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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 1977
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1993
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1996

Judith Droz Keyes

Judy Judy KeyesJudith
Legal Project Manager
Judy Keyes is a labor and employment lawyer who conducts workplace investigations, mediates employment disputes, and partners with employer-clients to navigate the complex system of laws and regulations that govern the California workplace. She is recognized for her "out-of-the-box" thinking and ability to solve complex human resources and labor relations problems in effective and efficient ways. She is thorough and thoughtful in her analysis of workplace disputes. She counsels clients on how to: conduct investigations in fulfillment of legal requirements; avoid and respond to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims; comply with wage and hour laws (e.g., exempt vs. nonexempt, independent contractors, rest and meal periods); grant and limit periods of time off (e.g., leaves of absence, disability accommodation, vacation and sick leave, "kin care"); and reduce and reorganize staff to meet business goals. She is an accomplished coach and trainer.

Judy represents employers in all forms of dispute resolution from single-plaintiff and class action litigation in federal and state courts, to mediation and arbitration, to proceedings before federal and state agencies. She also represents employers in union-related matters, including NLRB proceedings, grievance handling, and contract negotiations.

Practice Highlights
  • Advises employers in a variety of nonprofit and commercial industries (e.g., financial services, telecommunications, health care, entertainment) on developing sound personnel policies and practices, responding to threats of violence, investigating claims of harassment and discrimination, and assessing demands for disability accommodation
  • Advocates for human resource best practices, including elimination of routinized performance reviews
  • Conducts thoughtful, effective workplace investigations
  • Assists employers and their executives in negotiating executive employment agreements, including change-in-control agreements, severance agreements and separation agreements
  • Trains human resources personnel and managers in managing within the law and in recognizing, preventing and responding to, and investigating, claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
  • Mediates and arbitrates employment and labor disputes
  • Defends employers in charges and lawsuits involving claims of failure to accommodate disabilities; sex, race, age, and religious discrimination; sexual harassment; wrongful termination; invasion of privacy; and defamation
  • Works with employers to respond to government wage and hour audits and to conduct self-audits
  • Represents employers in wage and hour class action lawsuits in federal and state courts
  • Represents unionized employers in grievance handling, negotiations, and NLRB proceedings

Additional Qualifications

  • Certified Legal Project Manager
  • Evaluator and Mediator of employment disputes, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Adjunct Professor, Labor Law and Evidence, Suffolk University Law School, 1986-1987

Professional & Community Activities

  • Member, Association of Workplace Investigators, 2015-present
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, 2001-present
  • Treasurer, 2016; Board of Directors, 2013-present  Nob Hill Association
  • Trustee and Committee Chair, Grace Cathedral, 2008-2017
  • Executive Committee Member, 1994-2011; Chair, 1998-1999, Bar Association of San Francisco, Labor and Employment Section
  • Board Member and Officer, 1992-1998; President, 1997, Alameda County Bar Association
  • Track Coordinator, 2010-2011, Speaker, 2014, American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section Annual Conference
  • Lawyer Representative, 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, 1999-2001
  • Advisory Board, Center for Social Justice, University of California Berkeley Law School, 2006-2016
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Evaluator and Mediator, 1985-present

Professional Recognition

  • Received the "Willard J. Wright Award for Outstanding Civic Activity," Davis Wright Tremaine, 2017
  • Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Labor and Employment (California) by Chambers USA, 2003-present
  • Named of one "San Francisco’s Top AV Rated Lawyers" by Martindale-Hubbell, 2015
  • Selected by Best Lawyers as San Francisco's "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2016 
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Labor and Employment Law by Best Lawyers, 2001-present
  • Selected to "Super Lawyers Business Edition" in Employment and Labor Law, Thomson Reuters, 2009-2012
  • Selected to "Northern California Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2004, 2006-2017
  • Elected to College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, 2001
"She is knowledgeable, calm, practical and a pleasure to work with." -Client Quote, Chambers USA 2017
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