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J. Walker Coleman IV

Walker Coleman is the managing partner of the firm's Charleston office, and a partner in the firm's Labor, Employment, and Workplace Safety practice. He also serves on the firm's global Advisory Council. He is an experienced litigator who primarily litigates complex employment, labor, restrictive covenant, and trade secret misappropriation disputes. He has significant class and collective action experience. He also litigates business and product defect disputes, represents companies in government investigations, and represents domestic and international companies in connection with economic development projects in South Carolina and throughout the United States.

Walker has successfully handled cases for numerous local, national, and international companies in industries including: athletic equipment, automotive, aerospace, beverage, broadcast media, chemical, computer software, construction, defense, energy, entertainment, environmental, financial services, government contracts, health care, health care diagnostics, intellectual property, manufacturing, maritime, medical laboratory testing, medical device, paper and packaging, plumbing fixtures, pharmaceutical, retail, resort and hospitality, restaurant, shipping, snack food, steel, telecommunications, textiles, and trucking.

Walker's labor and employment practice primarily consists of defending companies in litigation relating to employment discrimination, all forms of harassment, wage and hour, wrongful termination, trade secret misappropriation, restrictive covenant enforcement, and unfair labor practices. He also represents companies when the government comes knocking at their door. He also routinely counsels employers on leave issues, positive and legally viable employment practices, reductions in force and plant closings, the sale and acquisition of domestic and foreign businesses, executive terminations and severance packages, and union avoidance. Walker has successfully represented numerous employers before the EEOC, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and the S.C. Department of Labor, Licenses and Regulation.

In the product defect area, Walker has defended numerous domestic and international medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in defective product and bad drug cases.

In the business disputes area, Walker routinely litigates claims of, among others, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, fraud, civil conspiracy, defamation, and breach of fiduciary duties.

In the economic development area, Walker assists companies with myriad tax and other incentive arrangements, all employment-related issues, and all immigration-related issues. 

Highly regarded in his field, Walker has been recognized by his peers and corporate counsel as a leader in the labor and employment practice area through his inclusion in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and the South Carolina Super Lawyers list for almost fifteen years.

Prior to going to law school, Walker served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, ultimately attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Prior to joining K&L Gates, Walker was a partner at two other regional law firms.

  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Labor & Employment in Charleston, 2010-2023
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law-Management; Litigation-Labor and Employment in Charleston, since 2012
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America® in Charleston
    • Employment Law-Management, 2021
    • Litigation-Labor and Employment, 2022 in Charleston
  • Named to South Carolina Super Lawyers list, 2009-2010 and 2013-2016
  • Charleston Business Magazine's Legal Elite - Corporate Investigations and Labor & Employment, since 2017
  • Litigation Counsel of America, since 2020
  • Martindale Hubbell, AV Preeminent, Peer Review Rating, since 2000
  • Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Board of Directors, 2012-present
  • Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Executive Committee, 2016-2018
  • Porter-Gaud School, Board of Trustees, 2011-2019; Chairman 2019-2022
  • Chairman, Clemson University, Accounting, Finance, and Legal Studies Board of Directors, 2010-2016
  • Clemson University Senior Advisory Board of Directors, 2012-2019
  • Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2007-2015
  • Defense Research Institute, Panel Counsel Committee Chair and South Carolina Liaison, Employment Law Committee, 2005-2011
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Board of Directors, Mid-Atlantic Chapter, 2003-2008
  • Leadership Charleston, Class of 1996
  • Defense Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • Charleston Metro Chamber: Labor Climate Outlook
  • Mebane Surgery Center: Professional Conduct Training
  • South Carolina & Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers Annual Meeting: FMLA and ADA Update
  • Self Regional Healthcare: Professional Conduct Training
  • Roper St. Francis Healthcare: Professional Conduct Training
  • South Carolina Federal Credit Union: Harassment & Diversity Training
  • Lowcountry Manufacturer’s Counsel: Hot Wage & Hour Issues
  • Home Depot USA: Image & Appearance Based Discrimination
  • SC Home Care Association Leadership Conference: Employment Law Highlights
  • Myrtle Beach Hospitality Association: How to Legally Control Overtime
  • Lorman Education Services: FMLA – Tips and Traps
  • Coastal Organization of Human Resources: Workplace Violence
  • National Restaurant Association: Costs of Employment Litigation
  • Coastal Organization of Human Resources: Proper Use of Employee Handbooks
  • Charleston Tri-County Human Resources Management Association: Conducting Internal Investigations
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
  • Association of Corporate Counsel South Carolina: Playing it Safe: Corporate Counsel’s Role in Reopening Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2021
  • Defense Research Institute: Employment Litigation Handbook: Post-Trial Motions, 2011
  • Charleston Regional Business Journal: Charleston Lifestyle Lures Young Lawyers from Big Cities, 2007
  • Charleston Regional Business Journal: Image-Based Discrimination, 2005
  • Charleston Regional Business Journal: Protect Your Assets: Craft a Non-Compete That Won’t Let You Down, 2005
  • For the Defense (Defense Research Institute): Evidence of Employment Discrimination: The Impact of Desert Palace, 2004
  • John M. Olin Institute for Employment Practice & Policy, George Mason Univ.: Government Protection of Employees Involved in Mergers & Acquisitions, 1998
  • How to Get Ready for the Tsunami of New Overtime Claims, with Henry W. Frampton, IV, published in South Carolina Corporate Counsel Newsletter and as K&L Gates Client Alert, August 2012
  • Post-Trial Motions in Employment Litigation, in DRI Employment Law Trial Tactics, with Henry W. Frampton, IV, 2010
  • Co-author, Evidence of Employment Discrimination: The Impact of Desert Palace, published in DRI’s For the Defense.2004
  • Co-author, Protect Your Assets: Craft a Non-Compete That Won’t Let You Down, published in Charleston Regional Business Journal, 2005
Additional News & Event Pages
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