Joseph Torres is a partner in the Chicago labor and employment relations practice group of Winston & Strawn.
Mr. Torres concentrates his practice in labor, employment, and ERISA litigation before the state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as administrative agencies such as the NLRB, the EEOC, the DOL, and OSHA in a wide variety of discrimination, employee benefit, whistleblower, retaliation, and other employment claims arising under state and federal law.
Mr. Torres also advises clients on collective bargaining relationships and labor disputes, including formulation of bargaining strategies, contract administration, maintenance of operations during labor disputes, and responses to “corporate” campaigns.
Mr. Torres additionally has a broad range of experience representing clients in matters arising under ERISA. He has defended clients in claims for vested retiree benefits, alleged wrongful denial of or interference with employee benefits, and breach of fiduciary duty. He has also represented clients in complex withdrawal liability matters involving multiemployer pension plans. Mr. Torres has considerable experience in the analysis and interpretation of ERISA-governed plans and has defended clients in audits involving union-sponsored health and welfare plans, and has also advised clients contemplating the establishment, modification, or termination of employee benefits plans.
Mr. Torres also represents clients in the negotiation of employment and related agreements, both for individuals and in connection with corporate transactions and reductions-in-force, and has extensive experience in the areas of covenants not to compete, and the protection of trade secrets and other proprietary information. In addition, Mr. Torres advises clients on the establishment and maintenance of employment policies, wage payment and compensation issues, and the development and implementation of effective human resources strategies.
Mr. Torres is admitted to practice in the Central and Northern Districts of Illinois; Eastern District of Wisconsin; U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and D.C. Circuits; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Torres received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Honors & Awards
Mr. Torres is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. In 2014, he was featured in Lawdragon’s “Guide to World-Class Employment Lawyers” as one of the “Top 20 Lawyers in Employee Benefits” for his ERISA litigation experience, and in 2012 he was profiled in Diversity and the Bar’s “Banking on Rainmakers” feature. Mr. Torres is also listed in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers, and was named a 2014 Illinois Super Lawyer.
In 2007, Mr. Torres received the El Humanitario Award from Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine, in recognition of his service to the Chicago Hispanic community. He has also received the 2005 Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Community Service Award and the 2004 Citibank Hispanic Heritage Award. In 2002, Mr. Torres was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the University of Illinois College of Law Latina/o Students Association.
Other recognitions: Top 20 Lawyers in Employee Benefits (2013 and 2012 Lawdragon and Human Resource Executive magazine); 40 Up and Coming Corporate Employment Lawyers (2011 Lawdragon and Human Resource Executive magazine); The Best Lawyers in America (2006-2015); Chambers USA: Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers (2004-2013); Who’s Who Legal - Management Labour & Employment (2004-2007); Illinois Super Lawyer (2005-2014); Leading Lawyers Network (2004-2005; 2008-present).
Mr. Torres is chair of the firm’s Hiring Committee and a member of its Diversity Committee. He is active in the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section and currently serves on its governing Council. Mr. Torres is also an editor for BNA’s Developing Labor Law treatise and is a past management chair for the ABA Developing Labor Law Committee.
Mr. Torres also is active in various civic organizations. Mr. Torres was selected as a Fellow for the 2004 class of Leadership Greater Chicago, which focuses on leadership development and fostering community awareness. He also is the chairman of the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois. In addition, Mr. Torres serves on the boards of the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.
Other activities: Co-chair, Winston & Strawn Diversity Committee (2005-2009); Management Program Chair, ABA Developing Labor Committee (2005-2010); Member, ABA Section on Labor and Employment Law (Committees on Equal Employment Opportunity and Developing Labor Law); Member, the Economic Club (2005-2009); Member, Hispanic National Bar Association; Member, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois; Founding Member, Latino Giving Circle; Chairman, Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois (2003-present); Trustee, Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois (2001-2003); Board Member, Leadership Greater Chicago (2004-2006); Board Member, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (2002-2008); Board Member, Youth Guidance (2000-2011); Mentor, Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund (2003-2007); Board Member, St. Benedict Elementary School Board (2000-2004); Board Member, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (2006-present); Member, Chicago Bar Association 2000-2001 Project on Diversity in the Legal Workforce; Legal Co-Chair, 2002 Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund 22nd Annual Awards Dinner.
