Kelly  vanessa

Vanessa M. Kelly

Senior Counsel


210 Carnegie Center
Suite 102
Princeton, NJ 08540

New York

830 Third Avenue
Suite 200
New York, NY 10022
Vcard icon Email icon Pdf icon
Fax: +16097852999
Social Media
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

Senior Counsel

Vanessa M. Kelly’s clients seek her experienced, confident counsel in addressing their employee management needs. She provides legal services including risk assessment and risk avoidance in employee terminations, accommodating disabilities, addressing workplace misconduct, protecting key personnel and proprietary information, performing reductions in force, and implementation of workplace policies designed to avoid disputes and comply with state and federal law. Her clients appreciate her focused and pragmatic approach to resolving their problems, her creative and collaborative energy and her passion for assisting her clients achieve the best possible outcome. Vanessa’s clients know she has the experience and aptitude they require. She is a Martindale Hubbell® AV Preeminent rated attorney and a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.®

Employers turn to her to defend them against employment claims in state and federal courts and in prosecuting and defending enforcement of restrictive covenants, both in New Jersey and in other jurisdictions. Vanessa works collaboratively with employer practices liability carriers in defense of claims asserted against their policyholders. She is an experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury and bench trials and arbitration. She also has experience defending employers against claims raised in state and federal administrative agencies, especially human rights agencies and wage and hour forums.

When employers need to investigate employment issues, Vanessa performs those investigations on their behalf and counsels her clients through the process of investigation and remedial measures. Vanessa is a certified Title IX investigator. Vanessa has significant experience in drafting employment agreements, restrictive covenants, separation agreements, and independent contractor agreements. She has created human resource functions and processes, and their implementing forms and policies for new or growing businesses, employee handbooks, operating manuals and other important employment policies.

Vanessa writes and speaks on employment law issues. She is a frequent speaker for the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law. She serves as a Management Co-Chairman of the Executive Contracts and Compensation Subcommittee and recently spoke at the ABA's Employee Rights and Responsibilities Subcommittee Meeting in March 2013. She has addressed members of the Employers Association of New Jersey on protecting proprietary information and the Society of Human Resource Professionals on Discrimination issues. She has been a contributing editor to the American Bar Association, Employment Section and BNA's jointly prepared State-by-State compendiums, including Covenants Not to Compete, Defining Proprietary Information, Employee Duty of Loyalty, and serves a Regional Editor for the Employment At Will treatise.

Vanessa is also an adjunct member of Clark Hill’s Litigation Business Unit.  In addition to her employment skills, Vanessa’s clients seek her practical business advice and counseling on a number of business issues including asset acquisitions, forming new business entities, amending bylaws and other corporate governance documents, risk management, preparation of contracts and business agreements, and training on fiduciary duties of trustees, directors, and officers.  Her clients also seek her experience in litigation and she has handled complex commercial cases such as LLC member disputes and actions for ouster/dissolution, restrictive covenant enforcement actions, contract disputes, construction disputes, and insurance coverage litigation.  Vanessa has a broad based litigation skill set having handled product liability, insurance coverage, personal injury, malpractice, and property disputes over her career.

Vanessa currently serves as the Co-Chair of Clark Hill BOLD - Princeton, the firm's strategy to promote women within the firm, the legal profession, and the business community.

Vanessa received her J.D., with Honors, from George Washington University Law School and her B.A., cum laude, from Bucknell University. She is licensed to practice in New Jersey and New York.

 Vanessa’s experience includes:

  • Defense of employment claims
  • Training, investigation, audits
  • Title IX investigation, counseling, training and litigation
  • Creation and implementation of employment policies and human resources practices
  • Restrictive covenant litigation and counseling
  • Representation of executives
  • Employment Agreements
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Provision of Mediation Services
  • Business Counseling
  • Complex commercial litigation
  • Products liability litigation

Publications / Presentations

  • Employment at Will, ABA/Bloomberg Treatise, Regional Editor and Chapter Author
  • “New York Strengthens Its Wage Laws”, JD Supra
  • “ ‘Blue Penciling’ of Restrictive Covenants is Alive and Well in New Jersey”, JD Supra
  • “Unpaid Internships:  Federal Law Evolving, Garden State Unchanged”, JD Supra
  • “New Jersey Enacts a New ‘National Standard’ for Equal Pay”, JD Supra
  • “Even Without Reform Legislation, New Jersey Employers May Have to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use”, JD Supra
  • “New Jersey Joins the Growing Number of States With Paid Sick Leave Laws”, JD Supra
  • Are You Prepared for Immigrant Enforcement, CFMA, April 2018
  • Co-Author, "Failure to train managers on FMLA costs emplyer $248K", Nevada Employment Law Letter, December 2017
  • Simple Steps Can Help Cos. Avoid Costly FMLA Verdicts, Law 360, November 2017
  • Presenter, “Age Discrimination Plaintiffs Hit the Jackpot: Lessons Learned from Recent Big Ticket Jury Awards,” Michigan Chamber of Commerce Webinar, June 2017
  • Presenter, "Hot Topics in Labor adn Employment Law," Delaware Valley Labor and Employment Law Conference, April 2017
  • Presenter, "Unemployment Hearings - Trends and Tips," Delaware Valley Labor and Employment Law Conference, April 2017
  • "Medical Residents May Sue Under Title IX," E-Alert, March 2017
  • Simple Steps Can Help Cos. Avoid Costly FMLA Verdicts, Law 360, November 2017
Rated AV-Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell
Top Legal Minds in New Jersey
Bar Register Preeminent Women Lawyers
Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
New Jersey Bar Association, Appellate Practice & Legal Education Committees; former Chair, Women in the Profession Section
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
SHRM, HRMA Princeton Chapter, Co-Legislative Director
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 InvestigationsSimple 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 2018NY and NJ Continue to Expand Employee Rights. Have You Been Keeping Up With the Changes?WEBINAR: Title IX: Hot Topics