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Alana K. Ackels
Biography

Alana Ackels advises employers on how to minimize risk, protect their businesses, and navigate the multitude of state and federal laws governing the employer-employee relationship. She prepares employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-competition agreements, employee handbooks, and other policies that mitigate risk for employers. She also prepares injury benefit plans for employers who choose to opt out of workers compensation in Texas, and she manages the plan roll-out for companies that go non-subscriber.


Licensed in Texas and California, she has extensive experience litigating disputes in state and federal courts and arbitration. Selected by her peers as a Super Lawyer Texas Rising Star every year since 2015, she routinely defends employers in claims involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage and hour claims; trade secret litigation; and non-compete matters. Ackels also litigates complex business disputes, non-subscriber negligence claims, certain employee benefit challenges under ERISA, and insurance coverage disputes.

Alana spends much of her time counseling clients on ways they can minimize risk in their handling of labor and employment matters. She assists employers in terminations of employment, provides strategic advice for successful corporate transitions, manages reductions in force, 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.   

Education

  • 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.
  • 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 federal courts and state appellate courts.
Representative Opinions
  • Fernandes v. Dillard’s Inc., 997 F.Supp.2d 607 (S.D. Tex 2014)
Noteworthy
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2019.
  • 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, Dallas Young Lawyers Association Women’s Mentoring Circles
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Steering Committee, Bell Nunnally Women’s Initiative
  • Board Member, Women With Promise
  • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Publications & Presentations
Publications:
  • “Trick Question: How Do You Classify a Gig Worker?” Texas Lawyer, November 2, 2017.
  • “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
  • Labor and Employment Client Alerts
Presentations:

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