Employment Law Advice
UNLIMITED ADVICE FROM EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS
Complying with employment law can be challenging. Regulations continuously change and evolve, and there’s no such thing as a simple legal question.
We’ve been where you are. We know legal issues can be a headache. You need answers fast, but the pricey lawyer fees make you think twice about calling your attorney.
We understand that compliance can be a time-consuming HR function that takes attention away from managing people. That’s why we supplement our HR Advice team with employment law attorneys who advise our members, so they can make good decisions. Experienced attorneys are just a phone call away—with no fees attached.
- High-risk compliance matters
- DES, DOL, and OSHA guidance
- Gray-area decision-making
- Wage and hour exemptions
- Legal risks and viable options
- EEOC response advice/review
- Review of attorney demand letters and subpoenas
- Non-compete agreements
- Confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements
- Separation and release agreements
- Independent contractor agreements
- Legal sign-off on employee handbooks (NC, SC and federal)
- Sample employment contracts and agreements
- Legal guides
- Employer’s Compliance Desk Manual
- DIY tools and templates
Attorney, Managing Partner
Frequently Asked Questions About Catapult’s Legal Advice Plan
It is a method authorized by the NC State Bar to provide Catapult member organizations with pre-paid legal services on foundational employment law questions and needs. Legal services are provided by a third-party law firm not related to Catapult, but paid for by Catapult through this plan. The plan is registered with the NC State Bar.*
Mimi E. Soule left traditional employment litigation practice and established Soule Employment Law Firm to focus on providing business owners and managers with practical advice to help avoid costly litigation. She now focuses her practice on providing employment law and human resources compliance advice, preparing employment-related contracts, and defending employers against administrative claims.
As a business owner herself, Mimi understands the importance of budgeting expenses – especially legal costs. Accordingly, the Firm offers the majority of its legal services on a fixed-fee or project-fee basis. Prior to founding Soule Employment Law Firm, Mimi practiced with Hedrick Murray in Durham, Ice Miller (then Schottenstein Zox and Dunn doing business as SZD Wicker) and Schneider Law Group in Raleigh, and the national firm of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. in Washington, D.C. Although she enjoyed city life in D.C., Mimi moved back to Raleigh to be close to family.
B.S. Business | Wake Forest University | 1999 | cum laude
J.D. | Boston University School of Law | 2003 | honors in Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Admitted to Practice:
- The State of North Carolina
- The District of Columbia (inactive)
- S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
- S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Jennifer M. Vuillermet
Jennifer works to reduce liability, lessen risk, and solve problems before they occur by advising business owners and HR managers in labor and employment law. Jennifer was employed as an attorney for the County of Marin, California for over 14 years. As the lead employment law attorney, she advised on personnel matters, managed employee and labor relations, conducted HR trainings, and litigated cases at both the state and federal level.
In addition to her work as a county attorney, Jennifer served as general counsel to multiple local governments. Since arriving in North Carolina, Jennifer has continued focusing on employment law compliance, and advising and representing clients in both NC and CA. Jennifer leverages her knowledge of human resources and small businesses to ensure that her clients feel understood and supported across the length of their legal journey.
B.A. | University of California, Santa Cruz | 1980 | Phi Betta Kappa; Honors in Major
J.D. | Lewis & Clark Law School | 1995
Admitted to Practice:
- The State of North Carolina
- The State of California
- S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit
- S. District Court for the Northern District of California
We would like to do so, but NC law prohibits most corporations (including a nonprofit like Catapult) from providing such services directly. We believe this law is unconstitutional and anti-competitive, and we have filed suit to change the law. If our challenge is successful, we will terminate this pre-paid plan and use staff attorneys to provide these and additional services in the future. In the meantime, we will follow current law and rules, of course.
Catapult already provides members unlimited consultation with our HR professionals. These plan attorneys will provide unlimited telephone-based legal advice in a very similar way. They will also customize legal templates to help you resolve employment law matters such as separation and release agreements. They will help you understand claims and charges filed against you, and your options. They will give opinions on employee handbook provisions. Their advice is limited to North Carolina, South Carolina and federal employment law matters.
Matters that take extended, custom work such as handling an EEOC charge, drafting lengthy original agreements, resolving an NLRB or USDOL investigation, handling litigation and other time intensive work are not included. The plan also excludes non-employment-related advice and review, for example business contracts, purchasing contracts, etc.
Yes. An advantage of this plan is support for corporate attorneys who have an employment law matter in-house and need to advise their client without incurring outside fees.
Yes, we do. Unless a member’s usage is very high compared to others, we place no limits, just like we handle our current HR Advice services.
Yes! Catapult’s aim is to provide the regular support you need to resolve everyday workplace issues and confusion. The plan’s prepaid benefit does not provide case-specific work such as handling the investigation of an EEOC charge and drafting the position letter. The plan does not provide counsel for sub-topics in employment law such as ERISA and benefits law, tax matters, workers’ compensation defense or visas and immigration. Plan attorneys will not litigate cases in court or agencies for you.
