Kelly M. Dermody
Managing Partner, San Francisco Office
415 956-1000

“Justice is where equity meets dignity. It is the promise kept for accountability and fair play. It is the ideal that informs all of my work.”
Kelly M. Dermody
Kelly M. Dermody

Kelly is Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. She is Immediate Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, and a member of the ABA’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council. Kelly specializes in civil rights and employment class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs, and individual cases addressing sexual abuse, harassment, and trafficking. Kelly is a nationally-recognized advocate in the areas of pay equity, #metoo, and diversity and inclusion. She has prosecuted numerous cases challenging unfair hiring, promotion, compensation, and performance systems.

In October of 2023, Kelly was profiled by Law360 as a “Class Action Law MVP.” Read a copy of the Law360 profile.

The Daily Journal has observed that Kelly’s

values have translated into real workday value for lots of people — people who have won better job opportunities from companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Home Depot, and Smith Barney, or monetary damages from banks that have engaged in predatory lending and servicing.”

In 2012, Kelly served as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American Law Institute. The Daily Journal has selected Kelly as one of the top 100 attorneys in California, top 75 labor and employment lawyers in California, and top 100 women litigators in California. In 2016, The Recorder awarded her the “Giant Slayer” award for her litigation work. She is a Board member of the Equal Justice Society, a national non-profit focused on transforming the nation’s consciousness on race and racial equity.

Long form bio (click to open pdf).

