Our Firm

Sara Jane Shanahan

Managing Partner

Sara is the firm’s Managing Partner and former chair of the Litigation Department. A senior fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Sara is listed in Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in New England by Super Lawyers.  She is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), a highly selective, invitation-only network of approximately 2,500 attorneys located throughout the world.  Sara was inducted into the 2023 Top Women of Law Circle of Excellence by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Each year, the Circle of Excellence distinction recognizes only five women attorneys previously honored with the Top Women of Law award, but whose continuing achievements merit additional tribute. Sara was a 2015 Top Women of Law honoree.

Read more about Sara’s practice here.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

A: Travel abroad before kids – You really can afford to miss 10 days of work, and if you don’t go now, it will be a very long wait.  I finally went to Italy this past fall, after sending my youngest off to college. It was amazing, but I waited for 30 years after graduating from law school.  

Q: What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Most of the best lawyering advice I have received came from Jerry Facher, who generously trained generations of trial lawyers. My favorite lesson from Jerry was this – Read the documents, read the documents, read the documents. The runner up is advice from Tom Maffei – Think about how you are going to ask the questions.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: People who write with purpose, clarity, and care. I love good writing – Whether it is in a book, a political speech, a sermon, or a legal brief. Good writers make an impression that stays with you long after the reading or listening is done, regardless of their chosen topic.

Q: What’s been the best professional decision you’ve made thus far in your career?

A: Becoming a lawyer. There are a lot of easier ways to earn a living, but I expect few can be as interesting and satisfying as being a lawyer. I love working on difficult problems, learning about different types of businesses, and engaging with a variety of people.

Q: What does being a woman in this industry mean to you?

A: I have been so fortunate to work with talented and inspiring women throughout my career. The women who trained and mentored me have shown there is no one path for being a successful lawyer – Each of us forges a path that best suits her individual interests, skills, and goals. This willingness to color outside of the lines, rather than being confined to predetermined paths that long dominated traditional legal careers, has been empowering. I hope that the next generation of lawyers, not only the women, will take this example of forging one’s own path and continue to open up opportunities for a broad section of people to find satisfaction and success in our wonderful profession.