Philip Lem represents management in a multitude of labor and employment and business litigation matters.

Phil has substantial experience defending wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and whistleblower claims by employees. He regularly defends companies against wage-and-hour class actions and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims, including those alleging misclassification of employees, meal and rest break issues, underpayment of overtime compensation, and wage statement inaccuracies. In addition to his litigation practice, Phil assists management with the development of workplace practices and policies, counsels employers to ensure legal compliance, and drafts and updates employee handbooks and other personnel policies.

Phil’s business litigation practice covers complex matters involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, and copyright and trademark infringement. He often handles claims involving employee mobility, including the alleged theft of trade secrets and the enforceability of agreements not to compete and/or solicit employees and customers. Before joining Payne & Fears, Phil was an associate at a New York City firm where he represented major banks, financing companies, trustees, and secured lenders in commercial, bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, and securities disputes in New York state and federal courts.


While in law school, Phil was senior editor of the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review and interned in the Criminal Division of the Office of the Kansas Attorney General.

Outside of the office, Phil chases his kids around the house and tries to make it to the golf course and tennis courts. He also enjoys supporting his hometown (Kansas City) and alma mater (Notre Dame) sports teams.

Representative Matters

  • Secured a seven-figure arbitration award on behalf of a technology company against a disgruntled former executive of the company who impermissibly modified his employer’s systems and accounts prior to his termination.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a public entity after substituting into the case in a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by a former construction employee who alleged his supervisor singled him out for criticism because of his race, and orchestrated a pretextual investigation into his misconduct that resulted in his termination.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a technology company against former employee in a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation action.
  • Handled arbitration resulting in a complete victory for the employer in a disability discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination case brought by a marketing employee of a global electronics company.
  • Obtained summary dismissal of all claims in an age and race discrimination suit in an arbitration filed by former employees of a plastics manufacturer.
  • Obtained a “walk-away” settlement for a medical transportation company after filing a summary judgment motion.