Jennifer E. Edwards

She | Her | Hers

Partner

Columbus
T +1.614.462.2602
F +1.614.462.2616

Overview

Jenni Edwards is frequently called upon by senior executives in the public and private sectors to advise on high-stakes employment issues. Her strategic vision and creative problem-solving skills are an asset when negotiating collective bargaining agreements, developing litigation strategy and investigating complaints of misconduct, especially against C-suite members. Jenni excels in navigating the “gray areas” of the law and partners with clients to develop common sense, business-focused plans, including for long-term compliance strategies, in litigation and arbitrations, throughout labor and settlement negotiations, and in day-to-day employment issues.

Jenni serves the firm as the Chair of the Women’s Committee, on the firm’s Diversity Council, as the Associate Development Partner for the Labor and Employment Group, and as the Office Leader for the Columbus Inclusion and Diversity Committee. In these roles, she works with firm leadership to develop critical strategic initiatives, facilitates connections between and among her colleagues across the firm, and supports the advancement of the firm’s women and diverse attorneys as well as the associates in the Labor and Employment Group.

Select Experience

Internal Investigations

  • Lead investigator in workplace investigations, including into hostile work environment race and sex-based allegations against a C-suite executive of a Fortune 650 company, allegations of bullying and retaliation against a C-suite executive of a Fortune 500 company, allegations of misconduct with certain patients against a partner in a physician practice group, allegations of sexual harassment brought by a General Counsel against other C-suite executives, allegations of race discrimination against a Chief Financial Officer and other finance department leaders, and allegations of public sector ethics law violations against a former CEO.

Traditional Labor

  • Lead negotiator for public sector bargaining units ranging from approximately 40 to 2,000 members. Support lead negotiator with additional public sector bargaining units with as many as 3,500 members. Experienced understanding of the specific challenges presented in public safety contracts.

Litigation and Appellate Advocacy

  • Obtained a full defense verdict as lead counsel after a five-day federal jury trial of nine claims raised by a former employee of a company with over $1 billion in annual revenue, including age discrimination and breach of contract claims, requiring the trial testimony of the CEO, the recently-retired CFO, a senior vice president of human resources and two vice presidents with operational responsibilities, and after successfully obtaining an adverse jury instruction against the plaintiff for her failure to mitigate her damages due to spoliation of evidence.
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Experience

Internal Investigations

  • Lead investigator in workplace investigations, including into hostile work environment race and sex-based allegations against a C-suite executive of a Fortune 650 company, allegations of bullying and retaliation against a C-suite executive of a Fortune 500 company, allegations of misconduct with certain patients against a partner in a physician practice group, allegations of sexual harassment brought by a General Counsel against other C-suite executives, allegations of race discrimination against a Chief Financial Officer and other finance department leaders, and allegations of public sector ethics law violations against a former CEO.
  • Team lead in employment-related investigations of dozens of citizen complaints alleging use of excessive force by police officers during protests over the summer of 2020. Coordinated team of nine investigators and additional support staff, collection and review of several terabytes of data and the completion of 49 reports.

Traditional Labor

  • Lead negotiator for public sector bargaining units ranging from approximately 40 to 2,000 members. Support lead negotiator with additional public sector bargaining units with as many as 3,500 members. Experienced understanding of the specific challenges presented in public safety contracts.
  • Represent public sector entities in fact-finding and conciliation hearings.
  • Advised Columbus Civilian Review Board Working Group on labor-related issues during public meetings.

Litigation and Appellate Advocacy

  • Obtained a full defense verdict as lead counsel after a five-day federal jury trial of nine claims raised by a former employee of a company with over $1 billion in annual revenue, including age discrimination and breach of contract claims, requiring the trial testimony of the CEO, the recently-retired CFO, a senior vice president of human resources and two vice presidents with operational responsibilities, and after successfully obtaining an adverse jury instruction against the plaintiff for her failure to mitigate her damages due to spoliation of evidence.
  • Lead defense counsel in federal litigation under the Railway Labor Act and Stored Communications Act brought by pilots union alleging novel claims of interference with employee rights and retaliation for alleged protected activity.
  • Argued in front of the Ohio Supreme Court regarding a novel issue of statutory interpretation of Ohio’s public-sector labor law. Various oral arguments on other employment-related issues in appellate issues in state court.
  • Lead counsel in Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services arbitration brought against construction company by union engaged in ongoing litigation in front of the National Labor Relations Board. Matter related to union efforts to expand its jurisdiction over certain types of work, allegations that the company assigned its work to a rival union, and whether the parties actually agreed to resolve issues through grievance and arbitration.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Recommended in Labor and Employment Disputes (including collective actions): Defense (2016, 2019 to 2020)
    • Recommended in Labor-Management Relations (2017, 2021)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Ohio: Employment Law – Management (2018 to Present)
    • Ohio: Labor Law  – Management (2019 to Present)
  • Corporate Counsel Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards, Honoree for Collaborative Leadership (2019)
  • Ohio Super Lawyer "Rising Star" (2009 to 2011, 2015 to 2017)
  • Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association, Pacesetter Award (2018)
  • Ohio Diversity Council, Leadership Excellence (2017)

Memberships

  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association
  • National Public Employer Labor Relations Association

Community

  • Gender Equity in the Legal Industry: Founding Member
  • Columbus Police Foundation, Board of Directors: President (2018 to 2021), Member (2017 to present)
  • Leadership Columbus Class of 2016
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio: Board of Trustees 
  • The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law Mentoring and More @ Moritz Program: Mentor (2013 to 2014)
  • Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program: Mentor (2017 to present)

Prior Positions

  • Regional Transit Authority: Senior Legal Counsel (2011 to 2013)
  • Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP: Associate (2005 to 2011),  Senior Associate (2011)
  • The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law: Adjunct Professor (2008, 2012)
  • The University of Texas School of Law: Teaching Quizmaster and Section Representative (2003 to 2005)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2008
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2006
  • Ohio, 2005

Education

  • J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 2005
  • B.A., Justice and Secondary Education, American University, 1999, cum laude