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Alana K. Ackels

Alana Ackels has extensive experience helping clients with complex litigation and employment matters across the country. Selected by her peers as a Super Lawyer Texas Rising Star® since 2015, Alana handles trials, arbitrations and administrative proceedings in industries including: retail, restaurant, assisted living, telecommunications, health care, oil and gas, debt servicing, and insurance.

Alana defends employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and unpaid wages. She also litigates matters involving non-compete agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets. Alana represents employers in challenges to employee benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act (ERISA). Alana also prepares injury benefit plans for employers who choose not to subscribe to workers compensation in the State of Texas, and litigates non-subscriber negligence cases for those employers when workers allege they were injured on the job.

Alana spends much of her time consulting with clients on ways they can minimize risk in their handling of labor and employment matters. She drafts employee handbooks, assists employers in terminations of employment, coaches businesses on how to navigate leaves of absence, and audits companies for compliance with wage and hour laws. She regularly provides training seminars for management and human resources professionals on a wide range of labor and employment topics.

In addition to her labor and employment litigation practice, Alana also handles general breach of contract business disputes, business divorces, fraud and misrepresentation cases, tortious interference claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and insurance coverage matters.


  • J.D., cum laude, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 2009
  • B.A., English and Spanish, cum laude, Southern Methodist University, 2006
Representative Matters
  • Won a favorable arbitration award on behalf of a national retailer in a case involving allegations of age and disability discrimination.
  • Obtained favorable results on behalf of a national assisted living facility in various labor and employment matters.
  • Obtained temporary restraining order and temporary injunction on behalf of software telecommunication company against former employee in a misappropriation of trade secrets matter.
  • As a member of a post-trial team, obtained a judgment of over $7 million against a national bank on behalf of one of its corporate trust beneficiaries.
  • Successfully enforced employer arbitration agreements in both federal court and state appellate courts.
Representative Opinions
  • Fernandes v. Dillard’s Inc., 997 F.Supp.2d 607 (S.D. Tex 2014)
  • Named to D Magazine's "Best Lawyers Under 40 in Dallas" List, 2018
  • Selected by attorney peers as a Texas Rising Star®, Texas Monthly, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Proficient in Spanish
Activities & Memberships
  • Mentor for the Dallas Association of Women Lawyers
  • Dallas Young Lawyers Association Women's Mentoring Circle
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • The Bell Nunnally Women's Initiative
  • Women With Promise
  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
  • Alana is a Founders Circle member of yCPD, a community of men and women dedicated to assisting Community Partners of Dallas in enriching the lives of abused and neglected children in the Dallas area.
Publications & Presentations
  • “Trick Question: How Do You Classify a Gig Worker?” Texas Lawyer, November 2, 2017.
  • 2015 Labor and Employment Law Client Alert
  • “6 Factors for Determining Whether a Worker Is an Independent Contractor,” Texas Lawyer, April 6, 2015.
  • Employer Takeaways from High Court’s Hobby Lobby Ruling,” Law 360, July 10, 2014.

Please contact Alana if you are interested in her presenting to your company on these or other labor and employment topics.
  • Management Training – Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • Navigating Leaves of Absence Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) & Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Social Media in the Workplace
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Guidance on Overtime Exemptions, Salary Deductions, Work Hours, and Independent Contractors