Jean E. Novak

P:(412) 281-5423   or   (412) 227-0272
F:(412) 281-8264


Jean E. Novak has been with Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky (SMGG) since 2002 and is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Employer-Employee Relations practice. Ms. Novak brings practical, business-oriented solutions to labor and employment challenges.

Ms. Novak’s years of private and in-house practice have focused in the areas of manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and education. She has trained business managers and owners on a variety of subjects including policy development, discrimination, and talent management trends.

Ms. Novak has litigated cases in state and federal courts and has represented clients before numerous agencies including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights, the U.S and Pennsylvania Departments of Education, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

In addition to her administrative and litigation expertise, Ms. Novak has represented both businesses and executives in a variety of employment matters, including successful resolution of discrimination and overtime disputes. She has also negotiated severance agreements and executive contracts.

Jean is proud to be part be an adjunct professor of law at her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  She is teaching Wages, Hours and Benefits in the University’s Human Resources Law Online Graduate Certificate Program.

As part of her commitment to training tomorrow’s leaders, Jean has served as Distinguished Service Professor (Adjunct) at Duquesne University’s John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business where she has taught Ethical Decision Making. She has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh and at Chatham University.

Prior to attending law school, Jean, who majored in finance as an undergraduate and graduate, was a tax analyst for the West Virginia Department of Revenue, where one of her duties was tracking domestic and international business trends.

Professional Affiliations

  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    • Medical Marijuana and Hemp Committee, Charter Member, Chair, former Vice Chair
    • Women in the Law Division Council, former Member
    • Lean In Committee, former Chair
    • Arts and the Law Committee, former Chair
    • Workers’ Compensation Section
  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
    • Workers’ Compensation Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Section

Community Activities

  • Mount Washington Community Development Corporation Board of Directors (Second Term)
    • Governance Committee member
    • Emerald View Park and Sustainability Committee
    • Party on the Mount RAMP – certified (Responsible Alcohol Management Program) Volunteer Server
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Board of Directors and HR Committee
  • Chatham Village Homes Co-Op
  • Sojourner House Board of Directors, (former)
    • Governance Committee, Chair
    • HR Advisor
  • Junior League of Pittsburgh
    • Sustainer
    • Past President
    • Project Director (former)
    • Community Assessment and Development Director (former)
    • Thrift Shop Co-Chair (former)
  • Unseam’d Shakespeare Theatre Co. Board of Directors (former)
  • ProArts Board of Directors (former)


From Our Blog

Recognition & Awards


Best Lawyers Award Badge



  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • M.S., Carnegie-Mellon University
  • B.S., West Virginia University


  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Pennsylvania