Photo of Sarah W. Fox

Sarah W. Fox

AA Contact Info

Jacqueline Williams
Phone: 919.838.2050


Sarah Fox has more than 35 years' experience in employment and labor law, coupled with commercial litigation. Sarah clerked with the Honorable Robert D. Potter, Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina and is a member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. She is a recipient of the Triangle Business Journal's Women in Business Award, has been honored as one of the Top 50 Female Super Lawyers by North Carolina Super Lawyers and is listed in Best Lawyers®. Sarah is active in community organizations including having served on multiple boards and as Chair of the Foundation of Hope, President of The Badger Iredell Foundation, Inc., President of Capital Area Preservation, President of The Junior League of Raleigh, and served on the Executive Committees of the NC Museum of History Associates and SAFEchild.

Her practice includes federal and state discrimination laws; workplace investigations; human capital management; wage and hour compliance; executive shareholder claims; workforce policies, procedures and handbooks; employment agreements; executive compensation; restructuring; wrongful discharge; severance and separation programs; merger and acquisition workplace transitions; confidentiality, assignment of inventions, and non-competition agreements; trade secrets and fiduciary duties; harassment; ADA; FMLA; workplace violence; OSHA; drug and alcohol compliance; compensation for tax-exempts; and alternative staffing.

Sarah has been a guest lecturer in employment law at North Carolina State University in the Masters in Accounting Program, conducted human resource training, led diversity initiatives and training and is a frequent speaker and author on employment matters. She has substantial experience in conducting workplace investigations and successfully litigating federal and state claims, including discrimination claims, non-competition and employee misappropriation claims and executive shareholder claims.

Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Sarah was a founding partner of the employment and labor practice in the Raleigh office of a global law firm.

  • Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, Member
  • Human Resources Roundtable, Chair 2011-Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Employment Law Section
  • North Carolina Bar Foundation, Development Committee 2018-Present
  • Badger-Iredell Foundation
    • President 2001-2002
    • Board of Directors 1996-2002
  • Capital Area Preservation
    • President 1995-1996
    • Board of Directors 1992-1995
  • Cerebral Palsy Center of North Carolina, Inc., Past Board of Directors
  • Duke University Health System, Duke Raleigh Hospital Past Advisory Board
  • Foundation of Hope
    • Chair, 2006-present
    • Board of Trustees, 1995-present
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Chair Human Resources Roundtable 2004-2011
  • Governor’s Summit on Volunteerism, Delegate
  • Guatemala Mission, 2008
  • Head Start Volunteer Award
  • Junior League of Raleigh
    • President 1996
    • Board of Directors 1992-1995
    • Sustaining Advisor 2005-2006
    • Executive Committee 1993-1994
    • Community Vice President 1993-1994
    • Provisional Chair 1994-1995
  • Leadership Raleigh Alumnus
  • North Carolina Inaugural Ball, Co-Chair 2001
  • North Carolina Museum of History, Hugh Morton Event Co-Chair 2004
  • North Carolina Museum of History Associates 
    • Board of Directors 2010-2018
    • Executive Committee 2011-2012
    • Chair, Human Resource Committee 2011-2012
    • Co-Chair Executive Director Search Committee 2012
  • Prevent Blindness North Carolina
    • Board of Directors 2003-2007
    • “Eyes of March” Gala Co-Chair 2003
  • Ravenscroft
    • Trustee Advisory Council 2014-2018
    • Executive Committee 2008-2011
    • Board of Directors 2005-2011
    • Corporate Secretary 2008-2011
    • Audit Chair 2008-2011
  • SAFEchild
    • Board of Directors 1995-2004
    • Executive Committee 1995-1996, 2002-2004
    • Chair, Personnel Committee 2002-2003
  • Special Olympics World Games, Co-Chair Honored Guest Committee 1999
  • The First Lady of North Carolina Luncheon
    • Co-Chair 2001, 2005
  • Wake Forest University School of Law
    • Board of Visitors 2013-2020
  • Best Lawyers®, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2013-2023), Litigation - Labor & Employment (2021-2023), Employment Law - Management (2023)
  • Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2021)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 50 Female Super Lawyers
  • Triangle Business Journal, Women in Business Award



  • Represented Global 100, Fortune 500 and private employers in defense of federal and state employment claims.
  • Represented U.S. Congressman in contested election.
  • Represented shareholder executive in obtaining multimillion dollar bench and jury awards.
  • Conducted internal workplace investigations and human resource training.
  • Represented employers and executives in noncompetion, confidentiality and fiduciary disputes.
  • Represented employers in OSHA industrial fatality accidents.
  • Represented employers and executives in connection with employment arrangements.

News & Publications



Employment Law Update – Conducting Internal Investigation: Tips and Pitfalls for Investing Misconduct in the Workplace, November 2011

Employment Law Update – OSHA 2010 and Beyond: Back in the Enforcement Business, November 2010

Speaking Engagements



  • Moderator, "Hot (Non-COVID-19) Topics in Employment Law," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
  • Moderator, "Hot Topics in Employment Law,” Smith Anderson 28th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
  • Moderator, "Panel Discussion - Hot Topics in Employment Law," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • "Mission Possible: Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • "Emerging Drug Trends, Laws, and Your Drug Policies and Testing Programs,” Smith Anderson 26th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Workplace but Were Afraid to Ask," Smith Anderson’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • "Fraternization, Flings and Fun After Hours," Smith Anderson’s 22nd Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
  • "Conducting Internal Investigations: Tips and Pitfalls for Investigating Misconduct in the Workplace," Smith Anderson’s 19th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • All North Carolina State Courts


Wake Forest University, J.D., cum laude, 1983

  • Wilson Academic Scholar, Wake Forest University School of Law

Tulane University, B.A., 1977


  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert. D. Potter, Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
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