Thomas E. Shirley

Tom Shirley represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law.  An experienced litigator, Mr. Shirley also works with clients to help insure compliance with applicable federal and state laws and minimize their exposure to employment-related claims and disputes.  

Mr. Shirley was named the 2017 Boston "Lawyer of the Year" for Management Employment Law. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer

Practice Focus

Employment Litigation:  all aspects of employment litigation, including non-compete and fiduciary duty claims, wage and hour claims, employment discrimination and sexual harassment, wrongful termination, defamation and ERISA.

Employment Counseling & Compliance:  full range of applicable state and federal employment law issues.  

Executive Employment:  employment agreements, compensation and benefit matters, non-competition and fiduciary duty advice and litigation.  

Labor Matters:  collective bargaining, labor arbitration, union organizing, work stoppages and unfair labor practice claims.

Representative Engagements

  • Led appellate team in overturning civil rights award against city official before US Supreme Court.
  • Successfully defended major consulting firm in jury trial involving discrimination/wrongful denial of partnership claims brought by senior consultant.
  • Obtained favorable defense settlement in major False Claims Act litigation.
  • Successfully compelled arbitration of wage and hour lawsuit.
  • Frequently represent both individuals and employers in non-compete litigation.
  • Successfully represented national accounting firm in multi claim litigation brought by two former partners.
  • Won summary judgment for investment management firm in litigation with former portfolio manager and new employer.  
  • Regularly negotiate senior executive employment agreements on behalf of both senior executives and their employers.

Publications and Presentations

  • “Hot Topics in Employment Law 2011,” Renaissance Alliance Group Annual Meeting, October 2011.
  • “Case Study:  Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright,” co-author, Employment Law360, February 2011.
  • “Massachusetts Employment 2010 Legislative Update,” National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, Braintree, MA, October 2010.
  • Regular client alerts, presentations, and training.

Professional and Community Involvement

Mr. Shirley is a former member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.  He is a member of the Labor and Employment Section and Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, the Labor Law Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association.  Mr. Shirley joined the firm in 1983; partner in Labor, Employment & Benefits Group since 1988; Chair since 1999.

Education & Credentials

University of Virginia School of Law
JD, 1980
University of Virginia
BA, 1977, highest distinction




US Court of Appeals, First & Seventh Circuits

US District Court, Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Northern District of Illinois

US Supreme Court