Practice makes perfect

Kerin Stackpole ’84
Kerin Stackpole ’84

A passion for government and law emerged early for Kerin Stackpole ’84, who as a child read the transcripts of the Watergate tapes—for fun—and watched her mother, a city alderman, influence change in her community.

Now an attorney at Paul Frank + Collins in Burlington, Vt., Stackpole is at the top of her game. Her peers recently selected her for inclusion in the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers in America for the practice areas of employment and labor law, and employment and labor litigation. This is the fifth consecutive year she has achieved recognition in Best Lawyers.

Stackpole says she was drawn to these areas of law “because fundamentally they are about the relationships between people who come together toward common goals.”

At her practice, she devotes much of her time to providing in-house training for managers so they can create a culture where employees succeed, she said. “It is very rewarding to see companies grow and thrive and to see individual contributors really make a difference.”

She also defends employers in various jurisdictions, mostly in New England. “Many of our clients make products people use every day, or insure the companies that make them,” she said.

Stackpole—who serves as an alumnae/i trustee and on the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors—calls her Wheaton education a “terrific foundation” for her career in law. (She received her J.D. from American University.)

“The academics were challenging and thought-provoking, and my experiences outside the classroom made me a more confident person and more certain that I could make a difference in the world,” she said, noting that she completed an internship at the American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington, D.C., while a student at Wheaton.

A history major, she effectively managed her full course load while competing on the tennis team, for which she was captain. Her tennis coach, Lynn Miller, “taught me a lot about working through tough situations,” she said.

Stackpole also said that Professor Emeritus Paul Helmreich, Professor of History Alexander Bloom and the late Jay Goodman, professor of political science, were great mentors who pushed her to analyze situations thoroughly and use primary sources in research.

“They made it clear to me that the past is prologue. We are where we are today because of people, events and influences long past. It is a perspective that is beautifully suited for the practice of law, given the role of precedent in all that we do as attorneys,” she said.