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Virginia’s Go To Lawyers – Employment Law: Jonathan R. Mook

mook_jonathanJonathan R. Mook
Partner
DiMuroGinsberg PC
Alexandria

Education

BA, Lawrence University
JD, Yale Law School

Best known for:

Representing primarily employers in all aspects of employment law, with a concentration on the Americans with Disabilities Act, about which I have authored two legal treatises published by Lexis/Nexis: “ADA: Employee Rights & Employer Obligations” and “ADA: Public Accommodations & Commercial Facilities.”

Signature case or representation:

Working closely with in-house counsel of an automobile car manufacturer to develop policies and procedures to effectively handle employee ADA accommodation requests and to devise an effective litigation strategy to limit the focus of any lawsuit that might be filed so as to obtain summary judgment for the employer.

Other important cases:

  • Successfully resolved before the stroke of midnight (after a 15-hour mediation) the appeal of a multi-million dollar jury award in favor of an employee, where the employee at the last minute fired his appellate counsel and adamantly took the position that no settlement was possible.
  • Established on appeal the legal precedent that an employer could enforce its no moonlighting policy and terminate an employee who was on FMLA “bonding” leave to help care for his newborn child because the employee also performed other gainful work.
  • Convinced the trial court to dismiss an FMLA lawsuit on a motion in limine shortly before trial because the plaintiff employee could not establish at trial that she incurred any monetary damages.

Working with clients:

First and as an initial matter, determine and understand the ultimate objective or goal of the client. Second, discuss with the client how his or her conduct and actions in the matter would be viewed by others and, in particular, a judge or the jury. Third, dissuade a client from immediately rushing to court until there has been an opportunity to gather and digest the relevant facts, to fully analyze the law and to understand what one’s opponent will argue and to develop a successful response.

Best career advice:

  • Being a lawyer is to provide personal services to the client and to be responsive to the client’s needs and objectives.
  • The task of a lawyer is not merely to opine on the law; it is to provide considered advice as to how the client can successfully resolve the legal issues and obtain the client’s ultimate objective.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes and move on.
  • Pursue what interests you, not just what others think you should do, but also be flexible and open to new areas of the law even if they do not initially interest you.

Outlook for 2021:

In 2021 and beyond, employment lawyers will be dealing with the changes in the workplace that have arisen as a result not only of the COVID pandemic, but also of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the recognition that the impact of institutional racism is still being felt in the workplaces across the U.S. In the coming months, we shall be addressing the legal ramifications of distinctions between vaccinated/unvaccinated employees, the movement toward work from home as a more frequent accommodation, the push for increased workplace flexibility and a better home/work life balance. The impact of the racial justice movement will be no less profound with emphasis on the elimination of the institutional barriers that have hindered the creation of a fully equitable and inclusive workplace.