Sara A. Begley

Sara A. Begley



  • 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 2012 and 2013, 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.

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

  • Recognized by Chambers USA - Pennsylvania Labor & Employment, 2015 (“a highly capable advocate who stands out for her strategic thinking and practical advice”)
  • Recognized by Legal 500 - Labor and Employment Litigation, 2015 (“Practice head Sara Begley is ‘particularly excellent’, attracting praise for her ‘practical nature in addition to excellent legal skills’ and for being ‘very customer oriented.’”)
  • Named to Best Lawyers in America in 2014 - 2016
  • Recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2015
  • Selected by The Legal Intelligencer as one of its "Women of the Year" in 2012
  • Enjoys an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Affiliations

  • Leadership Council Member, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Media Appearances

  • Employers Using Personality Tests To Vet Applicants Need Cautious 'Personalities' of Their Own," Forbes, 30 October 2014
  • "WHEN THE WHISTLE BLOWS...Recent Developments in Whistleblower Retaliation Law and How Employers Can Guard Against Costly Claims," Forbes, 14 May 2014
  • "Employers Who Use SATs As a Hiring Metric: Be Prepared," Forbes, 7 March 2014
  • "Dolphins Scandal: A Lesson For All Employers," Forbes, 6 November 2013
  • "Helicopter Parents' Crash Kids' Job Interviews: What's An Employer To Do?" Forbes, 20 September 2013
  • "An Online Assist for Whistleblowers," HR Executive Online, 5 September 2013
  • "New OSHA Form Will Fan The Flames In Whistle-Blower Filings," Forbes, 5 September 2013
  • "Deletion of Former Owner's Email Account More Than a Year Before Litigation Results in Adverse Inference," Forbes, 16 August 2013
  • "Q&A With Reed Smith's Sara Begley," Law360, 27 February 2013
  • "11th Circ. Says Transgender Workers Shielded By Federal Law," Law360, 14 March 2012
  • "EEOC Sheds Light on Pregnancy, Caregiver Discrimination," HR Executive Online, 17 February 2012
  • "Pregnancy Bias is Alive and Well in America,", 15 February 2012
  • "Pregnancy Bias in Workplace Still Widespread: EEOC Panel," Law360, 15 February 2012
  • "Verizon Wins Injunction Against Striking Workers," Law360, 11 August 2011
  • "Verizon Sues to Curb Union Strike Tactics," Law360, 9 August 2011
  • "Firm to Alter Facebook Rule," Business Insurance, 13 February 2011
  • "Feds Settle Case of Woman Fired Over Facebook Site," Associated Press, 13 February 2011
  • "Is Social Networking Right for Your Business," New York Times, 12 February 2011
  • "Tips for Employers to Avoid Suits Over Credit Checks," Law360, 8 December 2010
  • "Law Review: Spotting a Troubled Employee Before Mass Murder is Almost Impossible, Law Experts Say," Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 August 2010
  • "10th Circ. Ruling Limits Duty to Reassign under ADA," Law360, 23 June 2010
  • "Unsung Hero Pro Bono Prisoner Right," Legal Intelligencer, 2 June 2010
  • "Disparate Impact," Employment Law Watch, 2 February 2010
  • "Criminal History," Employment Law Watch, 22 January 2010
  • "Weighty Issues: Court Says Workers Comp Covers Weight Reduction," Inside Counsel, 1 December 2009
  • "Private Practices," Inside Counsel, 1 November 2009
  • "Lessons from Letterman Saga," HR Executive Online, 12 October 2009
  • "Yale Case Shines Light on Workplace Violence,", 21 September 2009
  • "Retaliation Claims Paralyze Employers," The American Law Journal, 2 September 2009
  • "Spotting Troubled Employees before Violence,", 11 August 2009
  • "Wave of Layoffs, a Legal Minefield," The National Law Journal, 17 November 2008
  • "Lawyers Urge Employers to Shift Strategy Toward Retaliation Claims," Corporate Counsel, 27 October 2008
  • "Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims in Hiring,", 13 August 2007
  • "Pay Bias Claim,", 30 May 2007
  • Also quoted in: American Law Journal, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Huffington Post, New York Post, Boston Globe