Mr. Waks is Chair of Kaye Scholer’s ADR practice and immediate past Chair of its Employment & Labor Law practice founded by the late Frederick R. Livingston in 1947. He is respected for his defense of U.S. and international companies and is known for his successes in high-profile public sector cases. In 2012, Chambers USA 10th edition noted that Mr. Waks is “regarded as ‘a dean of the Bar.’” It also described his “distinguished career” in advising employers and his “recently presid[ing] over the defense of retaliation cases in the financial services industry.”
The 2004 Chambers USA Guide reported: “Recommended to Chambers’researchers as a firm with a ‘really positive atmosphere,’ [Kaye Scholer’s] labor and employment practice group has recently handled a number of substantial class actions involving age and sex discrimination, plant closures and wage and hour issues .... Peers attribute much of the group’s prestige to Jay Waks, the cochair [sic] of the employment department. He is renowned for his discrimination and alternative dispute resolution work and for his skill in negotiating executive compensation packages. Leading market figures characterize him as an attorney who ‘knows the law, chapter and verse.’” In its 2004–05 rankings, Chambers added: “[Kaye Scholer’s] labor and employment group is seen as ‘high-powered,’ and is respected for cases such as the defense of class action suits pertaining to race, religion and ethnicity discrimination. Emphasis is also placed on alternative dispute resolution ... Jay Waks, chair of the labor and employment group, garnered plaudits for his ‘intellectual grasp and experience’ as well as his ‘street-smart’ approach. In 2003 the team won its first dismissal of an alleged violation on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The claim concerned disclosure of controversial management practices.” Kaye Scholer’s Employment practice also was given highest marks in terms of “service, quality and value” in American Lawyer’s 1995 listing, based on its poll of in-house counsel.