Pete Morse is the administrator of the Labor and Employment Department in Indianapolis, the firm’s largest office. He also co-chairs the firm’s Global Services practice group and was appointed to serve as honorary consul to the country of Japan.
Cited in The Best Lawyers in America as a Lawyer of the Year on multiple occasions, Pete represents employers in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law for a broad client base, including private and public employers ranging in size from 20 to more than 200,000 employees. A full-service labor lawyer with a regional, national, and international practice, Pete has assisted clients in all 50 states and more than 50 countries and provinces – in the areas of litigation, traditional labor matters, strategic planning, compliance and various business deals.
On the litigation side, Pete routinely defends allegations of wrongful discharge, discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, ERISA violations, breach of contract, and a variety of other employment claims. He has experience guiding employers through non-compete and trade secret cases, wage/hour investigations, class/collective actions and workforce reorganizations. He also assists schools and universities as they navigate the unique laws that apply to them and defends military/government contractors and various industries in matters involving Qui Tam, the False Claims Act, the FDA, RICO, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and various statutory whistleblower claims. Often tapped for high stakes litigation defense due to the number of parties, the amount in controversy, or the complexity of the case, Pete has been recognized among America’s Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigators.
In addition to handling matters in state and federal courts, Pete has represented clients at virtually all levels of administrative proceedings, including matters before the EEOC, OSHA the NLRB and the DOL (with extensive experience defending wage/hour matters related to exempt status/misclassifications, independent contractors and donning and doffing claims).
On the traditional labor side, Pete helps clients craft comprehensive labor strategies, conducts positive employee relations training, leads companies through union organizing and decertification campaigns, and supports clients in the full range of matters associated with organized workforces (from multistate arbitrations and collective bargaining to work stoppages, unfair labor practice (ULP) charges, secondary boycotts and 10(j) injunctions).
Pete takes special pride in charting creative bargaining solutions to achieve labor cost savings and productivity enhancements in even the most mature labor contracts, as well as routinely being hired to negotiate first contracts and to support clients in virtually all phases of master agreements. Pete has experience working with a number of unions, including the Teamsters, Steelworkers, UAW, UFCW, Canadian Auto Workers, IBEW, Utility Workers, Operating Engineers, Service Workers, UNITE, PACE, Boilermakers, Sheet Metal Workers, Chemical Workers, SIEU, the Carpenters and many others.
In stressing the importance of proactive labor strategies, Pete devotes much of his practice to daily client counseling, employment law audits, developing best practices HR policies, and providing management training on a variety of topics (ranging from legal topics such as harassment training, aggressively managing the ADA and FMLA, and risk management to “soft” topics like diversity and cultural awareness, effective supervision, retention, employee involvement programs, controlling legal spend, and recruitment, orientation and recognition strategies). Pete also reviews and drafts employment contracts, consulting agreements, employee handbooks, non-compete/trade-secret agreements and severance packages.
Pete also has broad experience helping companies craft national master agreements with union, leading Rapid Response Teams to assist in detecting, avoiding and responding to heightened union organizing efforts, and guiding labor strategies and HR considerations during mergers, acquisitions, and other complex business deals.
Apart from representing clients on a regional and national basis, Pete also has an international component to his practice, representing a number of foreign clients operating in the U.S. and assisting numerous domestic clients in international matters around the world, from expat agreements, unfair competition matters and visa/mobility issues to cross-border disputes, employment matters and business strategies. He serves as outside general counsel to a number of U.S.- and foreign-owned clients. As an extension of his international practice and leadership of the firm’s Global Services group, Pete has had the privilege of accompanying Indiana's last three governors on official trade missions overseas and has had the honor to serve as official labor counsel to the government of Mexico, an executive officer for the Japan-America Society of Indiana, and a director emeritus for TerraLex, an affiliation of international law firms able to provide legal support to Barnes & Thornburg clients in more than 150 jurisdictions worldwide.
Pete also is the co-chairman of the TerraLex International Labour practice group and most recently was honored to have been named honorary consul of Japan by appointment through Japan’s Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department. As part of his international practice, Pete has assisted clients and conducted business in numerous countries, including most frequently Mexico, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Israel, South Africa and Puerto Rico. Pete also provides legal and cultural awareness training to foreign executives, and assists in helping foreign companies establish relationships with local government leaders within the U.S.
Pete graduated with honors from DePauw University, where he was active in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and rode in the Little 500 bicycle race. While in law school, he interned for a federal judge. Originally hailing from a small town in southern Illinois, Pete has channeled his love of community spirit by working with an array of local charitable organizations and serving on advisory boards. During his spare time, Pete enjoys a variety of activities, including fly-fishing, cycling and coaching his three children in baseball and softball.
Pete is not regularly admitted to practice law in the local courts of the District Columbia, and pursuant to Rule 49 limits his practice in the District of Columbia to work involving the United States Congress, various embassies, federal district and appellate courts, and federal agencies (e.g., the EEOC, Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board).
To view this page in Japanese, please click here.
Professional and Community Involvement
Board of trustees member, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Board member, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Board member, United States Auto Club
Former board member, Eiteljorg Museum
Former board member, Skiles Test Baseball & Softball League
Former board member, Beta Theta Pi National Fraternity
The Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2019 (in the areas of labor, employment and qui tam law)
The Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year, 2017 and 2018 (Labor & Employment)
Indiana Super Lawyers, 2004-2019
Continental Who’s Who
The Legal News, Top Attorney
Corporate Intl Magazine, Indiana Labor & Employment Attorney of the Year