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Kelly M. Dermody

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415-956-1000
Fax: 415-956-1008
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022
Licensed in California Since: 1994
Practice Areas: Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, Consumer Law
Attorney Profile

A Leader in the Plaintiffs’ Bar for Workers and Consumers

Kelly is Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. She is Chair-Elect 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.

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.

Top Lists

About Kelly M. Dermody

First Admitted: 1994, California

Professional Webpage:


  • 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,” 2010-2022; “Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2010-2017, 2019-2022; “Class Action MVP of the Year,” Law360, 2021; “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2018-2021; “Top 50 Women Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2007-2021; “Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2007, 2009-2021; “Super Lawyer for Northern California,” Super Lawyers, 2004-2021; “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2020; “Lawyer of the Year for Labor and Employment Litigation,” San Francisco Bay Area, Best Lawyers, 2020; “Top Labor & Employment Lawyers,” Daily Journal, 2018-2020; “Legends of the 500,” Lawdragon, 2019; “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; “Employment Law Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2019; “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers, recognized in the category of Employment Law-Individuals for San Francisco, 2014, 2018; “California Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2013-2017; “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; “Award of Merit,” Bar Association of San Francisco, 2007; “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;, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • 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 Executive 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; “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 (Mid-Year Meeting 2001); "A Road Map to Discovery in Employment Discrimination and Wage/Hour Class Actions," with James M. Finberg, Glasser Legal Works Seminar (2000); "Employment Discrimination Class Actions in the Wake of Allison v. Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(f)," Federal Bar Association Convention (1999); Co-Author with James Finberg, "Discovery in Employment Discrimination Class Actions,"  Litigation and Settlement of Complex Class Actions (Glasser Legal Works 1998).

Bar/Professional Activity

  • 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 ("HEARTS") Project (Steering Committee, 2007); College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (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, 2005-2014); 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-Present); 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.

Educational Background

  • Harvard University (A.B., magna cum laude, 1990) Senior Class Ames Memorial Public Service Award

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Carver Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (Carver HEARTS), Steering Committee (2007-present); Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Board of Directors, 1998-2005; Secretary, 1999-2003; Co-Chair, 2003-2005); National Center for Lesbian Rights (Board of Directors, 2002-2008; Co-Chair, 2005-2006); Pride Law Fund (Board of Directors, 1995-2002; Secretary, 1995-1997; Chairperson, 1997-2002); Equal Rights Advocates (Litigation Committee, 2000-2002).
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Office Location for Kelly M. Dermody

275 Battery Street
29th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Last Updated: 3/15/2022

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