Sheryl Axelrod is the President and CEO of The Axelrod Firm, P.C. She provides strategic, results-driven advice and representation to companies regarding their commercial, employment, and products liability litigation matters in Pennsylvania state and federal courts.
In recognition of her litigation and case assessment skills, she is among the less than 130 attorneys that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Program judges appointed to serve as a Judge Pro Tempore (JPT) / Settlement Master. She also serves on the elite roster of American Arbitration Association (AAA) Panelists rated to decide Large, Complex Commercial Disputes.
In business disputes, she is available to advise and represent clients in litigation and settlement, and/or to serve as a Settlement Master / Mediator, Discovery Master, Arbitrator, and Receiver in a host of matters including in Business Torts, Business Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Construction Litigation, Discovery Disputes, Employment Litigation & Non-Compete Agreements, Multi-Party Litigation, Personal Injury / Bodily Injury Litigation, Professional Liability Matters, and Real Estate & Title Litigation Matters.
Click here review some representative recommendations of Ms. Axelrod’s Judge Pro Tempore | Mediator | Settlement Master Work. The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) hosted a webinar in which Ms. Axelrod served as a panelist on, “Business Continuity During the #COVID19 Pandemic…and How Alternative Dispute Resolution Can Help!”
Ms. Axelrod is recognized as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania Jury Verdict Review & Analysis,” which catalogs significant state verdicts, published about one of her trials, a David versus Goliath commercial litigation victory for her client-defendant. She is also a Senior Fellow in Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a by-invitation-only organization of top trial lawyers that accepts less than one-half of one percent of the country’s lawyers.
She is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating awarded by this nationally recognized leader in lawyer ratings.
For her employment defense work, she was selected a Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell™. She defends companies in their employment matters including in AIR21 matters.
Ms. Axelrod has won many cases on her written submissions without having to go to trial. Her writing is so strong, two of her briefs have been published. Appellate practice is virtually all based on brief writing, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania’s primary intermediate appellate court, chose her to appear on television to explain Pennsylvania appellate practice to the public prior to televised oral arguments.
Ms. Axelrod is also an award-winning diversity champion and expert speaker and writer in the space, a Founder of the non-profit, The Fearless Women Network, and the creator of “Axelrod’s Tools to Become A Diversity Champion.” She has been awarded: 1) The National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) Advocacy Award; 2) The Diversity Law Institute (DLI) Award; 3) The Temple Law Alumni Association (TLAA) Women’s Champion Award; 4) The TLAA Service Award; and 4) The Litigation Counsel of America Peter Perlman Service Award. The Axelrod Firm is also the recipient of the DLI Diversity Award.
Ms. Axelrod serves as Co-Chair of both the NAMWOLF Advocacy Committee and DLI’s Advisory Board. She also serves on both the Gender Wealth Institute and the Women Lawyers On Guard Conversations With Men (CWM) Advisory Councils, and previously served on Women Owned Law’s (WOL’s) Advisory Board and as Co-Chair of WOL’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force.
Ms. Axelrod is a past President of TLAA and the founder of the TLAA: Women’s Initiative, Diversity Committee, Women’s Champion Award, and Diversity Leadership Award. She regularly serves as a keynote speaker, including on National Conference of Women’s Bar Association GOOD Guys’ programs which advocate for men to also champion gender equity. She is also an active and supporting member of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Black lawyers, and was the first white person to become an active Barristers’ member (in 2014). She has undergone LGBTQI+ ally training.
Ms. Axelrod was inducted into The League for Entrepreneurial Women of Temple University Hall of Fame. She has been profiled by the American Bar Association (ABA), Profiles in Diversity Journal, INSIGHT into Diversity, Women to Watch™, Ms. JD, by Law360 which featured her in its Female Powerbrokers series, and by Thomson Reuters which profiled her in its “Fearless Persona Campaign,” a nationwide series covering the attorneys who are changing the landscape of the legal industry for the better.
