El Paso

221 N. Kansas, Suite 1700
El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915.533.4424
Fax: 915.546.5360

Austin

919 Congress Ave., Suite 1305
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512.320.5466
Fax: 512.320.5431

Las Cruces

3800 E. Lohman Ave., Suite C
Las Cruces, NM 88011
Phone: 575.527.0023
Fax: 915.546.5360

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Clara (C.B.) Burns

clara.burns@kempsmith.com915.533.4424/915.546.5360
Email: clara.burns@kempsmith.com
Telephone: 915.533.4424 / Fax: 915.546.5360
Overview

 

Clara (C.B.) Burns is a Partner in and Chair of the Firm’s Labor and Employment Law Department. She is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is also licensed in New Mexico. C.B. represents employers in all aspects of workplace law, including advice and counseling, workplace investigations, handbook and policy reviews, and litigation defense of discrimination, discharge, and other employment matters in the federal and state courts of Texas and New Mexico and before numerous governmental agencies.

Some of C.B.’s recent successes include:

  • Defense verdicts in cases involving workers’ compensation retaliation, sexual harassment, and retaliation in El Paso County
  • A permanent injunction, a monetary judgment and an award of attorney’s fees on behalf of an employer in a non-compete case
  • Defense awards in employment arbitration cases on behalf of clients, including a national hospital company, a major retailer, a global manufacturer of automotive products, and a national manufacturer of food safety products, involving age, national origin, race, and sex discrimination claims and FMLA claims
  • Summary judgment on behalf of a regional banking operation in Bernalillo County (Albuquerque, NM) in a multi-plaintiff sex and age discrimination and breach of contract case
  • Representation of the Texas Association of Business, which along with other business associations, obtained an injunction in the Northern District of Texas against the United States Department of Labor from implementing its “Persuader Rule”
  • Successful argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in which the Court affirmed dismissal of state law discrimination claims against a federal contractor operating at Fort Bliss, Texas, based on the Federal Enclave Doctrine.
  • A reverse and render judgment by the Texas Supreme Court, unanimously reversing a jury verdict against an El Paso employer in a workers’ compensation retaliation lawsuit
  • Amici briefing before the Texas Supreme Court successfully advocating against extension of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act to existing Texas state law

In addition to her practice, C.B. is the editor of the Family and Medical Leave Act chapter in the Texas Association of Business’ Texas Employment Law Handbook, and the author of the Texas Human Resources Manual, published by the American Chamber of Commerce Resources. She also speaks frequently at national, state and local employment law seminars, including the annual Labor and Employment Advanced Practices Symposium and the University of Texas Labor and Employment Law Conference.

RECOGNITIONS

C.B. has been ranked in the top tier of Labor and Employment Lawyers in Texas by Chambers USA. Chambers USA has recognized her as an “indefatigable litigator who is very thorough, tenacious, and effective in jury and bench trials” and as a “phenomenal employment attorney.” She has been recognized as a Texas “Super Lawyer” and listed in Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers in America has selected her as a Lawyer of the Year for El Paso on several occasions, including as its Labor Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year” for 2017.

C.B. also has been quoted on employment law matters by a number of media outlets, including the PolitiFact Texas, the Waco Tribune, and El Paso Inc.



 


PRACTICE AREAS

Credentials

EDUCATION

  • Texas Tech University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1990
  • At Texas Tech, C.B. served as the Managing Editor of the Texas Tech Law Review and authored the comment, The Prima Face Case of Age Discrimination in Reduction-in-Force Layoffs: A Flexible Standard.
  • McMurry College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1987

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of New Mexico
  • El Paso Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Texas Association of Business
  • El Paso Society for Human Resource Management
  • Labor & Employment Law Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

BAR & COURT ADMISSIONS

  • Texas, 1990
  • New Mexico, 1994
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas and Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Board Certified, Labor and Employment Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Community

Professional & Civic Involvement

C.B. was the 2014-15 Chair of the State Bar of Texas Labor and Employment Law Section, and currently chairs the Texas Association of Business’ Employee Relations Committee. She is a member of the Management Labor and Employment Roundtable, and serves on the Labor and Employment Law Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

C.B. also has served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region, the Paso Del Norte Children’s Development Center, the YWCA of El Paso Foundation and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. She is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and is a graduate of Leadership El Paso.