Ogletree Deakins Taps Chris Mixon as General Counsel

Published Date: 
February 28, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – February 28, 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 Chris Mixon has been promoted to General Counsel of the firm. Sarah Henry Akin, formerly in-house counsel with FedEx, has joined Ogletree Deakins as Assistant General Counsel, satisfying the role previously held by Mixon. Both Mixon and Akin are based in the firm’s Nashville office, giving Ogletree Deakins the unique distinction of having full-time in-house counsel in Tennessee.

As in-house counsel for Ogletree Deakins, Mixon and Akin assist the firm with a range of needs including advising on the legal aspects of the firm’s business ventures, assisting the firm’s attorneys with ethics matters, and protecting intellectual property. Mixon is also engaged in developing Ogletree Deakins International LLP, the parent company for Ogletree Deakins’ international expansion announced in November.

“Over the last several years, Ogletree Deakins has seen tremendous growth in our model and platform, which is now international,” said Kim Ebert, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins. “As we continued to grow, we recognized the same thing that most of our clients recognized years ago; we need in-house counsel focused on delivering our core values to serve as the legal advisor to our firm. Chris has been an integral part of Ogletree Deakins for 10 years, two of which were spent as the firm’s associate general counsel. We are pleased he accepted this role and know that he is more than prepared to take on the challenge.”

“Ogletree Deakins is ahead of the curve in adding a full-time in-house general counsel, though it may be a growing trend among large national firms,” said Mixon. “Nashville is a great base for our department. Our office is one of the strongest labor and employment groups in Tennessee, with a deep bench of traditional labor relations attorneys and top-flight litigators experienced in complex litigation such as class and collective actions.” 

Prior to his role as general counsel, Mixon was an Ogletree Deakins shareholder, defending the interests of employers in a broad range of employment matters. He has been actively involved in community service and civic organizations, having served as vice president of the board of directors for a non-profit United Way agency that provides reading intervention for elementary school students in high-needs schools, as well as on a variety of leadership committees and programs.

Akin joined Ogletree Deakins from FedEx Corporation in Memphis, and she brings a unique depth of experience in labor and employment consulting and employment litigation, including trial and appellate advocacy. She was previously an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division for the State of Tennessee. A seasoned speaker, Akin has lectured throughout the country on topics including litigation management for in-house attorneys, jury selection techniques, and best practices for corporate counsel.

“We are delighted to have a person of Sarah’s talent and abilities join us,” said Mixon. “She is an outstanding addition to our firm and to the Nashville legal community.”

The firm’s Nashville office has recently experienced significant growth. It has grown by more than 50 percent over the past three years, including the recent additions of Akin and Tim Palmer. Palmer is one of Ogletree Deakins’ top employment litigators who possesses a stellar track record of success in defending and representing employers in complex litigation including class actions. He joined the Nashville office from Ogletree Deakins’ Birmingham office in January. Palmer’s prominent litigation experience strengthens the Nashville office’s position as one of the largest labor and employment practices in Nashville, defending more employment litigation cases in Tennessee federal courts than any other firm in the middle and eastern parts of state.

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. www.ogletreedeakins.com