In the ABA, Ms. Axelrod served on the President’s Gender Equity Task Force. Ms. Axelrod is a member of the Forum of Executive Women and serves on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Panel. She co-created The Forum’s Male Champions for Women program.
She is a former member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Executive Council, WIP Diversity Committee Co-Chair, and member of the PBA Diversity Team.
Ms. Axelrod received her Bachelor’s degree Cum Laude in Economics from Brandeis University in 1990 after spending her junior year of college studying at la Universidad Compultense de Madrid (in English, the Compultense University of Madrid). She received her law degree from Temple University in 1993 after having won the 1992 Samuel J. Polsky Moot Court Competition. Upon graduation from Temple Law School, she clerked for the Honorable Sandra Mazer Moss, a distinguished and award winning (and now retired) jurist.
Ms. Axelrod is Jewish, speaks Spanish fluently, has two slow-learning brothers, and is the mother of a Jewish Latina. Prior to founding The Axelrod Firm, Ms. Axelrod worked in the Commercial Litigation Department of Blank Rome LLP, one of the largest law firms in the country, handling some of the largest and most complex commercial litigation matters.
- Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude
TEMPLE LAW SCHOOL
- Juris Doctorate
- Winner, Samuel J. Polsky Moot Court Competition
- Member, Moot Court Honor Society
Community College of Philadelphia | 2015
- Certificate of Entrepreneurship, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program
- New Jersey
- Supreme Court of the United States
- Third Circuit Court of Appeals
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
- Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Middle District of Pennsylvania
- Supreme Court of New Jersey
- District Court of New Jersey
- Ms. Axelrod joined the Women Lawyers on Guard’s Conversations with Men Advisory Council.
- Ms. Axelrod joined the Gender Wealth Institute (GWI) Advisory Council. GWI is a program of WOMEN’S WAY, the region’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of gender equity.
- Ms. Axelrod serves as Co-Chair of the NAMWOLF Advocacy Committee which advocates nationwide for the greater inclusion of minority and women owned law firms.
- She is a founder of the Fearless Women Network, a non-profit dedicated to shattering glass ceilings and obliterating unequal pay, and served as Co-Chair of its Philadelphia Symposium.
- In 2014, Ms. Axelrod was appointed by the President of the ABA to the ABA’s Task Force on Gender Equity and served as an American Bar Association Diversity Fellow.
- Ms. Axelrod is a longstanding member of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Diversity Committee and is a former member of the NAWL Amicus Committee.
- She serves on the Advisory Board of Women Owned Law (WOL) and as Co-Chair of WOL’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. This non-profit’s mission is to provide opportunities for women legal entrepreneurs to come together, support each other and help their businesses prosper.
- She spent years serving on the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Executive Council and Diversity Team of Ambassadors. She is also a former Co-Chair of the PBA WIP Diversity Committee and remains a PBA Minority Bar Committee member.
- She is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms Task Force and in 2010, served as Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Law Practice Management Committee. She also serves on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms Task Force.
- From 2000 to 2003, while serving on the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Ms. Axelrod co-chaired the Michael K. Smith Oratorical Contest, organizing and running a moot court competition in which attorneys in the Philadelphia Bar Association volunteer to judge Philadelphia public school students in grades 4-8, who present mock oral appellate arguments. These Bar Reporter pages include articles about two of the contests: here and here.
- When she was President of the Temple Law Alumni Association (TLAA) from 2012-2013, she founded the TLAA Women’s Initiative and the TLAA Diversity Committee and the committees’ annual awards, the TLAA Women’s Leadership Award and the TLAA Diversity Champion Award. She also created the criteria for both awards and presented the first honorees with their awards.
- She is a member of the Forum of Executive Women, an organization of locally influential women, in which she serves on the Inclusion, Mentor, and Women in Executive Leadership and Governance Committees, and she serves on DirectWomen, an organization dedicated to advancing women lawyers onto major corporate board positions.
- Ms. Axelrod has taken formal LGBTQ ally training, twice, and served as an ally and expert in the equality, diversity, and inclusion space in the Philadelphia LGBT Exchange.
