The Law Offices of Michelle Gessner, PLLC focuses on providing “outside” general counsel and litigation management services to companies of all sizes, practicing labor and employment law, and serving as a certified mediator in a variety of disputes.

Prior to its formation, Michelle gained extensive experience in all legal issues facing retail, restaurant and hospitality industries by serving as the Chief Litigation and Employment Law Counsel for Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (FDO), Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) and Big Lots Stores, Inc. (BIG). Michelle also served as the SVP, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for Ovation Brands, a privately held $1 billion restaurant company.

Michelle enjoys extensive experience in managing large portfolios of litigation and disputes. Michelle’s career embodies a strong focus on employment law and labor relations, with particular emphasis on wage and hour and compensation disputes.

A successful litigator in all venues, she has managed the strategy development — as well as some of the best lawyers in the country — in matters pending in federal courts nationwide, including managing multi-district litigation.

Michelle has the privilege of being the mother of three amazing children – Isabell, Jack and Bobby – and spends most of her free time at their swim meets, soccer and football games. She also enjoys crossfit, running, and playing golf (or at least attempting to).

  • West Virginia University College of Law, J.D., 1999
  • West Virginia University College of Business & Economics, M.S. Industrial Labor Relations, 1996
  • West Virginia University, B.S. in Business Administration with concentration in Employment Law, 1994
  • North Carolina State Bar, 1999
  • U.S. District Courts for the Western, Middle & Eastern Districts of North Carolina, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2009
  • American Bar Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Chief Litigation Counsel Association, 2009-2015
  • Mecklenburg County Bar
  • Nextlaw Global Referral Network
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Women Lawyers of Charlotte

Professional Speaking Engagements

Throughout her 18 year career, Michelle Gessner has become a go-to source in the industry, having served on numerous panels and forums. She has served as a panelist at the following conferences and forums:

Preserving Evidence — What Restaurants and Retail Establishments Need to Know Before the Accident Happens

2017 CLM Business Insurance, Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Conference
February 22-24
The Gaylord Palms, Dallas, TX

Panelist at the National Retail and Restaurant Defense Association’s Annual Conference, “From the Federal Agencies to the Courthouse, Hot Topics and Recent Developments in Labor and Employment Law”

March 3 – 4, 2016
Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Panelist at ACI’s 4th Annual Forum on Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination

July 31 to August 01, 2013
The Carlton Hotel, New York, NY

Co-Chair of ACI’s 12th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims and Class Actions

May 23 – May 24, 2011
New York Marriott Downtown, New York, NY

Co-Chair of ACI’s 11th National Forum on Wage & Hour Claims and Class Actions

January 31 to February 01, 2011
Hyatt Regency Miami, Miami, Florida

Panelist at the National Retail Federation’s, Committee on Employment Law Fall Conference 2008

October 2008
San Diego, CA

This list is not comprehensive so please call me at 704-234-7442 or send an email to discuss your concerns and issues. Finding the right assistance is paramount. If I can’t help you, I will know someone who can, regardless of subject matter or venue.

Professional Affiliations