Kelly Dermody Represented 64,600 Tech Employees in No-Poaching Lawsuit Against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

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Kelly Dermody
Professional Overview

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have decided to settle claims in May 2014 concerning the corporations that cooperated in violation of antitrust laws to suppress workers' wages by agreeing not to recruit employees from each other's companies. Kelly M. Dermody, an attorney with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, announced the settlement. She represented more than sixty four thousand employees affected by the no-hire agreements made by the Silicon Valley companies. According to an article featured in Information Week last month, Ms. Dermody stated, "This is an excellent resolution of the case that will benefit class members. We look forward to presenting it to the Court and making the terms available."

The terms of the no-poaching lawsuit remain confidential until Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein files its settlement documents in May. By resolving the suit, the companies put an end to the hearings that had revealed humiliating internal communications and would most likely lead to more undesirable revelations. The attorneys representing the Silicon Valley giants opposed a motion filed by the plaintiffs' attorney in April, which introduced messages from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as evidence. The Silicon Valley giants' attorneys claimed that the opposition's motion tried to "cast Mr. Jobs in a bad light." By settling the case, the companies also avoided paying more than their potential liability, a wage loss reported as high as three billion dollars. Reuters has reported that the four companies agreed to pay three hundred twenty four million dollars.

Ms. Dermody commented on the Court's summary judgment order. "We appreciate the Court's careful and comprehensive review of the record and look forward to seeking justice for our clients at trial." The trial of the class action had been scheduled to begin on May 27. I asked Ms. Dermody what she expected to accomplish at the end of the trial. "Certainly we are focused on justice for our clients."

Ms. Dermody is an experienced litigator and passionate advocate for the underdog who challenges corporations to end illegal and unfair business practices that hurt consumers as well as employees. She is the managing partner of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein's San Francisco office. Ms. Dermody is also chair of Lieff Cabraser's employment practice group. She manages many of the most challenging and significant employment class action lawsuits in the country today, which includes overtime pay lawsuits against nationally prominent corporations, ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses, and complaints brought by female and minority professionals alleging gender/race discrimination by top Wall Street or Silicon Valley firms.

The Daily Journal noted that Ms. Dermody'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."

She also has represented consumers in consumer protection cases. California Lawyer magazine awarded Ms. Dermody with its prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award, which recognizes her for prosecuting many class action suits against California's main hospital chains for charging the uninsured unconscionable and exorbitant prices for medical care. Under settlements in these lawsuits, the uninsured victims received more than a billion dollars in refunds or bill adjustments.

Ms. Dermody is a leader in organizations dedicated to improving access to justice, serving the public interest, and guaranteeing that the rights of the historically disenfranchised people are protected. She is a member of the Governing Council of the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law. Ms. Dermody also served as the President of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2012.

Under her leadership, Lieff Cabraser's employment practice group was chosen by The Recorder as one of the top employment practice groups for plaintiffs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers have consistently recognized Ms. Dermody as one of the top attorneys in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California. She is also the recipient of the 2014 Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law.

Ms. Dermody was born and raised in Ithaca, New York. She received her A.B. Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in 1990, where she was the recipient of the Senior Class Ames Memorial Public Service Award. Ms. Dermody also earned her J.D. from UC Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall), Berkeley, California in 1993, where she was a member of the Moot Court Executive Board as well as the Industrial Relations Law Journal/Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Articles Editor. She will be getting married in August 2014.

When the fearless attorney isn't working, she enjoys the San Francisco Giants, scuba diving, and skiing. Ms. Dermody is a frequent visitor of Sonoma's El Dorado Kitchen.

Ms. Dermody's Memories and Motivations

Did Ms. Dermody receive any awards or participate in any internship that influenced her decision to go into the law? "I took a semester off during my junior year and I interned for Senator Edward Kennedy. I served as his college intern on the Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination."

Does she have a most memorable law school experience? "My most memorable law school experience was working on civil rights cases for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund."

How long has Ms. Dermody been an attorney? "Since 1993."

Why did she decide to become an attorney? "To do civil rights and social justice work."

What are Ms. Dermody's practice areas? "Employment and consumer law."

Why did she decide to specialize in this area of the law? "I believe in fair play."

What is the best part of Ms. Dermody's job? "Being inspired by my clients and my colleagues."

If she were not a lawyer, what would she most probably be doing? "I would be doing social justice and nonprofit work, maybe public policy."

Where does Ms. Dermody see herself in five years time? "I will still be working at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein."

Does she handle pro bono work? "Yes."

Is Ms. Dermody involved with any non-profit organizations? "Yes."

What motivates her to be an attorney everyday? "My clients, cases, and the causes they represent are incredible."

How does the New Yorker want to be remembered? "As someone who fought with integrity for the underdog."

Making Progress for People, One of Her Greatest Achievements as an Attorney and Being Recognized for Her Work

Does Ms. Dermody feel that she has made progress for people who seek better job opportunities from large corporations? "Yes."

She received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for her successful prosecution of several class action lawsuits against California's main hospital chains. Ms. Dermody secured more than a billion dollars for her clients. She told us that this was one of her greatest achievements as an attorney.

Ms. Dermody was involved with Goldman Sachs Discrimination, Home Depot Discrimination, Providian Credit Card Practices, R.J. Reynolds Retirement Plan, Smith Barney Discrimination, and Sutter Health Pricing. Does she have a case that stands out? "I am fond of all of them."

Both Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers have repeatedly recognized Ms. Dermody as a prominent attorney in Northern California. Additionally, she was selected as 2014 Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law from individuals in the San Francisco area through peer-review assessments among other leading attorneys in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity. How does Ms. Dermody feel to be recognized for her work? "It's surreal. I love what I do and it is more than enough reward just to do it."

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