Biography

A straightforward, experienced, and confident advocate, Shira Blank defends companies against lawsuits alleging violations of all aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including with respect to the accessibility of public accommodations and technology, and equivalent state and local laws. Employers also rely on Shira’s representation to defend against litigation involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblowing, and wage and hour violations, among others, in state and federal courts and before various federal, state, and city administrative agencies. Her clients include retailers, health care organizations, and financial services companies.

While the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a significant increase in lawsuits involving accessible technology, Shira has been handling hundreds of these cases over the last three years. And as companies were forced to reduce their workforces because of the pandemic, Shira worked with clients on methods of avoiding litigation related to the layoffs, including assisting with resolutions pre-litigation.

Clients value Shira’s superb negotiation skills, responsiveness, and extensive trial experience, and her ability to secure good results in litigation matters, including, in some instances, having the litigation withdrawn altogether.

As a trusted advisor, Shira counsels clients on all aspects of the employment relationship, avoidance of litigation, leave laws, employee discipline, separation and discharge, and harassment. She also advises on compliance with Title I and III of the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and conducts internal investigations. Shira writes and speaks frequently about the ADA and public accommodation issues as well as ways of avoiding litigation, among other topics.

Early in her career, Shira gained significant litigation experience serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel with the City of New York, where she first-chaired two jury trials, and second-chaired three. She also first-chaired an evidentiary hearing in federal court.

Experience

  • Secured a complete dismissal on summary judgment for a major financial services company in a case involving a plaintiff’s wage claims under the Massachusetts Wage Act. Shira also effectively argued the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which affirmed the District Court’s dismissal.
  • Defeated a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against an aviation company in which the plaintiff asserted that he was discriminated against, wrongfully terminated, and defamed by his colleagues and supervisors.
  • Defeated a class action lawsuit against a national theater production company alleging that the company’s online "no outside food/drink" policy violated federal, state, and local accessibility laws. The case resulted in a good decision on a plaintiff’s ability to demonstrate standing in a Title III action, which is now widely cited. 
  • Obtained a complete dismissal of a plaintiff’s ADA and FMLA discrimination case against the plaintiff’s employer, a health insurance company. Shira took an aggressive litigation posture, which culminated in a successful motion for summary judgment. The case resulted in a very good decision on use of the interactive process under the ADA.
  • Defeated class action lawsuit alleging that global retailers’ failure to provide Braille gift cards violated federal, state, and local accessibility laws. Shira got the cases completely dismissed, and established not only that the claims had no basis in the law/regulations but that the clients also sufficiently provided access in other ways.
  • Resolved hundreds of website accessibility and mobile application accessibility lawsuits and demand letters for hundreds of clients, including global high-end retail companies, technology firms, and hotels. Shira successfully and quickly negotiated cost-effective resolutions to the cases and demand letters with highly advantageous terms to allow her clients to focus their time and resources on enhancing their accessibility compliance.
Education
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University (J.D., 2012)
    • Managing Editor, Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal
  • The George Washington University (B.A., cum laude, 2008)
    • Elliott School of International Affairs
Bar Admissions
  • New Jersey
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Languages
  • Hebrew
Recognition