Sara A. Begley

Partner

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, 1987, LL.M.
  • University of Dayton School of Law, 1985, J.D.
  • University of Dayton, 1981, B.A., cum laude

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • All State and Federal Courts - New Jersey
  • All State and Federal Courts - Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Third Circuit

Sara is the Global Practice Group Leader for Reed Smith's Labor & Employment Group. Sara is result-driven and has been working with clients to solve complex employment problems for nearly 25 years. Her practice is diverse, and includes counseling employers on the scope of employment issues and litigating cases involving race, age, disability, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and individual and collective/class wage-and-hour litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and analogous state laws.

Sara has tried various employment-related and breach-of-contract cases in federal and state courts, and before administrative and arbitration tribunals. Sara has successfully had a number of race, retaliation, and national origin matters dismissed on summary judgment. Her most recent jury trials involved claims of race, age and disability discrimination, and retaliation that resulted in defense verdicts for our clients. Additionally, she represents employers in Sarbanes-Oxley and state law whistleblower claims, and a significant portion of her practice also involves trade secret and restrictive covenant litigation, which includes litigating preliminary and permanent injunctions in state and federal court.

Along with her litigation work, Sara drafts and negotiates employment agreements, restrictive covenant and confidentiality agreements, severance packages, other employment-related agreements and contracts, employee handbooks, and employer policies and procedures.

Sara conducts investigations for corporations where internal complaints of discrimination have been made, and also conducts global investigations for Fortune 100 clients.

Additionally, Sara is experienced in conducting management training on a variety of employment issues for corporations and government agencies, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of discrimination, sexual harassment, ADA, FMLA, internal and EEOC investigations, and workplace privacy and social media. She is routinely asked to participate in presentations for the bar association, law school programs and human resources organizations on the topics of employment litigation and trial training, including:

  • Washington Post on Social Media
  • PBI (Pennsylvania Bar Institute) on Effective Use of Expert Witnesses; Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace; Retaliation in the Workplace; Age Discrimination Trial; Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets Trial; Interplay of FMLA, STD and ADA; Handling the Sexual Discrimination Case; Trial of an Age Discrimination Case; Reduction in Force – Mandatory & Best Practices; To Mediate, Or Not To Mediate; EEOC Initiatives; Cross-Examining Expert Witnesses; Retaliation Claims; Asserting Counterclaims When Defending Suits by Employees; Negotiating & Drafting Enforceable Settlement Releases; and Litigating the Non-Compete/Trade Secrets Case
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School/Hope II for Haiti: A Pro Bono Project for Haiti on Corporate Social Responsibility (March 2012)
  • AIG for their Employment Law Institute
  • RIM (Risk Management Society) on the Deposition of HR Professionals

Sara is deeply committed to pro bono work, and dedicates significant time to Reed Smith’s ongoing pro bono and humanitarian projects to assist Haitian women victimized by sexual violence following the earthquake in 2010. In March 2012, Sara travelled to Haiti to work with our pro bono clients to help secure shelter and medical care. Sara also volunteers her time with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Sara enjoys an AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was selected by The Legal Intelligencer as one of its "Women of the Year" in 2012 and was selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer.

Employment History

  • 1996 - Reed Smith
    • 2014 - Global Practice Group Leader, Labor and Employment
    • 2012 - Co-Global Practice Group Leader, Labor and Employment
    • 2010 - Philadelphia Hiring Partner
  • 1987 - Clark Ladner

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by the The Legal Intelligencer as one of its "Women of the Year" in 2012
  • Enjoys an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Media Appearances

  • "Pay Bias Claim," Philly.com, May 30, 2007
  • "Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims in Hiring," Workforce.com, August 13, 2007
  • "Lawyers Urge Employers to Shift Strategy Toward Retaliation Claims," Corporate Counsel, October 27, 2008
  • "Wave of Layoffs, a Legal Minefield," The National Law Journal, November 17, 2008
  • "Spotting Troubled Employees before Violence," workplace violence.com, August 11, 2009
  • "Retaliation Claims Paralyze Employers," The American Law Journal, September 2, 2009
  • "Yale Case Shines Light on Workplace Violence," MSNBC.com, September 21, 2009
  • "Lessons from Letterman Saga," HR Executive Outline, October 12, 2009
  • "Private Practices," Inside Counsel, November 1, 2009
  • "Weighty Issues: Court Says Workers Comp Covers Weight Reduction," Inside Counsel, December 1, 2009
  • "Criminal History," Employment Law Watch, January 22, 2010
  • "Disparate Impact," Employment Law Watch, February 2, 2010
  • "Unsung Hero Pro Bono Prisoner Right," Legal Intelligencer, June 2, 2010
  • "10th Circ. Ruling Limits Duty to Reassign under ADA," Law360, June 23, 2010
  • "Law Review: Spotting a Troubled Employee Before Mass Murder is Almost Impossible, Law Experts Say," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 11, 2010
  • "Tips for Employers to Avoid Suits Over Credit Checks," Law360, December 8, 2010
  • "Is Social Networking Right for Your Business," New York Times, February 12, 2011
  • "Feds Settle Case of Woman Fired Over Facebook Site," Associated Press, February 13, 2011
  • "Firm to Alter Facebook Rule," Business Insurance, February 13, 2011
  • "Verizon Sues to Curb Union Strike Tactics," Law360, August 9, 2011
  • "Verizon Wins Injunction Against Striking Workers," Law360, August 11, 2011
  • "Pregnancy Bias in Workplace Still Widespread: EEOC Panel," Law360, February 15, 2012
  • "Pregnancy Bias is Alive and Well in America," MSNBC.com, February 15, 2012
  • "EEOC Sheds Light on Pregnancy, Caregiver Discrimination," HR Executive Online, February 17, 2012
  • "11th Circ. Says Transgender Workers Shielded By Federal Law," Law360, March 14, 2012
  • Also quoted in: American Law Journal, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Huffington Post, New York Post, Boston Globe