Connie N. Bertram
For over thirty years, Connie has represented employers, boards and individual owners and executives in transactions and disputes, including matters involving executive employment and equity agreements, non-competes, non-solicits and other post-employment restrictions, trade secrets, “business divorces,” and confidential internal investigations.
Clients reported to Chambers & Partners USA, the leading international rating organization, that Connie:
- “. . . is an all-around leader” and “is extraordinary in every way;”
- “is persistent, knowledgeable, thorough, well-spoken and efficient;”
- is “an amazing attorney, with a brilliant, quick mind . . . She is like an encyclopedia . . . so seasoned in the law that her advice is always spot-on and practical;”
Connie has litigated complex contract, tort, trade secret, restrictive covenant, discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims across the United States. Connie has served as lead counsel in some of the most challenging and hotly contested litigation matters in the country. She has the experience and skills to tailor her prosecution or defense to the needs of her clients, from conciliatory to “pit bull.”
Connie has litigated complex contract, harassment, discrimination, whistleblower, trade secret and restrictive covenant litigation across the United States, including claims brought under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Dodd-Frank, the False Claims Act (FCA), and other federal and state employment and whistleblower provisions. Connie has served as lead counsel in some of the most challenging and hotly contested litigation matters in the country. She has the experience and skills to tailor her prosecution or defense to the needs of her clients, from conciliatory to “pit bull.”
A frequent speaker on a variety of labor and employment, litigation and compliance issues, Connie regularly speaks at programs, seminars and training conferences concerning the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Dodd-Frank, whistleblower policies and investigations, and the development and use of forensic data in litigation. She presents at national conferences and conventions concerning these and other topics, including American Bar Association Annual Conferences. She has been quoted on these and other topics by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Legal Times, Compliance Weekly, Law360, Corporate Counsel, Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Business Week, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and Human Resources Executive.
Connie is the author of Sarbanes-Oxley: A New Whistle Stop for Whistleblowers published in the Labor Lawyer. Connie has been named a top employment lawyer or litigator by Benchmark, Legal 500, The American Lawyer, Washington Business Journal, Washingtonian, Legal Times and National Law Journal. She has been individually ranked by Chambers & Partners USA, the preeminent attorney research and ranking company, every year since 2009. In 2023, she was ranked in the top ten employment litigators in D.C. by Chambers & Partners USA. She authored chapters regarding employment law for the D.C. Bar Manual and for over fifteen years, she has been the editor of the leading blog in the country concerning employment and compliance developments.
Curious, creative, pragmatic. To Connie and her team, litigation and internal investigations are like a challenging puzzle that needs to be sorted, organized, and put together piece by piece. That process involves not only strong legal and analytical skills, but an understanding of technology, psychology, and human nature. What is the core of the dispute? How did the relationship go awry? What are the motivations behind both sides? The team's curiosity and creativity differentiate them from more linear, cookie-cutter approaches.
- Representing UK-based executive after go-private transaction, resulting in the payment of over $8 million in severance, bonuses and value of equity.
- Represented C-Suite executive of one of the world’s largest banks negotiate an exit package involving substantial severance and equity.
- Investigated and resolved sexual harassment allegations of a female Senior Vice President of a major non-profit in Florida who threatened to report false allegations to the media and Congress. Her claims were successfully resolved after the investigation revealed that the SVP had colluded with another executive to concoct and assert false claims to extort from the organization.
- Represented C-suite executive of investment and brokerage firm in post-change in control transition that resulted in payments and equity totaling over $8 million.
- Represented six senior executives (individually) of a large Atlanta-based company who were terminated or resigned in connection with acquisitions and restructurings.
- Negotiated on behalf of seven senior executives of one of the largest federal contractors substantial separation and equity packages in connection with restructurings and individual separations.
- Represented several ex-pats based in Germany and the UK in resolving tax equalization and equity disputes.
- Represented international private property developer in litigation challenging distribution of partnership proceeds for multi-family housing developments.
- Represented a group of executives in the US and Middle East of a large, publicly-traded government contractor in negotiations concerning their terminations in connection with an ERISA-regulated severance plan adopted following an acquisition.
- Defending manufacturer based in Massachusetts in Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower action in proceedings before OSHA and district court and on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
- Successfully represented a Chicago-based Fortune 50 food distributor in multi-jurisdiction litigation prosecuting claims for trade secret theft, breach of contract and breach of the duty of loyalty while also defending numerous claims. Additionally defended claims under Sarbanes-Oxley and the False Claims Act involving executives’ efforts to set up the CEO for termination.
- Obtained dismissal of whistleblower claims of an employee of a major government contractor by asserting defenses and claims (resulting in monetary sanctions) based on the former employee’s misconduct in Afghanistan, including the theft of trade secrets, spoliation of evidence and conversion of property.
- Successfully defended a DC-based international investment fund against claims by a CEO in the UAE alleging wrongful discharge and contract claims and successfully asserted counterclaims for theft and trade secrets.
- Represented a Virginia-based government contractor in False Claims Act whistleblower action pending in federal court, resulting in dismissal and monetary sanctions against the plaintiff based on his spoliation of evidence in discovery.
- Represented a major DC-based employer in an action by in-house counsel alleging gender discrimination and retaliation, prevailing on summary judgment and obtaining an award of sanctions.
- Represented a major New Hampshire-based government contractor in False Claims Act and trade secret litigation in federal court, obtaining summary judgment, a significant damages award, and an award of sanctions.
- Chambers USA: District of Columbia: Labor and Employment 2009-2023
- “Top Rated Lawyer” Labor & Employment Edition, by The American Lawyer 2023
- Washingtonian Lifetime Achievement Award, 2023
- American Bar Association Fellow, 2021-2023
- “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” Benchmark Litigation, 2019-2023
- Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, 2000-2023
- Washington, DC Super Lawyers 2008-2023
- The “Leading Lawyer” in Labor & Employment, Legal Times
- “National Litigation Star” and “National Labor & Employment Star”, Benchmark 2022
- Top Author and Readers’ Choice, JD Supra 2016-2020
- “Go-To Thought Leader,” Government Contracts, National Law Review, 2019
- The Legal 500 United States: Labor and Employment, 2013-2018
- “Top Washington Lawyer - Employment Litigation,” Washington Business Journal 2009
- “Top Washington Lawyer - Employment,” Washingtonian Magazine 2004-2017