Member News

Ogletree Deakins Elects New Managing Director, Two New Board Members

Ogletree Deakins, one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, is pleased to announce that John Gerak, former managing shareholder of the firm’s Cleveland office, has been elected to the position of Managing Director. Austin shareholder Shafeeqa Giarratani and San Francisco shareholder Greg Cheng have been elected to the Board of Directors.

Gerak succeeds Chuck Baldwin, who served as Managing Director of Ogletree Deakins from 2016-2020. Gerak will serve alongside Joseph Beachboard as co-Managing Director. In this role, he will be a member of the firm’s Board of Directors, and with Beachboard and Managing Shareholder Matt Keen make up the Executive Committee of the Board, responsible for the strategic direction and daily affairs of the firm.

Gerak joined Ogletree Deakins in 2009 and served as managing shareholder of the firm’s Cleveland office from 2012–2020. He focuses his practice on employment counseling, including employment policies and practices, reductions in force, executive hires/terminations, and issues arising out of mergers and acquisitions. Gerak also has significant experience handling complex employment litigation, including class and collective action litigation and non-compete matters. Gerak earned his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.B.A. from Fontbonne University. Prior to practicing law, Gerak played five years in the National Football League.

Giarratani joined Ogletree Deakins in 2017 and served as managing shareholder of the firm’s Austin office from 2017-2020. She has 15 years of experience in employment law counseling and litigation, including pay equity, whistleblower claims, and federal contractor/affirmative action compliance. Giarratani has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as a skilled advocate for her clients. Giarratani is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Texas Super Lawyers – Rising Stars and has been featured in Bloomberg BNA for her commitment to her clients. In 2016, Law360 recognized Giarratani as a Rising Star, one of only seven employment lawyers in the country to receive such a distinction. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Harvard University, both with honors.

Cheng joined Ogletree Deakins in 2006 and has practiced management-side labor and employment law in California for 17 years. He is a veteran litigator and has substantial experience advising employers in the areas of disability accommodation, complex and intersecting leave of absence and related benefits scenarios, wage and hour compliance and the development of documentary evidence regarding the same, designing large scale reductions in force, commissions and bonus disputes, drafting agreements (severance, executive, incentive plans, restrictive covenants, trade secret protection), providing employment-related advice during the due diligence phase (on behalf of buyers and sellers), employee discipline or terminations, drug testing, and managing and/or conducting workplace investigations. Cheng is the co-chair of the Ogletree Deakins Asian-American Attorneys Business Resource Group and serves on the San Francisco office’s hiring committee. He earned his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law and his B.A. from Purdue 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. Premier client service, as outlined in the firm’s Client Pledge, is one of the firm’s top priorities and a cornerstone of its core values. U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” has named Ogletree Deakins a “Law Firm of the Year” for nine consecutive years. In 2020, the publication named Ogletree Deakins its “Law Firm of the Year” in the Labor Law – Management and Litigation – ERISA categories. Ogletree Deakins has more than 900 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The firm represents a diverse range of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies. www.ogletree.com

Compliments of Ogletree Deakins, a Member of the EACCNY