Office Information

  • Practice Group Leader, Labor and Employment Group
Kara is a member and Practice Group Leader for Butler Snow’s Labor and Employment group. She regularly advises clients in a variety of industries on employment law compliance. She has extensive employment litigation and agency experience in Tennessee and around the country.

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Kara Shea has been practicing law for 25 years, helping clients to develop and implement employment policies, assisting clients in conducting internal audits and investigations, and counseling clients on all aspects of employment law compliance.  Kara also has extensive litigation experience, including acting as lead counsel in wage and hour class and collective actions, and briefing a discrimination case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Kara has conducted numerous independent workplace investigations for clients, as well as conducting supervisory training for clients on a variety of employment law-related topics.  Kara frequently writes and speaks on employment law issues, including co-authoring a comprehensive Wage & Hour Compliance manual published by HRHero® and BLR®.

Kara has edited the Tennessee Employment Law Letter (published by BLR®) for 17 years, and has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® for employment law – management and labor law – management; by Super Lawyers® on their lists for Mid-South Super Lawyers (for employment and labor); Top 50 Women: Mid-South Super Lawyers, Top 50: Nashville Super Lawyers; and Top 100: Tennessee Super Lawyers. She was recognized by the Nashville Business Journal’s Best of the Bar in 2020 in the employment law category and has been ranked by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for labor and employment in Tennessee for many years.

Kara obtained her J.D. from Vanderbilt University and is admitted to the State Bar of Tennessee, the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth, Seventh, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court.


Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 6th Circuit
    • 7th Circuit
    • 10th Circuit
    • 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Lifetime Achievement Selection, America’s Top 100 Attorneys®, 2016
  • Best of the Bar, Nashville Business Journal, 2012, 2020
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Employment Law – Management, 2013-2023
    • Labor Law – Management, 2015-2023
  • Super Lawyers®
    • Top 50 Women:  Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2014-2016
    • Top 50: Nashville Super Lawyers, 2014-2016
    • Top 100: Tennessee Super Lawyers, 2014, 2016
    • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor, 2013-2021
  • Nashville’s Top 101 Lawyers, Nashville Post Magazine, 2011
  • Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Labor & Employment (Tennessee), 2014-2022
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Labor & Employment Star, 2021
  • Law360, Employment Authority Wage & Hour Editorial Advisory Board, 2022
  • Fellow, Nashville Bar Association
  • More...

Education & Honors

  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 1996
    • Associate Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review
  • Boston University, B.S., summa cum laude, 1991


  • Extensive employment litigation and agency experience in Tennessee and around the country.
  • Briefed cases to Tennessee Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court.
  • Acted as lead and co-lead counsel in multiple wage and hour class and collective actions in health care, transportation, agriculture, staffing, insurance, and retail services industries, among others.
  • Regularly advises clients in a variety of industries on employment law compliance.
  • Has conducted numerous workplace investigations for clients, as well as conducting supervisory training for clients, on a variety of employment law-related topics.  
  • Has provided FLSA exemption classification, independent contractor classification, and overtime issues analysis to clients in a variety of industries.
  • Has assisted clients in a variety of industries with employment issues related to mergers and acquisitions and reductions-in-force.
  • Provides guidance and risk assessment relative to employee disciplinary action and termination.
  • Provides guidance to clients in a variety of industries on state and federal leave requirements and the ADA interactive process.
  • More...

In the News

Papers, Presentations, & Publications

  • Quoted, "Employers Await More Legal Action as Last Federal Vax Mandate is Put on Hold," HR Daily Advisor, December 8, 2021.
  • Presenter, "COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Update," Tennessee Association for Home Care, November 30, 2021.
  • Panelist, “Clearing the Confusion: What Employers Have to Know,” Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, November 9, 2021. 
  • Co-Author, "Can your employees claim religious exemption from a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy?" Westlaw Today, September 29, 2021.
  • Quoted, "Tips for Employers Awaiting Details on New COVID-19 Vaccine Rules," HR Daily Advisor, September 10, 2021.
  • Presenter, "Returning to the Office," AAMVA 2021 Virtual Annual International Conference (AIC), September 2, 2021.
  • Presenter, "Welcome Back America! HR Considerations for the 2021 US Workplace," Employment Law Alliance, July 15, 2021.
  • Presenter, "A Shot in the Arm for the Workplace: A Look at how COVID-19 Vaccine Policies Can Help (or Potentially Hurt) the Return to In-Person Workforces," Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter, March 23, 2021.
  • Guest, "Working Mothers in Crisis," HR Works Podcast, January 26, 2021.
  • More...

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