David J. Laurent

David J. Laurent


Pittsburgh, PA

How David Helps Clients

As co-chair of Buchanan's Labor, Employment, Benefits & Immigration section, David is recognized across the country for his labor and employee benefits experience, especially in the coal industry. Based, in part, on his familiarity with that industry, he has the uncommon capacity to handle equally well both labor relations and ERISA issues.

With an emphasis in the coal industry, David focuses his practice on ERISA matters that involve multiemployer trust funds, including withdrawal liability, delinquent contribution and controlled group/alter ego claims. He also has extensive experience with traditional labor law. By dovetailing his ERISA practice with traditional labor law, David is able to provide unique insight on benefits and single and joint employer issues during collective bargaining negotiations.

My motto is "Don't say no; say how." No matter how difficult or complex the road may be, there is always a path to resolution.

In his transactional practice, David helps clients structure acquisitions and divestitures, address WARN Act issues, negotiate labor agreements as a condition to a closing, conduct due diligence, and prepare complicated employment agreements and separation agreements for executive-level employees. 

Before Buchanan, David handled a wide range of labor, employment and employee benefits laws issues for many years with another law firm.

What Clients Can Expect

David has a distinctive ability to take an unwieldy and complicated legal issue and present it as a more easily understood business concept. By acting as legal translator, he clarifies problems and makes it easier for clients to assess options and make decisions.

David is a reliable and responsive team player who helps clients stay focused on practical outcomes and, whenever possible, a win-win solution that satisfies everyone.

Outside the Office

When he's not working, David works on reducing stress, enhancing flexibility and improving vitality by going to yoga regularly and brewpubs occasionally.  David also is an avid golfer.

David is married with two grown children who have left home and two dogs and a cat who have not.

Proof Points

  • The Best Lawyers in America® since 2007.
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year,” Pittsburgh Labor Law – Management and Pittsburgh – Natural Resources Law, 2016 & 2017.
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation since 2009. 
  • Negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the Blacksmiths and the Teamsters that permitted the company to relocate certain work that facilitated keeping the plant open.
  • Settled NLRB charges and an arbitration case arising from the termination of a local union president.
  • Negotiated an effects bargaining agreement with the Operating Engineers as part of the sale of a business.
  • Negotiated multiple collective bargaining agreements and employee transfer arrangements with the CWA and the IBEW arising out of a nationwide telecommunications company's internal reorganization.
  • Negotiated a new attendance agreement with the CWA despite a long history of animosity between the parties.
  • Assisted a medical provider with a partial closure and the separation of over 100 employees, some through an early retirement program, and others through the use of retention agreements.
  • Assisted a client with the development and administration of an HRA for a group of unionized employees.
  • Achieved a favorable outcome in an NLRB case filed by the CWA involving many alleged violations, including discriminatory terminations and unilateral changes.
  • Used a federal preemption defense to prevail in a case filed by numerous union employees alleging state-law fraud and contract claims arising from an early retirement program.
  • Defended a coal company that was hired to operate a preparation plant from successorship unfair labor practice charges filed by the UMWA.
  • Defended a telecommunications company in several FLSA class actions.
  • Counseled a client in financial distress regarding federal and state WARN Act obligations and state wage payment issues.
  • Negotiated several complicated separation agreements for senior executives.
  • Represented a client in a withdrawal liability dispute concerning a controlled group claim asserted against non-profit entities.
  • Secured substantial pension plan withdrawal liability assessment reductions for several clients who were liquidating their assets.
  • Defended a client in complicated litigation involving a multiemployer trust fund's efforts to audit non-union affiliates and to claim contributions for work performed by the affiliates' employees.
  • Helped a client avoid pension plan withdrawal liability by negotiating appropriate language in an asset purchase agreement.
  • Assisted with the development and implementation of a voluntary exit incentive program for a nation-wide employer.
  • Counseled a buyer regarding the potential risks and obligations associated with acquiring assets from unionized sellers.
  • Prepared employment agreements required as conditions to multiple acquisition agreements and addressed related issues under Code Section 409A
  • Helped family members understand the controlled group and withdrawal liability implications of possible future changes in ownership, acquisitions and divestitures.