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Kristin D. Sostowski

Kristin D. Sostowski

Director, Employment & Labor Law

Kristin Sostowski is known for her tenacious advocacy, strategic approach, and attention to detail in providing counsel to employers. Recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers®, New Jersey Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation as among the leading employment lawyers in New Jersey, she balances her practice between employment litigation and counseling and is the Team Leader of the firm’s Higher Education practice. Chambers USA notes that “her knowledge is vast and she has an appreciation of the big picture as well as the details.” Ms. Sostowski served as President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) from 2019-2020 and is currently the association’s Immediate Past President.

Ms. Sostowski advises employers regarding compliance with federal and state workplace laws, prevention or early resolution of employment disputes before they lead to litigation, and defense of workplace-related disputes. She represents companies and managers in employment litigation in state and federal courts and agencies, with an emphasis on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, and restrictive covenant matters. Ms. Sostowski also provides employment law advice to in-house counsel, human resources professionals, and executives in a variety of industries, including higher education, technology, pharmaceuticals, financial services, healthcare, and public and nonprofit entities.

A longtime champion for women’s advancement in the legal profession and under the law, Ms. Sostowski served as President of the National Association of Women Lawyers for the 2019-2020 term. Founded in 1899, NAWL is the nation’s oldest professional organization devoted to the interests and progress of women lawyers and women’s legal rights. As President of NAWL during both the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Sostowski led the association through its first virtual Midyear and Annual Meetings, with ambitious programming to reflect the significance of the historic anniversary and meet the needs of attorneys working remotely during the pandemic. During her term as President, NAWL also undertook a multi-year, strategic planning process and reinvigorated its focus on advocacy and public policy issues. Ms. Sostowski has served on NAWL’s Board since 2011 and is currently its Immediate Past President. She is also a longtime Trustee of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association and is active in the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance.

Ms. Sostowski is listed in the most recent editions of the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers® for Litigation – Labor and Employment, New Jersey Super Lawyers for Employment & Labor, and Benchmark Litigation as a “Labor & Employment Star – Northeast,” and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She was named to Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching” list and NJBIZ’s “Best 50 Women in Business” list for 2019. In 2014, she was named to NJBIZ’s “Forty Under 40” list for her work on behalf of employers, supporting the long-term growth and success of New Jersey businesses, and for her leadership on women attorneys’ issues.

Areas of Focus

Employment Litigation & Agency Matters

Ms. Sostowski represents management in disputes with their current and former employees, concentrating on whistleblower, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and restrictive covenant litigation. She has defended single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. She also has experience representing employers in arbitration and mediation and in government investigations and audits arising from the employment relationship.

Employment Law Counseling & Investigations

Ms. Sostowski also counsels clients on compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws, prevention or early resolution of employment disputes before they lead to litigation, and employment issues in connection with corporate transactions. She regularly advises clients in a variety of industries, including higher education, technology, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and public and nonprofit entities regarding a wide range of employment issues, including:

  • Hiring practices, performance management, and terminations
  • Employee leaves and accommodations
  • Workforce restructuring and reductions in force
  • Compensation issues, including equal pay
  • Wage and hour and worker classification issues
  • Independent contractor issues
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Executive employment agreements
  • Employment issues arising from corporate transactions.

She works closely with clients’ in-house counsel and human resources departments to assess and refine their employment practices and develop policies, handbooks, and employment agreements that complement their business needs.

Ms. Sostowski also handles internal investigations of alleged employee misconduct. She has conducted numerous investigations, both privileged and non-privileged, of allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and/or violations of employer codes of conduct.

Higher Education

Ms. Sostowski works with higher education institutions to address the many employment-related issues they face. She conducts Title IX investigations and represents colleges and universities in employment litigation matters. She also regularly advises colleges and universities regarding compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations; employee leaves and accommodations; termination of employment and reductions in force; employee and manager training; drafting of policies, handbooks, and agreements; and wage and hour, worker classification, contractor, and compensation issues. Ms. Sostowski is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and she has been appointed to the New Jersey State Bar Association Higher Education Committee.

Electronic Discovery & Information Management Counseling

As a longtime member of the firm’s E-Discovery Task Force, Ms. Sostowski is particularly knowledgeable regarding the management of employee usage of technology. She frequently counsels clients and lectures on the evolution of employment law in response to technology, including latest developments in social media and electronic systems policies and strategies for protecting business interests that may be impacted by employees’ use of technology.

Credentials

Education

Harvard Law School (J.D.)

  • Executive Board, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

Swarthmore College (B.A., with high honors)

  • Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Admissions

State of New Jersey

State of New York

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Professional Activities

National Association of Women Lawyers
Immediate Past President, 2020-Present
President, 2019-2020
Executive Board, 2014-Present
Founder and Co-Chair, Pipeline to Equity Partnership Program, 2011-2017
Board Member at Large, 2011-2014

New Jersey Women Lawyers Association
Trustee at Large, 2012-2018; 2020-Present
Co-Director of Membership, 2010-2012
Co-Director of Best Practices, 2008-2010; 2018-2020

National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

New Jersey State Bar Association
Higher Education Committee

Harvard Law School Association
Celebration 65: Programming Committee, 2018
Celebration 60: Women Transforming Our Communities & The World, Executive Committee/Outreach Co-Chair, 2013
Celebration 55: The Women’s Leadership Summit, Outreach Committee, 2008
Harvard Law School Association of New Jersey, Trustee, 2005-2009

American Bar Foundation
Fellow

Sidney Reitman Employment Law American Inn of Court
Barrister, 2009-2013

Civic/Charitable Activities

Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey
Special Events Committee Member, 2007-Present
Auction Chairperson, 2007-2013

Pingry Alumni Association
Vice President, 2020-Present
Director, 2017-2020

Legal Employment

McDermott Will & Emery, Boston, MA, 2001-2005