Yes, they will if you request the work and if they agree to provide the work. Catapult is not involved in billing for the work and will not share in any part of the revenue. Catapult’s role is to set the maximum hourly rate for the work to an agreed, member-friendly, below-market rate.
Yes, like any lawyer-client conversation, if the conversation meets the standard for that privilege and the client maintains its confidentiality.
Yes. In order to monitor effectiveness, plan attorneys will report how much time they spent with each member and a broad category for the topic involved, such as “Wage and Hour.” No details or specifics will be shared with Catapult. Plan attorneys will obtain your consent to this limited reporting before providing legal services.
All legal questions and answers are recorded separately from Catapult’s member database by plan attorneys on a system they provide. Plan attorneys will have private, lockable offices at Catapult. Also, internal rules at Catapult prevent sharing confidential legal matters with non-attorneys. Only authorized representatives of active member companies can request legal advice on behalf of their company.
We believe most calls to learn about the rules, understand the regulations, and discuss a course of action will still be resolved by the HR Advice team. The plan attorneys are here to help you take the next step or provide sensitive, confidential legal advice when an issue requires it. This need occurs in most workplaces at some point in time.
Members: Reach out now to get started.
The Catapult Legal Advice Plan provides all eligible Plan Members the following Plan Services as part of the membership dues fee in Catapult (“Covered Plan Services”):
- Telephone, email and other forms of consultations on foundational federal and NC employment law questions affecting the Plan Member. Limited reading and research to augment or confirm an effective response. Education of the Plan Member in the laws, rules and options relative to their question.
- Initial review and discussion of workplace-related challenges, charges, claims, subpoenas, agency letters, lawyer demand letters and similar issues to assist the Plan Member in understanding the context and to guide them in selecting counsel or a course of action.
- Explanation of legal templates and the reasonable work required to finalize and execute those templates for use in a specific situation in NC.
- Writing and updating templates.
- Review of portions of an employee handbook where legal advice is sought by the Plan Member.
- Training and guidance for Catapult's HR Advice team members on workplace rules and regulations.
- Writing on legal topics for Plan Member consumption.
- In person meetings with Plan Members who travel to the lawyer’s office for limited consultation on any Covered Plan Service in lieu of extended phone conversations.
- The Catapult Legal Advice Plan has the right to prospectively limit a Plan Member’s free use of the Plan where their use is deemed excessive by the Plan Administrator after a review of usage statistics from Plan Attorneys. The Plan Administrator will not do so in a manner that the involved Participating Plan Attorney believes violates an existing professional obligation to that Plan Member.
- The Catapult Legal Advice Plan may prospectively adjust the scope of Plan services for all Plan Members based on actual experience of the Plan.
- Plan Services do not include drafting original agreements and documents affecting legal rights; ERISA, tax law or obtaining immigration visas; conducting union representation campaigns, R and C cases before the NLRB; court-based litigation and appeals; the review of lengthy files and documents; on site travel; administrative hearings; workers’ compensation defense; representation in any case, matter or conflict; or privileged investigations of workplace conduct and events.
- Participating Plan Attorneys serving Plan Members may use their discretion to accept for-fee projects in workplace law matters requested by Plan Members at a discounted rate (Discounted Plan Services). The agreed Plan Member billing rate for this work is not to exceed $195 per hour (or the rough equivalent if on a fixed fee basis). Travel outside the normal business day will be billed at ½ rate or less. All billing for legal services will be handled directly between the Plan Member and the Participating Plan Attorney and no portion of that fee will be shared with Catapult. Participating Plan attorneys will report quarterly on Discounted Legal Services performed for Plan Members including the broad type of service, and the billing calculation of hours- times- rate (without any client identification or matter information).
- Plan Attorneys will carry malpractice insurance coverage.
- Participating Plan Attorneys and law firms who serve Plan Members through the Plan are not employees of Catapult. These attorneys must use their own independent professional judgment in serving Plan Members and may not (without express permission from that Plan Member) reveal a privileged communication with that Member to any member of the Catapult staff.
- At all times it is the intention of the parties to remain in compliance with North Carolina statutes and rules of the North Carolina State Bar (NCSB). Any concern about compliance with laws or professional standards is welcomed by Catapult and Plan Attorneys for prompt resolution.
- This Plan is not intended to establish a plan of insurance.
- The Plan provides advice on behalf of Catapult member organizations, not on behalf of individuals employed by these organizations.
- Catapult will periodically monitor Plan Member usage statistics, service reports, general topic areas, and other indicators of services provided (such as Plan Member surveys) to ensure quality, future resource needs and effective/efficient service. No information about a specific matter will be shared with Catapult by any lawyer without the Plan Member’s consent.