For the past decade, Hugh Baran (he/him) has worked to advance the rights of working people. At Kakalec Law, Hugh’s practice focuses on representing workers in wage theft claims and claims of discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, and disability, in both individual cases (in court or arbitration) and class actions. Hugh also advises workers about severance negotiations/agreements, non-compete provisions and other employment contract provisions, and other legal issues.
Hugh also represents workers and organizations in appellate litigation, writing appellate and amicus briefs that illuminate the real-world stakes of high-impact legal issues.
Before joining Kakalec Law, Hugh was a Skadden Fellow and Senior Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project, where he worked to address the growth in employer-imposed forced arbitration provisions that require workers to give up the right to have their claims heard before a judge and jury. In addition to engaging in policy advocacy, Hugh represented individual workers subject to forced arbitration, including a child care worker and delivery workers misclassified by their employers as independent contractors, successfully settling several of their claims.
Before his fellowship, Hugh clerked for United States District Judge Victor A. Bolden (District of Connecticut) and United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy (Eastern District of New York).
Hugh received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change and a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. Hugh received his B.A. in American Studies from Yale University. Before law school, Hugh was a community and political organizer with UNITE HERE in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and an associate at BerlinRosen Public Affairs.
Hugh is currently admitted to practice law in New York. He speaks French and Spanish.
Hugh is regularly interviewed as an expert on forced arbitration and related legal issues. He has been quoted in publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Law360, and Bloomberg Law and has appeared on Good Day New York.
Hugh lives with his fiancé Jacob in Queens.
In Croson’s Wake: Affirmative Action, Local Hiring, and the Ongoing Struggle to Diversify America’s Building & Construction Trades (article for the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, 2019)
The Supreme Court Screwed Over Workers Again—but Not As Badly As It Could Have (Slate, 2022)
Forced Arbitration Helped Employers Who Committed Wage Theft Pocket $9.2 Billion in 2019 From Workers in Low-Paid Jobs (Policy/Data Brief for the National Employment Law Project, with Elisabeth Campbell, 2021)
End Forced Arbitration to Honor Justice Ginsburg’s Legacy (op-ed for Bloomberg Law, 2020)
Representative Amicus Briefs:
Palmer et al. v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., Brief of Amici Curiae National Employment Law Project & New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants
Cunningham v. Lyft, Brief of Amici Curiae National Employment Law Project, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, Justice at Work, & New York Taxi Workers Alliance in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees/Cross-Appellants
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