Mr. Torres’ speeches include:
- “Labor Law Nuts and Bolts” (presented at the 2014 PLI Understanding Employment Law Conference);
- Testimony on various topics at the April 2014 NLRB Public Hearing regarding its proposed election rules changes;
- “National Labor Relations Act Fundamentals for the Non-Union Workplace” (presented at the 2013 ABA Labor and Employment CLE Conference);
- “Emerging Labor Law Issues That Every Employment Lawyer Needs to Know” (presented at the 2013 Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference);
- “Current NLRA Developments” (presented at the 2012 NELI Employment Law Conference);
- “Overview of Recent NLRA Developments” (presented at the 2012 Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference);
- “Current NLRA Developments” (presented at the 2011 NELI Employment Law Conference);
- “Breaking News from the NLRB” (presented at the 2011 Hot Topics in Contemporary Labor Relations Law);
- “Meet the NLRB General Counsel” (presented at the 2010 ABA Labor and Employment CLE Conference);
- “Communications in the Workplace: Opportunities and Restrictions” (presented at the 2009 Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference);
- “Issues in Representation Hearings” (presented at the 2008 ABA Labor and Employment CLE Conference);
- “The Post-Dana World: Voluntary Recognition and Other Emerging Issues and Strategies” (presented at the 2008 Annual Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference);
- “The NLRB Speaks: Dana Corp. & SuperValu” (Fall 2007 ABA Teleconference);
- “Maximizing Minority Lawyers in Majority-Owned Firms” (presented at the 2007 Minority Corporate Counsel Association Pathways to Diversity Conference);
- “Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Employment Agreements” (presented at the 2006 Minority Corporate Counsel Association CLE Expo);
- “Class Action Arbitrations: Developments Since Green Tree Financial Corp. v. Bazzle” (presented at The CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution 2005 Spring Meeting);
- “Labor and Employment Law Year in Review” (presented at the 2005 Minority Corporate Counsel Association CLE Expo);
- “Black and White: The Lawyer Experience” (presented at the 2004 ABA Section of Litigation Leadership Council Meeting);
- “Federal Labor Law Preemption: Challenges to State ‘Strikebreakers’ Legislation” (presented at 2004 Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Labor Law Seminar);
- “Employee Arbitration Agreements: Issues and Developments” (presented at the 2004 Minority Corporate Counsel Association CLE Expo);
- “How Will the NLRB Interpret BE&K Construction Co. v. NLRB?” (presented at the 2003 ABA Annual Meeting);
- “Retaliation: Prevention and Claims—Developments Since Clark Co. School Dist. v. Breeden” (presented at the 2002 ABA Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity Mid-Winter Meeting); and
- “Hiring Policies that Discriminate Against Applicants with High Wage Histories—When and How are They ‘Inherently Destructive’ of Section 7 Rights?” (presented at the 2002 ABA Committee on Developments of the Law Under the NLRA Mid-Winter Meeting).
- Editor, The Developing Labor Law (2008-2012);
- “Dialogue with NLRB Explores Hot Topics and Current Challenges,” Labor and Employment Law (ABA), Fall 2005;
- Associate Editor, The Developing Labor Law (2004-2008); Chapter Editor, The Developing Labor Law (2002-2004);
- Contributing Editor, The Developing Labor Law (2000-2002);
- Contributing Editor, Employment Discrimination Law (2001-2003); and
- “The Corporate Campaign at Caterpillar,” Journal of Labor Research, Summer 1996 (with C. R. Gangemi, Jr.).
- Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation & Wrongful Termination Litigation
- ERISA Litigation
- Employment Law Advice, Counseling, and Training
- Labor, Employment, Executive Compensation, and Employee Benefits
- Traditional Labor Law
- Unfair Competition, Restrictive Covenants, and Trade Secrets
- Wage and Hour Compliance and Litigation
- University of Illinois, JD, 1990
- University of Chicago, BA