2022 Labor/Employment Law Q&A
Elizabeth M. Ebanks
Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Richmond
Title: Equity shareholder
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Virginia; law degree and MBA, University of Richmond
Family: My lovely and very active toddler, Isadora, and partner, John Hennon
Career mentors: My mom, who showed me that being true to myself and good to others will always guide me in the right direction; my law partner, Jimmy F. Robinson Jr., my consummate champion and exemplar attorney; and former law colleagues Steve D. Brown and Charlie G. Meyer, who helped raise me from a baby lawyer to a burgeoning partner.
Bingeworthy TV show: “Seinfeld” — fan for life
Favorite dish: Pizza — from cheap New York slices to artisan pies, it never disappoints.
How did the pandemic affect employment law? Job security and the pandemic do not go hand in hand, but for labor and employment lawyers, we were at the forefront of every question from 2020 through today. From advising on hiring and retaining talent during the Great Resignation, requests to “work from anywhere” (think Paris), vaccine mandate issues and broadening the scope of diversity, equity and inclusion, I continue to partner with employers to survive and thrive in uncertain times.
You have an MBA in addition to your law degree. How has that proved useful to you in working with your clients? Understanding business operations and providing practical solutions is key as an employment lawyer. My MBA enhances my ability to be business-savvy, nimble and advise on a broader level beyond the legal perspective.