220511 Trisha Earls Headshot

Trisha M. Earls

Trisha brings a unique combination of legal and business expertise to The Hawkins Firm. Having investigated more than 1,000 employee internal, external & hotline complaints for employers over her career as an attorney and company executive, her practice now focuses on internal investigations and giving practical, real-world advice to employers on a wide range of employment law issues.

She started her legal career in Atlanta with Fisher & Phillips, a management-side labor and employment law boutique, after graduating from the Ohio State University College of law in 1995. In her six years at Fisher & Phillips, Trisha focused on defending employers in single-plaintiff and class action discrimination lawsuits but also developed a broad base of labor and employment law knowledge.

She left private practice in 2001 to join Equifax, Inc. as Associate Group Counsel, where she managed all employment litigation for the $1.4 Billion company and negotiated contracts for one of its emerging business units. Equifax named her its first Compliance and Ethics Officer, leading the company’s compliance and ethics program in the U.S. and eight other countries. She also subsequently served in various senior Human Resources roles while at Equifax.

After Equifax, Trisha served as Senior Vice President & Associate General Counsel and in various HR leadership roles for Education Management Corporation, a $3.5 Billion private company and second largest proprietary education company in the U.S. Before joining The Hawkins Firm, Trisha held other CHRO roles, most recently as Chief People, Legal and Compliance Officer for Tegra LLC, a private equity-owned sports apparel manufacturer with more than 12,000 employees in the U.S., Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

In addition to her law degree from Ohio State, Trisha earned her B.A. degree in Political Science from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.

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Charles A. (“Charlie”) Hawkins

Charlie founded The Hawkins Firm in 2016. He has been a lawyer for most of his adult life but did a few other things before going to law school. He worked as a reporter and semi-weekly newspaper editor in and around his hometown of DeLand, Florida and received awards from the Florida Press Association for his work as a journalist. He also represented the State of Florida at the National Youth Science Camp following a summer helping a graduate student at the University of Colorado research alpine soils under a National Science Foundation grant. At the University of Florida College of Law, he was a member of the Moot Court team and elected to the Order of Barristers. While in law school, he worked in media and public relations for the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and for law firms in Miami and Atlanta. He began practicing law in 1987 with Fisher & Phillips, a national labor and employment law boutique representing management, based in Atlanta. In 2000, Charlie joined Troutman Sanders (now Troutman Pepper), an Am Law 100 firm, also based in Atlanta.  At Troutman, Charlie focused on business and employment litigation, employment contracts, restrictive covenant agreements and transactional employment issues. Charlie started The Hawkins Firm in 2016. He is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law (J.D. 1986) and Stetson University (B.S. 1984) and attended Davidson College. Download Charlie’s CV

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Michael D. (“Mike”) Kaufman

Mike Kaufman joins The Hawkins Firm with over 42 years of experience in a labor and employment law, with a focus on representing management in union campaigns, negotiations of collective bargaining agreements and arbitration of disputes with union members.  Many public utilities in the Southeast, as well as The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, have retained Mike to lead the negotiation of their collective bargaining agreements. He also brings his broad experience in wage and hour law to the Hawkins Firm and has defended many collective (class) actions for employers brought by their employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Mike’s clients have included public employers, a large metropolitan county, a county school system, a large cable company and a Georgia resort.  He has also successfully tried many employment discrimination cases to verdict in Georgia and other states. Mike graduated from Furman University where he played collegiate baseball for four years, was All-Southern Conference Honorable Mention his junior year and co-captain his senior year.  He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1976. He is licensed in Georgia and South Carolina and has received many honors, including Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV rating since 1982 and has been recognized in the Judicial Edition of Martindale-Hubbell since 2018. Mike is a former partner at Thompson, Mann & Hutson, Alston & Bird and Troutman Sanders. He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at the Charleston School of Law in Charleston, South Carolina. Download Mike’s CV