Stephanie Sheridan, ’88

Steering the Ship

Growing up with Sedgwick and helping form its identity

With 28 years of experience at Sedgwick LLP, Stephanie Sheridan ’88 knows her length of experience at one firm stands out these days. Just as the firm has changed and grown during those years, so too has Sheridan, who was recently named managing partner of the San Francisco office.

Sheridan primarily handles consumer class action defense and is founder and chair of the firm’s retail and fashion industry practice group, representing retailers across the country in all aspects of litigation. “I really enjoy working with retailers and the issues they have,” Sheridan said. “It’s an industry that is constantly in motion.”

When Sheridan started out at the firm, she had the opportunity to try a lot of cases on her own early on, an experience she describes as “helping you mature very quickly.” Her USF education, Sheridan said, helped her achieve that early success.

I feel like people are really supportive in this community. USF reaches out and supports one another.

“I took courses like Problems in Evidence where Professor Bob Talbot would assign people to play opposing counsel and the class would have to identify and shout out evidentiary objections. There’s really no way like learning on your feet,” she said. “Classes like that and moot court were good training grounds. I also had good working experiences during law school at various firms, so by the time I started at Sedgwick, I felt like I was able to hit the ground running.”

stephanie-sheridanOver the years, Sheridan’s work covered a broad range of topics, from underground storage tanks to airbags to psychological injury. In 2006, as some requirements of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) started taking effect for retailers, Sheridan saw an opportunity. She began calling companies, some which she had connections with but many of which she didn’t, to see if they needed help with FACTA cases.

“Before I knew it, I represented a lot of retailers across the country,” Sheridan said. “I realized I liked that business and I liked the work.” The firm’s retail practice group was officially born less than a year later.

Her responsibilities at the firm also have broadened considerably since being named managing partner in January. With that not only comes administrative duties, Sheridan said, but also the expectations that come with being a role model for having a successful law career and a family. “It’s good for young associates, both women and men, to see that it is possible to do,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but it is possible.”

The supportive approach Sheridan instills at Sedgwick reflects the spirit she remembers during her law school days and still observes among the alumni network today, notably in her role on the Board of Governors. “People genuinely support each other and want each other to succeed,” she said. “I feel like people are really supportive in this community. USF reaches out and supports one another.”