- Since 2013, Ms. Axelrod has been a member of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to addressing the professional needs and development of Black lawyers in the City of Philadelphia.
- Since 2011, Ms. Axelrod has also been running holiday toy drives benefitting children living without homes in local Salvation Army shelters, on their way to getting more permanent housing.
- In college, Ms. Axelrod tutored a local African American high school student through all three years she spent on campus at Brandeis University. (She spent her junior year abroad.) Her mentee, Malik, was one of the few minorities in his school and faced discrimination from both his fellow students and teachers.
- After law school, Ms. Axelrod devoted four (4) years volunteering, after work hours and on weekends, coaching high school mock trial teams. Two of the teams Ms. Axelrod coached were the 1999 and 2000 inner-city, all-minority Overbrook High School Teams, whom Ms. Axelrod co-coached in the John S. Bradway High School National Mock Trial Competition. The 2000 Overbrook High School Mock Trial Team Ms. Axelrod coached beat over 65 public and parochial schools to make it to the Regional Championship of the competition. The 2001 Team she coached made it to the state semi-final round. While on average, one out of every three students do not graduate from Overbrook High School, every student Ms. Axelrod coached did and all but one went on to college. One of the Overbrook students Ms. Axelrod coached went on to graduate from Temple Law School and herself coached an Overbrook High School Mock Trial Team to victory in the Regional Championship of the competition. Ms. Axelrod also coached the Upper Darby and Clearview Regional High School Mock Trial Teams in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
- In 2000, during her time working as an attorney at Blank Rome, Ms. Axelrod spearheaded bringing “Philadelphia Reads” to Blank Rome’s Philadelphia Office. Through the program, overwhelmingly minority, inner-city school children are brought to companies so that adults in them can reach the program’s goal of teaching the students to read well and independently by the end of the third grade.
- “Brief Of Northwest Airlines, Inc. In Opposition To The Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari,” Grimes v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., (Oct. 17, 2000)
- “Response of Defendant, Macrotech Fluid Sealing, Inc., to Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Support of Motion for New Trial Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59 and an Evidentiary Hearing,” Stecyk v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. et al., (Jul. 27, 1999)
“Diverse Companies Out-Deliver on the Bottom Line” American Bar Association Woman Advocate Committee 2021 Summer Newsletter (authored by Jamie L. Augustinsky and Kevinn Souffrant; edited by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Sandy Sakamoto; published on August 3, 2021)
“It’s Been a Long Time Coming, But I Know a Change Gon’ Come” American Bar Association Woman Advocate Committee 2021 Summer Newsletter (authored by Kenneth M. Battle and Jamie L. Augustinsky; edited by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Sandy Sakamoto; published on August 3, 2021)
“Diverse and Inclusive Teams: They Simply Work Better Together” American Bar Association Woman Advocate Committee 2021 Summer Newsletter (authored by Gerardo Alcazar; edited by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Sandy Sakamoto; published on August 3, 2021)
“Diverse Trial Teams: A Competitive Advantage” American Bar Association Woman Advocate Committee 2021 Summer Newsletter (authored and edited by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Sandy Sakamoto; published on August 3, 2021)
“Rethinking Diversity in Legal Teams” American Bar Association Woman Advocate Committee 2021 Summer Newsletter (authored by C. Jeffrey Leung and Roberto Portillo Togno; edited by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Sandy Sakamoto; published on August 3, 2021)
- “Mayday, Mayday! Minimizing air carriers’ exposure by protecting their whistleblowers – lessons gleaned from AIR21,” The American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Aviation and Space Law, Winter 2020 (co-published with Lisa Savitt in the Spring of 2020)
- Ms. Axelrod’s letter about how she came to have grit (published in GRIT The Secret To Advancement: Stories Of Successful Women Lawyers) (August 7, 2018)
- “What We’re Taught About Women Who Rise,” LinkedIn, August 12, 2016
