Elizabeth Stephens is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on municipal and labor and employment law. Her legal experience extends to both the private and public sectors, including serving in leadership in the Wisconsin Legislature and acting on behalf of municipal and business interests as a lobbyist. Currently, Elizabeth also represents municipal interests before the North Carolina General Assembly, particularly with respect to regulatory, administrative, and environmental matters.


Elizabeth’s experience, knowledge, and understanding of municipal government is extensive. Her relationships with local officials extend nationwide, including to various national associations, and her breadth of experience handling municipal issues is extensive.

In addition to routinely defending municipal clients in court, Elizabeth’s municipal law practice includes overseeing and advising municipalities on statutory, administrative, and regulatory compliance issues. She also handles municipal taxation issues, environmental issues, zoning and permitting issues, public finance, and other questions related to general municipal law. Elizabeth also assists in the development of ordinances and advises on employment matters, including progressive disciplinary policies and misconduct investigations.


Elizabeth routinely represents and advises clients on complex regulatory and compliance issues and appears before various North Carolina fora in support of those interests, including the North Carolina Department of Labor, the North Carolina Rules Review Commission, and the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings.

In addition, Elizabeth regularly assists her clients in navigating state permitting processes, particularly in the area of environmental and administrative law, and advises on issues of risk management, licensure and permit application processes, and licensure and permit challenges.

Elizabeth’s experience with administrative and legislative proceedings in both North Carolina and Wisconsin enables her to navigate administrative agency proceedings and proceedings before state and local legislative bodies in order to achieve results for her clients legislatively and administratively, rather than through litigation.


Elizabeth’s labor and employment practice involves representation of private and public employers in both formal and informal proceedings before state and federal agencies, including the EEOC, NLRB, DOL, and other federal, state, and local agencies.

In addition, Elizabeth advises employers on internal operating procedures and employment documents for regulatory compliance. She also develops and presents employee and management training sessions related to established and evolving employment law issues.

Elizabeth regularly drafts and reviews employment agreements, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements and employee handbooks and frequently oversees out-of-court resolutions related to employer-employee disputes.


Elizabeth has a wealth of experience handling general civil litigation matters and routinely appears before federal trial and appeals courts, state courts, and administrative agencies in such matters.

She manages all facets of litigation, from risk assessment, to pre-trial strategy, settlement negotiations, trial strategy, and trial. Elizabeth represents employers, municipalities, individuals, and public and private entities in litigation relating to constitutional and civil rights claims, public procurement, issues of taxation, judicial review of agency decisions, insurance defense and other civil disputes.

Outside the office, Attorney Stephens is an equestrian and avid hiker. She resides in Raleigh with her partner, Chad, and her dog, Darby.


  • Successfully tried and won “no liability” jury verdict on Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against municipality with respect to equal protection issues in the Western District of Wisconsin.
  • Won dismissal of federal FCC and statutory claims on behalf of a municipality related to siting and approval of cell tower in the Western District of Wisconsin.
  • Favorably settled multi-million dollar excessive force claim in the Western District of Wisconsin.
  • Won remand twice on behalf of an entity challenging a state administrative agency decision, despite the deference standard then applicable to state agency decisions.
  • Won numerous full and partial summary judgment motions in federal and state courts.
  • Successfully drafted, negotiated, and secured a permit application for a multi-million dollar private golf course renovation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
  • Successfully advanced legislation which was signed into law authorizing statutory changes related to the Clean Water Fund as governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
  • Successfully advanced legislation which was signed into law authorizing an earmark for a client seeking remuneration related to a project advanced under the Clean Water Act.
  • Successfully secured findings of “no cause for discrimination” of numerous employment discrimination and workplace safety claims before the EEOC and OSHA.


  • A vaccinated workplace is a happy workplace, right?  Not always., Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (February 2021).
  • Q&A:  ADA request to work from home permanently, Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (July 2021).
  • OSHA updates its COVID-19 workplace safety guidance, Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (October 2021).
  • Antidiscrimination policies alone don’t eliminate employer liability, Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (February 2020).
  • Q&A:  When an employee on FMLA leave intends not to return, Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (July 2020).
  • U.S. Department of Labor issues guidance on tracking and compensating telework, Great Lakes Employment Law Letter (October 2020).
  • Co-author, Family and Medical Leave Act—chapter 4, Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference, State Bar of Wisconsin (2016, 2017, and 2018 editions)
  • Contributor, U.S. Supreme Court Brief on behalf of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and American Civil Liberties Union as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondents, Hays v. Vogt (filed December 20, 2017)
  • Respectful Workplaces: Navigating the NLRA, EEOC, WFEA, FLMA, and Hostile Workplaces (2017)
  • National Association of Counties, Public Finance and Issuing Authorities (2011)
  • Issuing Authorities with Nationwide or Multi-Jurisdictional Authority, Council of Development Finance Agencies (May 2011)


  • Wisconsin Association of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Award (Recognition for outstanding achievement in the Wisconsin Law School’s Workers’ Compensation Course)
  • Summary Judgment Oral Argument Coach (former)
  • Intern, United States Congress (former)
  • English Pleasure Riding and Jumping
  • Flat Track Roller Derby Participant (Mad Rollin’ Dolls) (former)

Most Recent Posts


Elizabeth Stephens Joins Cranfill Sumner LLP

Cranfill Sumner LLP today announced that Elizabeth Stephens has joined the firm’s Raleigh office as an associate attorney. She focuses her practice on municipal law, labor and employment matters, and general civil litigation.… Read More