  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Berkeley Law), Berkeley, California
    Honors: Moot Court Executive Board, 1992-1993
    Law Journal: Industrial Relations Law Journal/Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Articles Editor, 1991-1992
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    A.B. (Magna Cum Laude)-1990
    Honors: Senior Class Ames Memorial Public Service Award
  • California, 1994
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, 2008
  • U.S. Court Of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 2020
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 2006
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 2007
  • U.S. Court Of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 2018
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico, 2017
  • American Bar Association, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section (Governing Council, 2009-present; Current Chair; Chair-Elect, 2020-2021; Co-Chair, Section Conf., 2008-2009; Vice-Chair, Section Conf., 2007-2008; Co-Chair, Comm. on Equal Opportunity in the Legal Profession, 2006-2007)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation (Attorney Client Privilege Task Force, 2017-2018)
  • American Law Institute, Elected Member, 2019
  • Bar Association of San Francisco (Board of Directors, 2005-2012; President, 2011-2012; President-Elect, 2010-2011; Treasurer, 2009-2010; Secretary, 2008-2009; Litigation Section; Executive Committee, 2002-2005)
  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Board of Directors, 1998-2005; Secretary, 1999-2003; Co-Chair, 2003-2005; Member, 1997-Present)
  • Carver Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (Steering Committee, 2007-2012)
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Elected Fellow, 2015)
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Equal Rights Advocates (Litigation Committee, 2000-2002)
  • National Association of Women Judges (Independence of the Judiciary Co-Chair, 2011-2014; Resource Board, Co-Chair, 2009-2011, Member, 2005-present)
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights (Board of Directors, 2002-2008; Co-Chair, 2005-2006)
  • National Employment Lawyers’ Association
  • Northern District of California Historical Society (Board of Directors, 2015-2018)
  • Northern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2007-2010)
  • Pride Law Fund (Board of Directors, 1995-2002; Secretary, 1995-1997; Chairperson, 1997-2002)
  • Public Justice Foundation
  • State Bar of California
  • Panelist, “Climate Change and Just Transition Impacts on Labor and Employment,” ABA International Labor and Employment Law Committee Midyear Meeting, May 2024
  • Panelist, “Pay Equity: Are We There Yet?,” ABA National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law, March 2024
  • Panelist, “Addressing Attorney Obligations to Avoid Discrimination,” 17th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2023
  • Keynote Speaker, 3rd Annual IFSEA International Conference on Risk, Reward and Reputation Management Issues for Senior Executives & Founders, June 2022
  • Host and Panelist, “Intersectional Lives, Intersectional Experiences: How Transgender Women of Color Laid the Groundwork for Modern Equality Laws,” 15th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2021
  • Guest, “Systemic Discrimination Cases,” Today’s Workplace Podcast Episode, October 2021
  • Speaker, American Bar Association 2021 National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law Midwinter Meeting, April 2021
  • “Social Movements and the Important Role of Senior Executives and Founders in Diversity & Inclusion, and Racial and Gender Equality,” International Forum of Senior Executives & Advisers Conference, February 2021
  • Equal Rights Advocates Virtual Gala, November 2020
  • “Effective EEO, Anti-Bias and Anti-Bullying Employee Training Programs,” American Bar Association 14th Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference,” November 2020
  • “Challenges in the U.S. Court Systems and in the Practice of Law in the U.S.,” National Association of Women Judges 42nd Virtual Annual Conference, October 2020
  • “Addressing and Eradicating Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Against Senior Executives,” International Conference on Risk, Reward and Reputation Management Issues for Senior Executives and Founders, February 2020
  • “Women’s Impact Network – No Glass Ceiling 2.0 Conference,” Bar Association of San Francisco, November 2019
  •  “The Plaintiff Perspective: Mistakes Employers Make and Case Selection Criteria for an Employee Advocate,” California Employment Law Council Annual Meeting, November 2019
  • “Trials and Tribulations: Stories from BASF Presidents,” Bar Association of San Francisco Ninth Annual Barristers Meeting, November 2019
  • “The Power of People Analytics,” American Bar Association 13th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2019
  • “#MeToo and BigLaw,” American Bar Association National Conference on Professional Responsibility, May 2019
  • “The World Wide #MeToo Movement: Global Resistance to Sexual Harassment and Violence Conference,”  UC Berkeley School of Law, May 2019
  • “#MeToo and Beyond: Addressing Sexual Harassment, Pay Inequity and Other Forms of Gender Discrimination in the International Workplace,” American Bar Association International Labor & Employment Law Conference, May 2019
  • “Gender Equality in the #MeToo World,” National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity, April 2019
  • “#WETOO in the Legal Workplace,” National Association of Women Judges Conference, March 2019
  • “The Equal Pay Act and The #TimesUp Movement,” American Bar Association Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee Conference, March 2019
  • “Post-Election Solidarity: Lawyering and Building Alliances Across Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Immigration Status and Practice Areas”, Lavender Law Conference, 2017
  • “Class Actions: Latest Developments in Litigating and Settling Employment Discrimination Class Actions”, American Bar Association Labor and Employment Section Equal Employment Opportunity Committee
  • “A Road Map to Discovery in Employment Discrimination and Wage/Hour Class Actions”, with James M. Finberg, Glasser Legal Works Seminar
  • “Employment Discrimination Class Actions in the Wake of Allison v. Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(f)”, Federal Bar Association
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion by peers in The Best Lawyers in America in fields of “Employment Law-Individuals” and “Litigation-Labor and Employment,” 2010-2024
  • “Labor & Employment Litigator of the Year,” ““Impact Case Award,” “Labor & Employment Star,” “Litigation Star,” ” “Top 50 Labor & Employment Litigator,” Benchmark Litigation, 2024
  • “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2020, 2024
  • “California Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2013-2017, 2024
  • “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar,” Law360, 2024
  • “Lawyer of the Year for Labor and Employment Litigation,” San Francisco Bay Area, Best Lawyers, 2014, 2018, 2020, 2023
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2023, 2024
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2010-2017, 2019-2024
  • “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers,” Daily Journal, 2016, 2018-2020, 2023
  • “Class Action & Employment MVP of the Year,” Law360, 2023
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2018-2023
  • “Top 50 Women Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2007-2023
  • “Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2007, 2009-2023
  • “Super Lawyer for Northern California,” Super Lawyers, 2004-2023
  • “Award of Merit,” Bar Association of San Francisco, 2007, 2022
  • “Top Plaintiff Lawyers,” California Daily Journal, 2022
  • “Class Action MVP of the Year,” Law360, 2021
  • “Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award,” American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, 2019
  • “Judge Learned Hand Award,” 2019, American Jewish Committee
  • “Outstanding Private Practice Antitrust Achievement,” American Antitrust Institute, 2019
  •  “Legends of the 500,” Lawdragon, 2019
  • “Employment Law Trailblazer,” National Law Journal, 2019
  • “Litigation Trailblazer,” The National Law Journal, 2018
  • “Giant Slayer,” The Recorder, 2016
  • “Top 100 Attorneys in California,” Daily Journal, 2012-2015
  • “Top 75 Labor and Employment Attorneys in California,” Daily Journal, 2011-2015
  • “Top California Women Lawyers,” Daily Journal, 2007, 2010, 2012-2018
  • Distinguished Jurisprudence Award, Anti-Defamation League, 2014
  • “Top 10 Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2014
  • “Dolores Huerta Adelita Award,” California Rural Legal Assistance, 2013
  • “Recommended Lawyer,” The Legal 500 (U.S. edition, 2013)
  • “Women of Achievement Award,” Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund), 2011
  • “Irish Legal 100” Finalist, The Irish Voice, 2010
  • “Florence K. Murray Award,” National Association of Women Judges, 2010
  • “Lawdragon Finalist,” Lawdragon, 2007-2009
  • “Community Service Award,” Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, 2008
  • “Community Justice Award,” Centro Legal de la Raza, 2008
  • “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award,” California Lawyer, 2007
  • “500 Leading Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, Winter 2007
  • “Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist,” Public Justice Foundation, 2007
  • “Consumer Attorney of the Year” Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2006
  • “California’s Top 20 Lawyers Under 40,” Daily Journal, 2006
  • “Living the Dream Partner,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, 2005
  • “Top Bay Area Employment Attorney,” The Recorder, 2004