- “A Case for Increasing Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards,” Forum of Executive Women (authored by Sheryl L. Axelrod and Mary Beth Gray in consultation with Vicki W. Kramer), July 17, 2015
- “Guide to Promoting the In-House Legal Department Utilization of NAMWOLF Law Firms,” National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, May 14, 2015 (authored by Alan Bryan, Gilda Spencer, Donna Johnson, Shanin Fuller, and Nancy Peterson, with input and oversight by John Murdock and Sheryl L. Axelrod)
- “Challenging the Myths About Women and Minority Lawyers,” The American Bar Association, March 13, 2015
- “Oh, The Times of Inequality, They Are A-Changin’,” The American Bar Association, March 13, 2015
- “Countering diversity fatigue: The audacity of hope backed up by data — seeing the paradigm shifting,” Women Lawyers Journal Vol. 99, No. 4, January 2015 (cover story)
- “A Firm Of Their Own” – My interview by Diana Konate, Ms. JD Blog, December 30, 2014
- “Uninvited: Preferred Counsel Lists and How They Limit Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms’ Access to Legal Work,” American Bar Association, December 1, 2014
- “Banking on Diversity: Diversity and Inclusion as Profit Drivers-The Business Case for Diversity,” The American Bar Association, June 12, 2014 (Listed among the ABA’s Top Resources)
- “Six Steps to Minimizing Gender and Minority Bias,” The American Bar Association, May 26, 2014
- “A Primer on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality: From the Profitability of Diversity to Unconscious Bias to its Impact on Our Country,” Take the Lead (the website of the “Take the Lead Challenge” featuring Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg), February 7, 2014
- “Disregard Diversity at Your Financial Peril: Diversity as a Competitive Financial Advantage,” Diversity & the Bar, May / June 2013
- Republished by The American Bar Association as the Featured Article, November 2013
- Republished by The National Association of Women Lawyers, November 4, 2013
- “Diversity is Good for Business: What You Need to Know to Comply with Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act,” September 5, 2012
- “The Dollars And Sense Of Diversity,” The Pennsylvania Lawyer, July / August 2012 (cover story)
- “Seven Steps to Starting a Law Firm,” The Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Newsletter, Winter 2011 / 2012
- “Committee’s Goal is Helping Solos Succeed,” The Philadelphia Bar Reporter, September 2010
- “Assessing Your Company’s Exposure in an Employment Discrimination Case,” May 27, 2009
Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee
How to Reach Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: Sheryl Axelrod’s NAMWOLF Podcast
In the first of a series of podcasts focused on NAMWOLF, Sharon Sayles Belton, Thomson Reuters’ Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Relations, interviewed Firm President Sheryl Axelrod about women and minority inclusion and participation.
Sheryl’s spotlight podcast is part of an initiative developed by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute dedicated to “Transforming Womens Leadership.” We hope you’ll take a listen: https://www.legalexecutiveinstitute.com/womens-leadership-podcast-axelrod-namwolf/#
To read the full transcript of Sheryl’s podcast, visit: http://legalexecutiveinstitute.com/womens-leadership-podcast-transcript-namwolf-axelrod/.
- Pushing for diversity and inclusion in the legal industry – Thomson Reuters featured Ms. Axelrod in its Fearless Persona Campaign, a national campaign featuring fearless attorneys – General Counsels at the forefront of the largest companies in the country, partners in Am Law 200 and other large law firms, and partners of midsize and small law firms — who are changing the landscape of the legal industry. Ms. Axelrod was featured for her work moving the needle in favor of greater equality, diversity, and inclusion. Her Fearless Persona profile includes a discussion of concrete tools she created to help everyone become diversity champions, tools you can use and share with others who you can turn into diversity champions.
- Woman Worth Watching – Profiles in Diversity Journal profiled Ms. Axelrod in its “Women Worth Watching” series
- Women to Watch™ – Radio interview by Susan Rocco
- Law Firm Diversity Professionals Roundtable, INSIGHT into Diversity by Alexandra Vollman (June 24, 2015)
Overbrook to State Finals After Upset in Legal Clash Quoting Ms. Axelrod, who co-coached the team