Kelly  vanessa

Vanessa M. Kelly



210 Carnegie Center
Suite 102
Princeton, NJ 08540

New York

830 Third Avenue
Suite 200
New York, NY 10022
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Fax: +16097852999
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J.D., with Honors, George Washington University Law School, Washington DC, 1988
B.A., cum laude, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 1985
State Bar Licenses
New Jersey
New York
Court Admissions
U.S. District Ct., District of New Jersey 1988
U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit 1988
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of New York 1993
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of New York 1993
U.S. District Ct., District of Arizona
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 1999

Vanessa M. Kelly


Vanessa Kelly strategizes with employers to minimize their legal risks and optimize the employee experience, to help companies focus on their business. 

Clients partner with Vanessa Kelly when looking to create and foster respectful workplaces that comply with national and state employment standards. Vanessa counsels her management clients about their employee relations concerns. This counseling may include any manner of employment  issues. For example: terminations, accommodating disabilities, workplace misconduct, protecting key employees and proprietary information, reductions in force, and using policies to avoid disputes. She creates employment and other transactional agreements to meet her client’s goals, including securing long-term executive employment, restructuring or reorganization, retention agreements, separation agreements and covenants restricting use of confidential information and deterring unfair competition.

Vanessa’s work with a variety of industries means she has the broad knowledge her clients need, while maintaining her deep roots within labor & employment. Industries include healthcare, insurance, professional service firms, manufacturers, airlines, auto dealers, professional organization (like accounting and law firms) , religious congregations, universities and K-12 schools, and executives.

When a client finds themselves a party to a lawsuit, Vanessa’s years of trial experience are invaluable, but her internal investigative work is the key to keeping these suits to a minimum. Vanessa investigates and then guides the client through the investigative process. As part of her preventative strategy, she trains HR teams, managers, and employees on a variety of employment topics. She assists clients with audits and other administrative agency proceedings.  As a certified Title IX investigator Vanessa received training on trauma-informed investigation techniques and completed course work to serve as a Title IX hearing officer. In this capacity she provides  counseling and compliance services for her university clients.

Vanessa’s pragmatic approach to counseling clients recognizes that employees and diverse teams are essential to business success, so she partners with her clients to create inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces. As a close confidante to business owners, chief executive officers, general counsel, employment counsel and HR directors, she provides sage advice based on open communication to achieve their objectives making her the collaborative leader her clients need.

Vanessa currently serves as the Co-Chair of the firm's BOLD initiative to promote women within the firm, the legal profession, and the business community. Vanessa also hosts a podcast series, "Leading in a Lonely World: Conversations with Transformative Leaders," where she interviews community leaders who share their thoughts on leadership against the backdrop of a tumultuous world.

Rated AV-Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell
Top Legal Minds in New Jersey
Bar Register Preeminent Women Lawyers
American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment Law, Nominating Committee, Annual Conference Planning Vice Chair, Employee Rights & Responsibilities Committee; co-Chair Executive Agreements and Compensation
College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, Fellow
SHRM, HRMA Princeton Chapter, Co-Legislative Director
New Jersey Bar Association, Appellate Practice & Legal Education Committees; former Chair, Women in the Profession Section
Acorn Montessori School, General Counsel (Pro Bono)
Employment at Will, ABA/Bloomberg Treatise, Regional Editor and Chapter Author
Newsletter Alerts
New Jersey Enacts New Mandatory Health and Safety Standards to Combat Spike in COVID-19 Infection Rates and Increased HospitalizationsBeyond COVID-19, Employment Law is Changing: Focus Independent ContractorsAdditional COVID-19 Benefits for New Jersey EmployeesNew York and New Jersey Close Businesses and Order Residents to Stay HomeNew Jersey's Recent Wage Theft Law May Be a Trap for the Unwary Employer New York State Strengthens Its Wage Laws“Blue Penciling” of Restrictive Covenants is Alive and Well in New JerseyEven Without New Reform Legislation, New Jersey Employers May Have to Accommodate Medical Marijuana UseNew Jersey Joins The Growing Number Of States With Paid Sick Leave LawsNew Jersey Enacts a New “National Standard” For Equal PayNew Jersey is Poised to Enact a Sweeping Pay Equity ActUnpaid Internships: Federal Law Evolving, Garden State UnchangedFailure to Train Managers and Supervisors Cost Company $284,000 for Violation of the Family Medical Leave ActMedical Residents May Sue Under Title IXNew Jersey Jury Awards $51 Million in Age Discrimination Case: A Shocking Reminder for Employers to Tread Carefully
WEBINAR: Labor and Employment - PG Training on Conducting InvestigationsCo-Author, "Failure to train managers on FMLA costs employer $248K", Nevada Employment Law Letter, December 2017Simple Steps Can Help Cos. Avoid Costly FMLA Verdicts, Law 360, November 2017
Co-Presenter, Key Employment Laws for Not-for-Profits, Sobol, P.C. WEBINAR: What Employers Should Know About NJ Employment LawWEBINAR: Title IX: Hot TopicsBLR FMLA Master Class, Pittsburgh, PAPresenter, Mental Health Issues in the Workplace, NJPresenter, Political Expression in a Non-Union Workplace, ABA, L&E, ERR Committee 2018Speaker, HRMA-Princeton, Legal Conference, March 8, 2021“The Invisible Menace: Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 on Employees”, Clark Hill Webinar, January 2021NY and NJ Continue to Expand Employee Rights. Have You Been Keeping Up With the Changes?“Effective Use of Motions in Limine in Employment Trials” ABA, Section of Labor & Employment Law, Annual Meeting, New Orleans, November 2019“What Not to Do During an Investigation” Garden State SHRM Conference, August 2019Presenter, “Age Discrimination Plaintiffs Hit the Jackpot: Lessons Learned from Recent Big-Ticket Jury Awards,” Michigan Chamber of Commerce Webinar, June 2017Presenter, "Unemployment Hearings - Trends and Tips," Delaware Valley Labor and Employment Law Conference, April 2017Presenter, "Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law," Delaware Valley Labor and Employment Law Conference, April 2017WEBINAR: Title IX: Hot Topics
“Tea & Tidbits” monthly webinar series (2021)“Beyond COVID-19, Employment Law is Changing: Focus Independent Contractors” “Additional COVID-19 Benefits for New Jersey Employees”Are You Prepared for Immigrant Enforcement, CFMA, April 2018