Most adults spend a third of their lives at work, according to the World Health Organization. What happens when you’re made to feel uncomfortable there? That’s when New Haven, Connecticut’s 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law - Individuals, Nina T. Pirrotti, steps in to help.

A partner at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., Pirrotti advocates for anyone disenfranchised at the office in some way: those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted, victims of a hostile work environment based on race, disability, age, or anyone in any other protected category.

Such cases are often quite sensitive, naturally, so Pirrotti works hard to win her clients’ confidence and convince them that she’s their champion. “Gaining their trust takes time, patience, and understanding because what they’ve gone through sometimes is so traumatic,” she says. “They’ve been treated so poorly that it’s very difficult to lay themselves out and make themselves vulnerable yet again to someone else.”

Pirrotti has never lost a case, but she cites one instance in which, for reasons beyond her control, she wasn’t able to obtain the full measure of justice for her client. “[This] is where the trust comes in,” she says. “Because if I’ve done my job and the client trusts me and knows I’m doing everything in my power to leave no stone unturned, that I’ve gone to the ends of the earth to advocate for them, to do the research, the investigation, everything necessary—and if we don’t achieve all that my client hopes, that trust makes all the difference in the world.”

Although her work can be tiring and sometimes frustrating, Pirrotti has never been bored, she says, finding her cases emotionally and intellectually challenging: “They bring tremendous reward in championing the rights of the disenfranchised. I have that same passion that I’ve had from the first day, and it’s because when you do this type of work, you have the ability to change someone’s life.”

Pirrotti would love to see more young people from all walks of life, all races and nationalities, gravitate toward employee advocacy. “You have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life that is incredibly important and meaningful,” she says. “The rewards that come from that cannot be measured in money—or any other way.”