Jean Ellen Novak

Director
P:(412) 281-5423
F:(412) 281-8264
E:jnovak@smgglaw.com

Biography

Jean E. Novak, a director at Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky, is co-chair of the Employer-Employee Relations practice. She understands the need for practical, business-oriented solutions to labor and employment challenges. Her reputation among her clients and her fellow attorneys has earned her a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Rating AV® Pre-eminent in the field of labor and employment law.

Through years of private and in-house practice, Jean developed a practical, business-based approach to solving problems successfully for a wide-range of clients from heavy manufacturers and hospitals to tech companies and school districts. She has trained managers and owners on a variety of subjects including policy development, discrimination, and talent management trends, and she developed the firm’s seminar series addressing management challenges for successful growing businesses. She has litigated cases in the state and federal courts and represented clients before numerous agencies including the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, the US Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights, the US and Pennsylvania Departments of Education, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

In addition to her administrative and litigation experience, Jean has represented both businesses and executives in a variety of employment matters, including successful resolution of discrimination and overtime disputes. She has also successfully negotiated severance agreements and executive contracts.

As part of her commitment to training tomorrow’s leaders, Jean has served as Distinguished Service Professor (Adjunct) at Duquesne University’s John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business where she has taught Ethical Decision Making. She has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh and at Chatham University.

Prior to attending law school, Jean, who majored in finance undergraduate and graduate, was a tax analyst for the West Virginia Department of Revenue, where one of her duties was tracking domestic and international business trends.

Professional Affiliations

  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    • Women in the Law Division Council Member
    • Lean In Committee, Chair
    • Bench Bar Committee
    • Workers’ Compensation Section
  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    • Workers’ Compensation Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Section

Community Activities

  • Sojourner House Board of Directors, (former)
    • Governance Committee, Chair
    • HR Advisor
  • Junior League of Pittsburgh
    • Sustainer
    • Past President
    • Project Director (former)
    • Community Assessment and Development Director (former)
  • Unseam’d Shakespeare Theatre Co. Board of Directors (former)
  • ProArts Board of Directors (former)
  • MOMS Board of Directors (former)

Publications

  • Ethical Issues in “Pretexting”

From Our Blog

Recognition & Awards

Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Rating AV® Pre-eminent

AV Icon 2017

Education

  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • M.S., Carnegie-Mellon University
  • B.S., West Virginia University

Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Pennsylvania