Alison Reif provides practical and efficient business-oriented counseling and advice on managing all aspects of a company’s relationship with its employees. This includes providing counsel on hiring and employment agreements, terminations and RIFs, disability and leave issues, wage and hour compliance and audits, harassment investigations, employment and severance agreements, employee handbooks and policies, non-competition, and other post-employment restrictions, independent contractor arrangements, employee classifications, and virtually all other issues facing modern employers.
A seasoned negotiator, Alison specializes in finding workable, real world solutions to accomplish business objectives, avoid legal liability, and remain consistent with a company’s culture. She has a nationwide practice, with a sweet spot of mid-sized companies. She is routinely called on to advise international companies, particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada, who are starting operations in the United States and require assistance in navigating local labor laws. She also serves as counsel to a number of independent schools in the New England area.
Alison has successfully represented companies in more than fifty lawsuits brought by their employees, involving a wide variety of claims.
Alison is a member of Choate’s Executive Committee.
- Best Lawyers in America (2015-2024)
- Chambers USA (2019-2023)
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers
- The Legal 500 (2021-2023)
- Successfully counseled large and small employers through complex situations involving employee disability and leave issues, employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, violations of non-competition agreements, and discrimination and harassment allegations.
- Conducted multiple external investigations for Fortune 500 and smaller companies into allegations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
- Provided training to client’s management team on compliance with various employment laws, including harassment, discrimination, and leave laws. Drafted employee handbooks and employment agreements for compliance across multiple states.
- Negotiated multiple complex employment agreements and separation agreements on behalf of executives and employers.
- Successfully represented departing executive and new company in litigation over noncompetition agreement.
- Conducted external audits of companies for compliance with Equal Pay Acts.
- Successfully represented large national company in Department of Labor audit regarding employee classifications, resulting in full dismissal of charges.
- Represented large medical products manufacturer in complex federal court litigation involving “whistleblower” claim.
- Obtained full defense verdict in trial before the Massachusetts Commission against discrimination of sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
- Represented major insurance company in arbitration over change-in-control severance benefits.
Presentations and Publications
- "Diversity and Harassment in the Workplace: Current Trends and Best Practices," presenter, Boston Private Venture and Private Equity Conference, June 2018.
- "Key Employment Law Principles for Companies Entering the U.S.," presenter, Travers Smith London Seminar, October 2017.
- “Navigating Non-Compete Agreements: a Board Primer,” moderator, Stybel Peabody & Associates' Seat at the Table.
- "Severance Agreements and Considerations," presenter.
- "Massachusetts CORI Reform and Personnel File Law Update," presenter, Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals Association Cape Cod Meeting.
- “Best Practices for a Reduction in Force: A Basic Checklist,” co-author, Employee Relations Law Journal.
- “Massachusetts Legislation Requires Implementation of Electronic Data Protection Policies and Procedures,” panelist, Duff & Phelps Panel Discussion.
- "Employment Law for U.S. Startups," presenter, Swiss House for Advanced Research and Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
- “New Guidance Issued on ADA’s Association Provision,” Boston Business Journal.
- “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventing Employee Theft and Fraud,” co-author, Massachusetts Bar Association Section Review.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Member of the Labor and Employment Sections of the Massachusetts Bar Association
- Boston Bar Association
- Served on the Board of Directors for Greater Boston Legal Services
- Member of Choate’s Pro Bono Committee
- Member of the A Cappella Singers
Education & Credentials
- Stanford Law School
- JD, 1997
- Oberlin College
- BA, 1993, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
District of Massachusetts
U.S. Supreme Court
Best Lawyers in America® has recognized 43 Choate attorneys in its 2024 edition, including naming 4 partners as Lawyer of the Year in Boston for their respective practice areas.
The 2023 edition of The Legal 500 recognized 29 Choate attorneys in their respective fields and 12 practice areas, with education and middle-market M&A receiving Tier 1 rankings.
The 2023 edition of Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognized 16 practice areas and 31 Choate attorneys as leading counsel in their fields, with six receiving Band 1 rankings, three receiving nationwide recognition, two global recognitions, and two senior statesmen.
On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a new rule that, if enacted, would virtually abolish employee non-compete agreements in the United States. The proposed rule would prohibit employers from entering into any agreements with employees or individual independent contractors that “effectively preclude the worker from working in the same field” as the employer.
Best Lawyers in America® has recognized 49 Choate attorneys in its 2023 edition, including naming co-managing partner William Gelnaw a Lawyer of the Year.