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

Rutgers University
B.A. | 1985


  • 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


Bill Sheils is a director and shareholder of Perkins Thompson with a broad-based business and commercial practice. Bill has extensive experience in management-side employment, commercial transactions, energy, and intellectual property matters.  Bill represents business entities across a wide range of sectors and industries, including financial services, energy, industrial and manufacturing, hospitality, professional services, education, agriculture, government services, and non-profit.  Bill works hard at developing relationships and understanding a client’s business, its culture, and its objectives so that he can provide practical, efficient, and relevant legal advice.

Bill has significant experience in the employment area and has advised businesses and executives on employment matters for over two decades. Bill has appeared before state and federal courts and administrative agencies and regularly advises clients on wage and hour issues, state and federal employment law compliance, personnel policies, executive employment agreements, talent acquisition and recruitment, terminations and reductions in force, business immigration matters, discrimination and harassment matters, OSHA compliance, and general labor matters.

In the energy field, Bill has particular experience in motor fuel distribution and petroleum marketing matters and has negotiated and drafted numerous dealer and distributor agreements. Bill has a deep knowledge of Petroleum Marketing Practices Act compliance. Bill also serves as outside general counsel to a state energy efficiency agency. In that capacity, Bill has drafted numerous grant agreements, procurement contracts and services agreements with utilities, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, vendors, and suppliers.

Bill regularly assists clients with brand and marketing matters, including sweepstakes, contests and promotions, and intellectual property issues. Recent representative matters include assisting a multinational motor fuel marketing company negotiate and draft 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 throughout the U.S., providing regulatory compliance guidance to clients on email, text, and mobile advertising issues, and handling the prosecution, defense, and maintenance of numerous trademark registrations for clients in various fields.

Bill serves as outside general counsel to a number of entities advising on all aspects of governance, employee relations, contracts, and regulatory compliance.


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


Bill is a Fellow of the Maine Bar Foundation and is a member of the American, Maine, and Cumberland Bar Associations.

Service / Achievements

Bill 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.  Bill has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© each year since 2013 in the areas of corporate law and employment law and is Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability by Martindale-Hubbell.  Bill joined Perkins Thompson in 1992 following a judicial clerkship with Justice Robert W. Clifford of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.


Bill and his wife, Martha, live in Portland and have three college-age sons. Bill enjoys Nordic and Alpine skiing and hiking and camping in Maine’s north woods. Bill is slowly developing a working knowledge of auto repair out of necessity as he tries to keep his sons’ cars running.