Sheryl Jaffee Halpern

Sheryl Jaffee Halpern

Principal
P:
312.521.2637
F:
312.521.2537

Overview

Chair of the firm's Labor & Employment group, Sheryl helps employers make important decisions about their employees in a way that is designed to minimize risk. She counsels employers on a wide range of employment matters, providing clear and direct guidance that promotes legal compliance, while remaining cognizant of practical workplace realities her clients face. With a focus on being responsive, accurate, and thorough, Sheryl provides legal advice designed to help her clients maintain peace in the workplace so they can focus on their business—rather than litigation.

"Employers don’t want their lawyer to tell them what they can't do. They want to know what they can do to achieve their goals. I get an understanding of my clients’ objectives. I then advise them on what the law provides and what their 'best practices' would be, while helping them make a business decision that works for them."

Sheryl listens to (and truly hears) her clients so that she can develop an understanding of the unique legal and business challenges they face. She recognizes that building a relationship with a client involves more than just attending to the project at hand, and she works hard to get to know her clients—the businesses and the people—so that they can count her among their trusted advisors. Sheryl’s primary area of emphasis is employment law, but she often functions as outside in-house counsel to her clients.

Employers can benefit from Sheryl's advice in many respects. Some common risky workplace situations she helps resolve include:

  • Taking a reactive, rather than proactive, approach to discrimination, harassment, wage-and-hour, and other employment-related claims
  • Using non-compete, non-solicitation, confidentiality and other agreements that have not been vetted by counsel and/or updated to reflect legal developments
  • Functioning without adequate measures for protecting confidential information and relationships with customers and employees
  • Hiring, firing, or “rightsizing” without the benefit of counsel to assist in risk mitigation
  • Making personnel decisions without the benefit of an experienced, well-trained Human Resources professional
  • Operating without an employee manual, or operating with a generic manual that has not been customized to be appropriate for the employer’s size, industry, and actual practices

Sheryl provides guidance on virtually every employment-based decision employers face. She also provides a variety of other services, including: 

  • Conducting employment practices audits to ferret out problems before they become liabilities
  • Overseeing personnel management (including hiring, firing, and reductions in force)
  • Conducting compliance training regarding a wide range of topics, including sexual and discriminatory harassment
  • Preparation of personnel documents, including employment agreements, restrictive covenants, separation agreements
  • Implementing performance management, discipline, and discharge protocols
  • Conducting due diligence pertaining to employment matters in mergers and acquisitions
  • Responding to government audits pertaining to classification of workers and other employment-based compliance issues
  • Providing guidance designed to diffuse employee complaints 

Sheryl has successfully represented employers at the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Illinois Department of Labor.

Prior to joining Much Shelist, Sheryl was a Partner in a small Chicago firm where she established the labor and employment practice. Sheryl speaks regularly at legal and industry conferences and seminars on a broad range of labor and employment topics. Recent presentations include "Top Ten Tactics to Avoid Litigation: An Employment Lawyer's Perspective," "He's an Independent Contractor…Or Is He?" "Legal and Practical Considerations for Operating a Small Business: An Employment Law Primer for Small Businesses," "Cancer in the Workplace: A Legal Perspective," "Documentation Rules of Thumb and Common Mistakes" and "Top Ten FLSA Pitfalls."

While in law school, Sheryl served as a board member of the Moot Court Honor Society and as a legal writing teaching assistant.

Sheryl also serves as co-chair emeritus of the Much Shelist Women's Initiative.

Credentials

Education

Chicago-Kent College of Law
J.D., 1993
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., 1990

Bar Admissions

Illinois

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Chicago-Lincoln American Inn of Court, Past President

Community

Sheryl was honored by the Junior League of Evanston-North Shore with the Outstanding Community Volunteer Award for 2010. She also serves on the Personnel Committee of her synagogue.

Insights & Events

Insights

Accolades

  • Leading Lawyers Network, Employment Law: Management, 2013-2018
Leading Lawyers