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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 15, 2024


It's an odd way to go job hunting, but that's what Kimberly and Charles Engeman did in 1992 when they left Boston, Mass. and headed for a sailboat in the Virgin Islands.
Both are practicing attorneys, and Engeman said his wife's specialty, banking law, wasn't flourishing in New England so they decided to add a little potential business to their sailing vacation.
Lo and behold, when Engemen looked up local attorneys, he saw the name of George Dudley, who had attended Kimberly Engeman's alma mater, Villanova.
Though Engeman didn't know Dudley, he applied – and Dudley hired both Engemans.
Engeman practiced with Dudley until this year. In July, he became a shareholder in the first national labor and employment law firm to enter the Caribbean market, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., known as Ogletree Deakins.
The firm plans to expand its practice in the Caribbean from its St. Thomas office.
Engeman is extremely pleased with his new post, and happy to see a national firm representing local clients.
"It is wonderful for our clients to have the resources of Ogletree Deakins," Engeman said. He would like to bring the national resources of the firm to address the Wrongful Discharge Act and has been retained by both the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce and the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association.
"The law is so out of line," Engeman said, "No state has anything close to that."
He added, "Basically, the V.I. is the most difficult place for employers to do business in the country."
Many employers feel the controversial law is used indiscriminately, giving unfair advantage to employees even though employers win the vast majority of wrongful discharge cases that go to a hearing.
Engemen has brought to his new position many of his previous clients including the Marriott Hotel properties, American Airlines and the Caneel Bay Resort on St. John. His practice will continue to focus on wrongful discharge, discrimination, breach of contract, unionization, collective bargaining and unemployment insurance.
In the meantime, Engeman has twice become a father, and Kimberly now is a full-time practicing mom. They have two children, Amanda, 2, and Jack, who was born one-and-a-half months ago – just about the time Engeman embarked on his new career.
"These past few months have been incredible," he said. "Very busy, but exciting."
And Engeman still finds time to get out on the water – what drew him here in the first place. He sailed with Chris Rosenberg when they won the Rolex Regatta in 1998.

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