Nancy S. Shilepskey
Partner, Employment Department
Nancy is a leading influence in the world of executive advocacy, employment law and employment litigation. She represents primarily executives and professionals across a wide range of industries and is well-known for her pioneering work in wrongful termination and employment discrimination. Her many accolades include receiving Chambers USA’s highest Star Individual ranking, being repeatedly listed by Thomson Reuters/Boston Magazine as one of the Top 10 Massachusetts Super Lawyers, and being named to the Lawdragon 500 list of leading lawyers in America in 2015. She has been named a Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (MLW), was featured in MLW’s Power Issue and was named by The National Law Journal as one of the most influential lawyers in Massachusetts.
Read more about Nancy’s practice here.
Q: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: My early mentors were opposing counsel, a woman and a man. Ann Liebowitz of Polaroid taught me executive advocacy and compensation so I could advise her colleagues. Rick Ward of Ropes & Grey invited me to co-author an article with him that was cited by Judge Young. Both Ann and Rick continued to sponsor my career for years. I try to pay it forward.
Q: How have you seen the legal industry change since starting your career? What change would you like to see more of?
A: At least in Massachusetts, much of the legal industry embraced DEI values and initiatives. I do think that has made a difference. It is gratifying to see women like our own Managing Partner Sara Shanahan in the lead. Is there more to do? Of course. For Women’s History Month, I would like to see the elimination of double standards regarding niceness, second chances, etc. See, e.g. (“… when a woman is decisive, she might be perceived as “brusque” and “abrupt”. … women might be penalized while a man is commended….”); Brescoll, V. L., Dawson, E., & Uhlmann, E. L. (2010). Hard Won and Easily Lost the Fragile Status of Leaders in Gender-Stereotype-Incongruent Occupations. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1640-1642 (women in gender-stereotype incongruent jobs are subjected to far harsher consequences for perceived missteps than are male peers). We need to keep levelling the playing field.
Q: Who is a woman from history who inspires you and why?
A: There are so many! From recent history, Billie Jean King because she dominated her field (tennis) and used her position to move the needle on gender equity, in sports and beyond. She did it by working together with other women, demonstrating the best of what women can do when working as a team to over-come inequality. That team-work, especially, inspires me. For anyone who doesn’t know her story, see here.