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Josie Sheppard Wilson

Of Counsel, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP

Years in current role: 1

What do you enjoy most about your position?

I enjoy being valued as someone who meaningfully strategizes to create litigation approaches. I am certainly grateful that my diverse background provides a means to effectively communicate with a variety of audiences. I would not be able to fulfill my role without my colleagues, staff, experts, clients (in addition to client’s employees), and healthy relationships with the Court and its staff — all of whom require different verbal and written communication styles. Respectfully and appropriately managing the influence one has in different roles is the essence of success. Further, intelligence is simply not enough if your message cannot be comprehended in a productive way.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish before the end of next year?

To double-down on my efforts to increase diversity in this community! I am honored to be the first Black President of Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA). I believe diversity graces us with unique perspectives and experiences that motivate us, create compassion within us, educate us, change our values and principles, and connect us. We therefore become better equipped with a different lens on our radar to identify inclusivity issues. I hope to create a diversity scholarship that attracts recent/upcoming diverse college graduates to apply to law school, and intentionally tailor the scholarship to college graduates with ties to this local community to increase the odds that more diverse lawyers will actually come back to practice law in Rochester.

What do you see as the biggest strengths of the legal community in Rochester?

Rochester is a resilient community. Among other things, I believe the death of Daniel Prude shook this community and nation, and put a spotlight on necessary community reforms to ensure we value Black lives and mental health issues. An unfortunate occurrence like this motivated this Rochester community to become even more committed to equality, sound principles of humanity, and the mental health issues that impact this legal profession and beyond. People are embracing the truth that there is power in having open dialogues and being cultured when you hear someone else’s experience related to race, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, mental health issues, etc. — there is still much to be done, and I encourage us all to continue the work!

What do you see as the biggest challenges for the legal community in Rochester?

Reassessing priorities as it relates to the aftermath of COVID. The ability to work remotely is a hot topic among employers and employees — and sometimes the ultimate factor for whether there is a new hire or retention of an employee. Many are grappling with balancing productivity, collegiality, costs of offering office facilities, and a slew of other items. Similarly, virtual Court proceedings entail many unique issues regarding Court efficiency and resources, access to virtual proceedings by members of vulnerable communities, training opportunities for younger attorneys, relationships among attorneys, and adequate service to clients when communication is remote. The dynamics of the legal profession is certainly changing, but the extent of change is still being formulated.

What are your favorite activities outside of the office?

Being a mother to my twin girls (London & Brooklyn)!! And when the kids are sleep, binge watch something on the television with my husband, or eat something ridiculously yummy that I don’t even care to know how many calories it contains. Plus, when I can find time, I like to show my moves on the soccer field or tennis court to keep my competitive edge alive and well! If you can’t catch me doing something with family, then I am certainly at a social or professional event with my GRAWA sisterhood developing relationships with people who continue to elevate and support my overall well-being both personally and professionally.

This profile is part of our Power 50 Law list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at or


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