997 to present) and possesses a “Band One” ranking (the highest possible) in Chambers USA (2005 to present). In 2000, he was inducted into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a non-profit professional association honoring the leading lawyers nationwide in the practice of labor and employment. Suggs has served the South Carolina Bar in many positions, including president, and has served as the board chair of the Metropolitan YMCA, general counsel of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and counsel to the staff of the Parish Relations Committee at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church. Suggs earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama.

Stephen Woods is the chair of the firm's Background Check Advice Group and the shareholder-author of the firm's O-D Comply: Background Check and O-D Comply: E-Signature subscription materials, an innovative, practical solution for clients on some the toughest issues facing employers today. He assists national, regional, and local clients on all labor & employment and HR issues, with a special emphasis on advice and counsel to prevent and minimize legal liability and risk. A top-rated and sought after speaker, Woods frequently lectures on labor and employment topics to professional organizations including the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Upstate Employers Network, Greenville Society for Human Resources Management, and Business & Legal Resources.

Woods has been included in Best Lawyers in America since 2010. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell and Yellow Belt certified in Legal Lean Sigma. Before joining Ogletree Deakins in 1996, Woods served as the Manager of Administrative Services at The Greenville News (Greenville, SC), where he managed the human resources function for this 500-employee newspaper publishing company. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was the Student Bar Association president and was awarded the highest student honor (the Compleat Lawyer Award) given by the University.


About Ogletree Deakins
Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. The firm has more than 650 lawyers located in 43 offices across the United States and in Europe. Ogletree Deakins was named “Law Firm of the Year” in both the Litigation – Labor & Employment and the Employment Law – Management categories in the 2013 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list. In addition to handling labor and employment law matters, the firm has thriving practices focused on business immigration, employee benefits, and workplace safety and health law. Ogletree Deakins represents a diverse range of clients, including more than half of the Fortune 50 corporations in the United States. For more information, please contact Ryan King or Mary Lou Baxter.


About The BTI Consulting Group

BTI is the leading provider of strategic research to law firms and General Counsel. For the past 20 years, BTI has delivered compelling, custom client surveys to firms with six to 600 partners. BTI also provides syndicated market research about client service, market direction and client satisfaction to more than 200 top law firms. BTI's work spans 13 different professions, helping clients learn best practices from world-class firms in virtually all professional services industries.