Susan has an unusual legal background: she works as an employment law practitioner, corporate attorney, and commercial litigator, an exceptionally broad range of skills. In essence, she serves as an outside General Counsel to her clients, which range from start-ups and non-profits to long-established national government contractors. She describes her key focus with clients as working to evaluate and minimize the inevitable risks they face as entrepreneurs and business owners.
As an employment law practitioner, she assists in the preparation of employment manuals and policies, business ethics policies, proprietary rights and noncompete agreements, documenting performance issues, drafting and implementing performance improvement plans, and when necessary assisting with employment terminations. When needed she defends clients against unemployment claims, wage claims, and discrimination claims before regulatory agencies(EEOC, local human rights commissions) and in state and federal courts. Susan values opportunities to work with clients on a proactive basis with the hopes that the understanding of and compliance with laws will result in the avoidance of or better positions when defending lawsuits and charges. She, therefore, counsels clients on compliance with applicable federal wage laws (FLSA, Davis Beacon, Service Contract Act) and state wage and hour laws, federal leave laws (FMLA) and state leave laws (Maryland and District of Columbia Paid Leave Laws). She offers training to her clients in these areas. In addition to working with companies, Susan represents C-level managers in the negotiation of executive employment agreements and compensation and separation packages.
As a corporate attorney, Susan functions in the role of outside counsel and contracts attorney. She prepares and reviews teaming agreements, prime and subcontracts, software development and licensing agreements, software as services agreements, sales representative agreements, independent contractor and consulting agreements, and non-disclosure agreements. She works with clients from start-up to finish performing business formation services and drafting buy-sell agreements, shareholder agreements, operating agreements, purchase and sale agreements and drafting of succession planning agreements.
As a commercial litigator, Susan has tried cases covering all of her areas of expertise from cases involving employment law to disputes involving closely held business matters (shareholder dissolution suits, dissociation actions, and derivative actions) to breaches of commercial contracts and restrictive covenant agreements.
Ms. Salen is a frequent lecturer for National Business Institutes in the areas of employment law, trial advocacy, business contracts, and ethics. She was a member of the faculty of Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course. She has also been a lecturer on employment law for the Virginia Bar Continuing Legal Education program, and for the Community Associations Institute.
News & Publications
• It’s Time to Stop Reimbursing Employees on a Tax-Free Basis for Individual Health Insurance Premiums (July 2015)
• Crude Comments Alone May Create An Actionable Hostile Work Environment (January 2015)
• District of Columbia Enacts New Law Providing Increased Protections for Pregnant Workers and Nursing Mothers (November 2014)
• Keeping Employees’ Emails and Phones (KEEP) Secure Act Virginia’s New Worker Privacy Law Takes Effect July 1 (July 2013)
• Promulgation and Enforcement of Policies Prohibiting Unlawful Harassment (including Sexual Harassment) Is Not Only Good “Policy,” but is an Employer’s Best Defense (July 2013)
• The Fair Labor Standards Act and Internships and Why Most Interns Must Be Paid (July 2013)
• Why Is A Federal Estate Tax Case Before The United States Supreme Court Important To Employers? (March 2013)
• New Federal I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) (March 2013)
• Are Your Sex Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Policies and Practices Up to Date? (March 2013)
• Speaker, “Recent Developments in State and Federal Employment Law,” September 2019, NBI seminar, “Employment Law: Advanced Issues and Answers”
• Speaker, "Human Resource Law: What You Need to Know Now", National Business Institute (October 2017)
• Co-Speaker, "Business Contracts: Top 10 Most Costly Mistakes", National Business Institute (October 2017)
• Speaker, "Voir Dire and Jury Selection", National Business Institute (August 2017)
• Speaker, "Human Resource Law from A to Z", National Business Institute (February 2017)
• Speaker, "Drafting Basic Employment Agreements in Virginia", Virginia CLE tele-seminar (July 2011)
• Speaker, “Employment Laws Made Simple”, NBI Seminar (July 2012)• Key speaker, “Managing in the Workplace”, Community Associations Institute (February 2012)
• Co-presenter, “Applying the Rules of Evidence”, NBI Seminar (September 2013)
• Speaker, "Estate Planning When There Is an Addict in the Family," through CARON (January, 2015)
• Co-faculty, “Employment Law: 2015 Comprehensive Guide”, presented by NBI (February, 2015)
• Speaker, "Estate Planning When There Is an Addict in the Family," through CARON, January, 2015
Chair, Employment Law Group
Member of many business and employment law organizations, including The Society of Human Resource Management, Success In the City and the Women Lawyers’ Alliance
Named to the “Top Lawyers” list for Landlord/Tenant Law by Northern Virginia Magazine (2011, 2016)
Barred in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia state and federal courts
Peer-rated 'distinguished' by Martindale-Hubbell, 2011.
Named one of the area's "Women Leaders in the Law" in the Washington POST Sunday Magazine (March 2012)