Sarah Kerr Garraty, Esq.
Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Father Edward F. Boyle Award (Auxiliary), 2018
Sarah Kerr Garraty, Esq. is an experienced Mediator, Arbitrator and trainer with a well-established reputation and a busy practice. Since 1986, Sarah’s arbitrated over 1,000 cases in a mixed labor/management and employment law practice in the public and private sectors.
Upon graduating from Northeastern Law School, Sarah served as a Law Clerk with the Massachusetts Superior Court. She was Counsel for the MA Labor Relations Commission for five years. Then, she joined the Massachusetts Board of Conciliation and Arbitration for seven years as a Mediator/Arbitrator then Vice-Chair.
Sarah then hung out her shingle as a Labor-Management arbitrator. She taught ADR and Negotiations at Northeastern Law School for twenty years and also taught at the University of Massachusetts’ Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution (1995-99).
Sarah has extensive employment arbitration experience reviewing discrimination claims, executive employment agreements/contract interpretation, noncompete and non-disclosure (NDA) agreements, and Fair Labor Standards
Sarah also conducts interest mediation between school systems and teachers’ unions. “I’ve noticed a tension particular to public employees working in historically female dominated caretaking professions,” she notes. “There is a unique tension around expectations for unpaid time that, while clearly good for service users, can be seen as a disrespectful assumption to service providers. “
Sarah is married to her college sweetheart, Jeffrey Kerr, a business consultant and executive coach, and they live in Concord. They raised two now-adult children. Sarah and Jeffrey’s love of hiking and the outdoors may be reflected in their children’s affinity for the American West’s great spaces. Jessie and her husband Patrick are both internists with the Indian Health Service in New Mexico serving the Navajo. They are the parents of Sarah and Jeffrey’s adored grandchildren: Annie (2) and Sam (4 months). Their son Nate works as a Program Director for City Year and his wife Danika is a middle school English teacher. Following the tragic sudden passing of Sarah’s sister, their niece Maya (then just 15) joined the family, and is currently attending school in Colorado.
Active in her professional organizations, does Sarah have concerns for the state of her profession? “I have been the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA) Membership Chair for the past three years. Nationally, case numbers for new arbitrators are low, making it very hard for them to transition into the profession from other labor relations roles. Yet established arbitrators like me are not going to work (or live) forever. We need to recruit and develop new arbitrators and the parties need to deliberately pick them.”