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William J. Sheils


Mr. Sheils has a broad-based business and corporate practice that includes representation of business entities across a wide range of industries, including financial services, energy, industrial and manufacturing, hospitality, professional services, education, agriculture and non-profit, providing advice on various aspects of operations, governance, commercial transactions, employment matters, and intellectual property issues. In connection with his broad business practice, Mr. Sheils has drafted and negotiated numerous employment contracts, procurement contracts, services agreements, licensing agreements, confidentiality, non-competition and invention agreements, construction contracts, energy supply contracts, and distribution agreements.

Mr. Sheils has particular experience in motor fuel franchise and petroleum marketing matters, including drafting dealer and distributor agreements, equipment financing and leasing transactions, and advising on competition matters and Petroleum Marketing Practices Act compliance.

Mr. Sheils regularly assists clients with brand and marketing matters, sweepstakes and promotions, and intellectual property issues. Recent representative matters include assisting a multinational motor fuel marketing company negotiate a major sports sponsorship and advertising agreement, helping a client navigate the regulatory and contractual issues in establishing a customer loyalty and rewards program with online and mobile app functionality, assisting a national bank on various sweepstakes, contest and promotional programs, providing regulatory compliance guidance to clients on email, text and mobile advertising issues, and handling the prosecution, defense, and maintenance of numerous trademark registration s for clients in various fields.

Mr. Sheils has appeared before state and federal courts and administrative agencies and regularly represents and advises clients on wage and hour issues, state and federal employment law compliance, executive employment agreements, talent acquisition and terminations, reductions in force, personnel policies, employee issues in business acquisitions and divestitures, business immigration issues, discrimination and harassment matters, OSHA, and labor matters.

Mr. Sheils serves as outside general counsel to a number of entities, including private schools and independent quasi-state agencies, advising on all aspects of governance, employee relations, contracts and regulatory compliance.

Mr. Sheils is a shareholder and director of Perkins Thompson, having joined the firm in 1992 following a judicial clerkship with Justice Robert W. Clifford of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.



Suffolk University Law School
J.D., cum laude | 1991
Note Editor, Suffolk University Law Review, 1990-1991

Rutgers University
B.A. | 1985

Bar / Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit | 2000
  • Massachusetts | 1999
  • Maine | 1992
  • U.S. District of Court, District of Maine | 1992
  • New Jersey | 1991
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey | 1991


Publications / Seminars

  • “Nonretroactivity on Habeas Corpus: Whittling at the Great Writ,” 24 Suffolk L. Rev. 743 (1990)
  • Author, “Employer Harassment Liability in the Workplace,” Maine Community Banker
  • Presenter, “The Law of Discrimination and Harassment in Employment and Education,” Seminar on School Law in Maine


Mr. Sheils is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maine State Bar Association and the Cumberland County Bar Association, in which he formerly served as a member of the General Committee.

Service / Achievements

Mr. Sheils is a Fellow of the Maine Bar Foundation. Mr. Sheils is a Board member of Portland Nordic, a non-profit community-based ski club and formerly served as a Director of the Ronald McDonald House of Portland, Maine. Mr. Sheils was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2013 in the areas of corporate law and employment law. Mr. Sheils is Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability by Martindale-Hubbell.


Mr. Sheils lives in Portland with his wife, Martha, and their three sons.