When companies face their most existential, human capital and global workforce management issues, Ian Carleton Schaefer is the lawyer they consistently want in the board room. Whether investigating allegations of harassment by senior management, advising on major corporate restructurings, or facilitating complex C-suite transitions through executive compensation and employee relations strategies, Ian’s practical, no-nonsense, business-enabling, and results-driven approach transforms challenging legal issues into impactful, business solutions.
Ian is highly sought after to design and deliver memorable, high-profile and innovative workplace trainings covering anti-harassment/non-discrimination, bystander intervention, and diversity, equity and inclusion for executive leadership, senior management and large-scale employee workforces.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and employers consistently look to Ian for counsel on COVID-19 company policies, including workplace safety plans, vaccine mandates, testing programs and post-pandemic return-to-office plans, among other related matters. He is also highly sought after by numerous media publications – including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Politico, Washington Examiner, Bloomberg Law and Law360 – as a go-to source with respect to cutting edge issues impacting the modern workplace.
Fortune 500 companies, professional sports leagues and member clubs, media giants, performing arts organizations, financial and professional services institutions and emerging companies alike all turn to Ian for his “Go-To Thought Leadership” (National Law Review) and innovative solutions to enrich their workplaces. Blending nearly two decades of practice in labor and employment law with his salient in-house counsel perspective, and coupled with his appreciation of the human experience, Ian takes pride in helping employers anticipate and respond to the impact of world events, social justice movements (#MeToo; BLM; Pay Equity), and an ever-evolving legal and digital landscape. Viewing thorny legal situations through the prism of business opportunity, Ian partners with employers to realize their strategic visions and become best in class people-organizations.
Prior to joining Loeb & Loeb, Ian was a partner and a member of several international law firms, where among other accomplishments, he served as co-leader of his practice group, and co-authored the successful briefs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, a decision which modified 35 years of labor law.
During this time, Ian also served as outside-inside counsel for a decade as the Head of Employment Law for BT Americas Inc. (BT), a subsidiary of British Telecommunications plc, where he was responsible for management and oversight of all litigation and workforce management matters in the United States and Canada.
A classically trained musician and an advocate for arts education, particularly in underserved communities, Ian is a Member of the Board of Directors of Jazz at Lincoln Center (Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director) and a Trustee (and alumnus) of the New York Youth Symphony.
Select examples of Ian’s prior firm experience include:
- During the height of #MeToo, successfully lead the investigation and resolution of a potentially explosive claim against a C-suite executive of a publicly traded technology company alleging sexual harassment and sexual assault without any resultant litigation or public relations exposure.
- Served as principal employment counsel to guide a global telecommunications company undergoing a multi-year, global workforce restructuring and organizational redesign, implicating issues of reductions in force and the WARN Act, wage and hour classification and reclassification, pay equity, executive compensation and employee benefit plan design, all with significant public relations, economic and employee relations implications.
- In response to the COVID-19 crisis, partnered with a world-class performing arts organization based in New York City to draft and design their Reopening Guide and operating manual in compliance with rapidly evolving health and safety and production guidelines.
- Designed and delivered dozens of cutting-edge anti-harassment/non-discrimination and professionalism trainings to a professional sports leagues and several member clubs throughout the United States, a program which has subsequently been adapted and deployed to employers across industries and used to train hundreds of thousands of employees globally.
- For a professional sports league, designed and implemented complex executive transition strategies in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia, leading in the drafting and negotiation of transition agreements for scores of C-suite executives over a multi-year period, all while maintaining operational continuity.
- For a professional sports league, investigated the investigators making cross claims of bullying, discrimination and harassment concurrent with an ongoing, high-profile investigation of a third-party.
- Fordham University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, Symposium Editor, Fordham Urban Law Journal
- Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, B.S.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- New York
- Recognized by The National Law Review as a “Go-To Thought Leader in Employment Law” (2020)
- Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Employment Law – Management (2019, 2022 and 2023)
- Recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the areas of Workplace and Employment Counseling (2016-2019); Labor and Employment Disputes (including Collective Actions): Defense (2018-2019); and Sports (2022)
- Recognized by New York Metro Rising Stars in the area of Employment & Labor (2011, 2013-2019)
- Member, International Labor & Employment Law Section, American Bar Association
- Trustee & General Counsel, New York Youth Symphony
- Member of the Board of Directors, Jazz at Lincoln Center (Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director)