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Pamela M. Ploor featured in article “Q&A With Quarles & Brady’s Pamela Ploor”


Pamela M. Ploor is a partner with Quarles & Brady LLP in the firm's Milwaukee office. With nearly 20 years experience, she has worked with clients in the financial services, health care and manufacturing sectors. In addition to employment litigation, Ploor advises federal contractors concerning affirmative action and during audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, state and federal leave laws, and electronic workplace issues, including social media. She is listed in Chambers USA and was twice named a BTI Client Service All Star.

Q: What is the most challenging case you have worked on and what made it challenging?

A: The most challenging case is not the matter with the weakest legal position, but one with the most obstructionist opposing counsel who fights about everything no matter how insignificant or nonprejudicial the issue. In one such case, an obstreperous opposing counsel's secretary and paralegal were part of a criminal fraud ring. They used information from litigation matters to commit fraud — all unknown to opposing counsel until they went "on the lamb" when police were closing in on them.

Q: What aspects of your practice area are in need of reform and why?

A: In this day and age, there should be a way for outside counsel to be admitted to practice law and appear in court other than getting admitted pro hac vice or undergoing the extensive "waiving in" process in a state with bar reciprocity. More and more, employers have employees located across the United States and they want their employment lawyers who know their business and operations to be able to more easily represent them in all locations. There are areas of commonality in employment law and litigation practice across the United States. That commonality and proof of experience and competency should form the basis for some multistate admission or admission in specific substantive areas.

Q: What is an important issue or case relevant to your practice area and why?

A: Employers are awaiting final regulations of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which is part of the Department of Labor. Its latest regulatory agenda provided that OFCCP plans to issue final rules that for the first time would require federal contractors to set hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. The agenda also indicated that OFCCP plans to issue final regulations establishing a 7 percent goal for individuals with disabilities. The departure of the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and key officials of the Obama administration involved in approving new regulations could delay the issuance of the regulations. If the regulations are issued consistent with the main points of the proposed regulations, federal contractors would have significant new recordkeeping, outreach, recruitment and related obligations.

Q: Outside your own firm, name an attorney in your field who has impressed you and explain why.

A: A lawyer working in the field of employment law who has impressed me is Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, although for reasons other than her legal scholarship. Sotomayor's rise to the country's highest court from her humble beginnings is inspiring. She is a testament to what hard work, intelligence and perseverance can achieve. She has stated that serving as a role model is the most important thing she will do. In her memoir My Beloved World, Justice Sotomayor discloses her fears and insecurities, how she overcame them, and in so doing, provides lessons that are useful to nonlawyers and lawyers alike.

Q: What is a mistake you made early in your career and what did you learn from it?

A: Early in my career, I thought working hard, being thorough and doing good work were sufficient. As I progressed, I learned those attributes were important, but the harder part was developing the judgment to be efficient and practical with an eye toward a client's assessment of value. The "holy grail" of practicing law at a large law firm is providing client service in a way that provides value — which is very different than billing hours. A successful and wise adviser knows when not to "turn over all stones" and how to maximize the work within the client's expectation of value.

Originally published in Law360, April 5, 2013