A former educator, Sarah represents school boards and public and private colleges and universities in litigation in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, such as the Office of Administrative Hearings. She has experience handling a wide range of education law disputes, including those involving compliance with federal statutes and regulations like the IDEA, Title IX, Title VII, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA. She also litigates disputes involving special education and disability issues, employment issues, and constitutional claims, such as violations against the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments.

Sarah holds a Master’s degree in School Counseling, and uses her experience advocating for students’ rights to counsel educational institutions on state and federal regulatory compliance and civil rights issues.

Representative experience includes:

  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a board of education for a Title VII claim brought by a school administrator.
  • Obtaining trial court dismissal of constitutional claims brought by a student’s parent against a board of education and persuading the Fourth Circuit to dismiss an attempted appeal from the trial court’s judgment.
  • Obtaining trial court dismissal of wage and hour and COBRA compliance claims brought by former teacher against a board of education.
  • Training and consultation regarding special education and disability law compliance.
  • Resolving disputes between parents and boards of education regarding claims of violations of federal civil rights, special education, and disability laws as well as common law tort claims.
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Sarah represents employers before government agencies and in state and federal courts on numerous employment law matters, including EEOC charges and lawsuits, common law employment claims, contract disputes, and discrimination and harassment claims. Sarah also counsels clients on compliance with state and federal laws, employment policies and handbooks, and employment agreements. She has particular experience with civil rights claims, representing parties on both sides of civil rights and discrimination-related lawsuits.

Representative experience includes:

  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a board of education for a Title VII claim brought by a school administrator.
  • Obtaining trial court dismissal of wage and hour and COBRA compliance claims brought by former teacher against a board of education.
  • Advising various employers in drafting employee handbooks and employee contracts.
  • Defending technology company in breach of contract action involving former executive.
  • Advising employers on navigating workplace climate when employees "come out" as transgender or gay.
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Sarah represents businesses in a wide variety of industries to settle disputes both in and out of the courtroom. She has worked with companies in employment-related litigation cases, contract disputes, and personal injury/wrongful death cases. Sarah also has experience representing companies at the appellate level, drafting amicus briefs and records on appeal.

Representative experience includes:

  • Defending health care provider in litigation alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Obtaining trial court judgment in favor of manufacturer in breach of contract action.
  • Defending technology company in breach of contract action involving former executive.
  • Defending an apartment complex in litigation involving third party criminal acts.
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Sarah has a particular focus on broadening awareness of diversity issues within organizations. She counsels companies, educational institutions, and other organizations on compliance with state and federal civil rights regulations, including Title VII and Title IX, the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. She also assists organizations with developing diversity and inclusion policies.  Sarah defends businesses in civil rights litigation when necessary.

Sarah also represents individuals in obtaining favorable results related to their markers of diversity. She has experience handling disputes on behalf of trans* persons involving discrimination and obtaining legal name and gender marker changes. 

Few attorneys have the depth and breadth of knowledge obtained by representing both organizations and individuals in diversity-related matters.  This provides Sarah with level-headed vision in counseling and advocating on behalf of clients facing legal challenges related to diversity issues.

Representative experience includes:

  • Representing minors and adults in obtaining legal name and gender marker changes.
  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a board of education for a Title VII claim brought by a school administrator.
  • Representing amici curiae in disputing constitutionality of domestic violence protection law before the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
  • Defending health care provider in litigation alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Resolving disputes between parents and boards of education regarding claims of violations of federal civil rights, special education, and disability laws as well as common law tort claims.
  • Representing trans* persons in various discrimination disputes.
  • Training and consultation regarding sexual harassment and LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Advising employers on navigating workplace climate when employees "come out" as transgender or gay.
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Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America(link is external)© "Ones to Watch" for Labor and Employment Law – Management (2021)

Recognized as "Young Lawyer of the Quarter" (April-June 2020) by the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association

American Bar Association and Bloomberg BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law (2017)

North Carolina State Bar Student Pro Bono Service Award (2017)

Recognized in National Jurist as a “Law Student of the Year” (2016)

Scholar, American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division (2020-present)

Bar Outreach Division Director, Young Lawyers Division, North Carolina Bar Association (2020-present)

Member, Education Law Section Council, North Carolina Bar Association (2020-present)

North Carolina Young Lawyer Delegate, American Bar Association House of Delegates (2020-present)

North Carolina Delegate, American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division Assembly (2020-present)

Co-Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Young Lawyers Division, North Carolina Bar Association (2018-2020)

Member, Board of Trustees, Triad Stage (2018-present)

Member, Chairperson, Board of Directors, North Star LGBTQ Community Center (2018-present)

Member, Pro Bono Committee, North Carolina Bar Association (2017-present)

Parliamentarian, Blount Advisory Fellows, University of Alabama Blount Scholars Program (2017-present)

 

Presenter, "Addressing Students’ Mental Health Needs and Suicide Prevention: New Legislation," North Carolina School Boards Association Fall Law Conference, Oct. 7, 2020

Author, "Guidance on PPE for North Carolina Schools," July 22, 2020

Co-author (with Beth Langley), "High Court Clarifies Federal Worker Standard for Liability in ADEA Claims," April 8, 2020

Panelist, "LGBT Experiences and the Law: A Panel Discussion on LGBT Lawyers in the Workplace," Wake Forest University School of Law, October 23, 2019

Co-author (with Beth Langley), "New Paid Leave Laws Require Employers to Change Practices," GGI Labour and Employment Law Newsletter, Fall 2019

Co-presenter (with Patricia Goodson), "New Salary History Bans Change Hiring Practices," GGI labour and employment group webinar, November 1, 2018

Co-author (with Bill Cary), "Supreme Court Approves Arbitration Agreement Class Action Bar,"  GGI Labour and Employment Law Newsletter, Fall 2018

Co-author (with Patricia Goodson), "New Salary History Bans Change Hiring Practices," GGI Labour Law Practice Newsletter, Spring 2018

As a recreational kayaker, I always look downstream, “reading the river,” to choose the most efficient combination of strokes and strength for a successful trip. I approach my clients’ needs the same way: I study the horizon to find the most efficient and effective route to meet their goals. Whether pre-emptively addressing a problem down the river, or paddling out of a problem that has just come to light, I use hard work and a wide range of legal tools to find a successful outcome.

When I am not practicing law, you can find me exploring North Carolina’s waterways, hiking with my dog, or trying out new recipes with my weekend farmer’s market finds.

Recent Publications & Media

Speaking Engagements

Recognitions

The 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America © recognized 73 Brooks Pierce attorneys as industry...(read more)

Recent Publications & Media