Anne Sherman - McDermott Will & Emery

Anne Sherman

Anne Sherman

Legal Counsel, Global Benefits and Compensation | SAS

“I feel like it’s not just me wanting to stay connected to McDermott, it’s McDermott wanting to stay connected to me.”

Anne started her career as a summer associate in McDermott’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group, continuing as an associate in the Chicago office for three years. After a move to North Carolina, she took a hiatus from employee benefits law to work at Duke University and focus on family. She recently returned to employee benefits practice at SAS, a global leader in artificial intelligence and data analytics.

How did your time at McDermott influence your career?

McDermott set me up for career success. There was so much training and investment from everyone in the Firm, from the partners, senior associates, peers and paralegals to the legal assistants. I also benefited from the sophistication of the work. I had exposure to every type of employee benefits issue, including litigation, deal work, compliance in health and welfare benefits, retirement and executive compensation. It was the best experience I could have had starting out as an associate in a Big Law firm.

Do you have a favorite McDermott memory?

When I was an associate, the partners in my practice group organized an activity with us outside of the Firm every month. It broke down some of those barriers that you might feel between a capital partner and a very junior associate. The one that stands out for me is a beautiful afternoon when one of the partners took all the associates out to a Cubs game. The presence of female leaders is also something that has stuck with me. The model of female lawyers like Diane Morgenthaler, who was practicing at the highest level, while managing to stay engaged with her family, was important to me.

What role has parenthood played in your career, and has it made you a better or different kind of lawyer?

September 11th was an inflection point for me: I had just had my first child, and it got me thinking about safety and work-life balance. Moving to North Carolina and working part time at Duke Law School when my children were younger gave me the flexibility to meet them after school and go to their events. As they grew up, I was able to invest more time and energy in my career. The choices I’ve made have given me a greater sense of empathy and a better perspective on the needs of employee benefits clients. As a young associate, I didn’t have the big-picture understanding that I do today.

What are you doing in your current role?

I am part of the corporate team in the legal division at SAS, where I focus on global benefits and compensation. That includes everything under the benefits umbrella, as well as wage and hour compensation issues, general employment questions, and even some immigration work. The questions I get on a day-to-day basis are far-ranging and complex. My internal clients are a great group of people – smart and talented – and I feel a lot of parallels to the McDermott culture there.

What was it like to return to employee benefits law after your time away?

When the position at SAS came up, I thought back to some advice I got from John Hendrickson, who was in the Employee Benefits Group when I was at McDermott. He told me that employee benefits law is always changing, but you can always come back to with it the right foundation. That advice has stayed with me. I also reached out to Todd Solomon, who urged me to join McDermott as a summer associate and has been a friend and mentor over the years. Todd told me I could do it, and that support gave me the confidence to make the leap. With my children mostly grown and in college, it was the right time to take all this experience and knowledge that I’ve gained over the years and commit to a new challenge.

Why do you stay connected to McDermott?

The relationships I made at McDermott have been pivotal. Even many years after leaving the Firm, I still get an email or holiday card every year from Alan Nesburg in the Employee Benefits Group. I feel like it’s not just me wanting to stay connected to McDermott, it’s McDermott wanting to stay connected to me.


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