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Holly Lake

Holly R. Lake


Holly R. Lake is an employment practices and litigation partner, recently recognized for the third consecutive year by the Daily Journal as a Top Labor and Employment Lawyer for 2023. She was also recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of 2020's "Top Minority Attorneys" and the Century City Bar Association as 2020 "Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year."

As a trial attorney and litigator, she has a breadth of experience defending clients across industries not only in single/multiple plaintiff cases but also defending employers in wage-and-hour class, collective and private attorney general representative actions under California laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. She acts as a partner to her clients, making it her business to understand their needs and goals, and then developing a legal strategy that's unique to the case at hand. Her approach has resulted in success before the Court of Appeal, trial victories and summary judgment wins.

She is also an advisor to her clients, partnering on all matters related to employment. Her experience includes offering advice and counsel on: OFCCP compliance and affirmative action program development; DEI initiatives; S-SEG strategies; pay equity analyses; strategies related to personnel movement and adverse impact; and day to day advice related to the management of personnel.

Bar admissionsCalifornia
CourtsSupreme Court of the United States


  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a jury trial involving claims of disability discrimination
  • Successfully negotiated resolution of many class, collective and representative actions throughout California
  • Marshalled evidence and developed a strategy to negotiate a favorable resolution of a race discrimination class action in the face of significant media attention
  • Successfully represented a global pharmaceutical company in misclassification collective action with wage and hour issues of first impression
  • Successfully first-chaired multiple labor arbitrations
  • Obtained several summary judgments in single-plaintiff and multiple-plaintiff cases
  • After obtaining summary judgment several matters, successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal, after which summary judgment was affirmed each time
  • Successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal in a matter related to issues of first impression governed by the California Education Code
  • Supported during audits by the Department of Labor/Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
  • Worked with clients to navigate pay equity issues, including those related to personnel movement and selection
  • Prepared initiatives with public and private employers on programs and analyses related to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Partnered with clients on enhancing strategies related to S-ESG initiatives
  • J.D., New York Law School 1999
    magna cum laude
  • M.P.H., San Jose State University 1996
  • A.B., University of California at Berkeley 1993


  • Daily Journal, "Top Labor and Employment Lawyer," 2021—2023
  • The Legal 500 United States
    2019-21 - Recommended, Labor and Employment Disputes (including Collective Actions): Defense
  • Daily Journal, "Top Labor and Employment Lawyer," 2021
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, "Thriving in their 40s," 2020
  • Century City Bar Association "Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year," 2020
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, "Top Minority Attorneys," 2020
  • Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal "Top Verdicts of 2011"
  • Southern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers magazine and Los Angeles magazine, 2004—2009


  • NLRB's new joint employer rule impact on the franchisor-franchisee relationships, 30 April 2020
  • New obligations targeting human trafficking for employers in California – and across the US, 11 February 2020
  • Coronavirus: key employment legal issues for US employers (United States), 10 February 2020
  • #MeToo Movement’s Impact on Law and Policy in Hollywood, Holly R. Lake, author, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, May 2019
  • A reminder on California #MeToo legislation, 27 Feb 2019
  • Co-author, "Settling The Matter Of Meal, Rest Breaks In California," Law360, May 2012
  • Contributor, "Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, Employee Mobility, Restrictive Covenants, and Trade Secrets," American Bar Association Business Law Section, March 2012
  • Co-author, "Gimme 5: Five Things Every Lawyer Should Know About the Difference Between Employees and Independent Contractors," Vol. 28 No. 11, An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, December 2008
  • Co-author, "Gimme 5: Five Things Every Lawyer Should Know About Contracting with the Federal Government and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs," Vol. 28 No. 9, An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, October 2008
  • Co-author, "Gimme 5: What Every Lawyer Should Know about Non-Compete Agreements in California," Vol. 28 No. 7, An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, August 2008
  • Co-author, "Meeting the Diversity Challenge: Race and Gender-Conscious Decisions in Recruiting," Practicing Law Institute, 36th Annual Institute on Employment Law, October 2007
  • Co-author "Traditional Labor Law and the Sports Industry: Selected Recent Developments," ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sport Industries, August 2004


Holly is a frequent speaker on a variety of employment matters for human resource organizations and other employer/management groups. Among her recent speaking engagements are the following:

  • "Board diversity: What mechanisms are there to bring about change, and how effective are they?" July 29, 2021
  • "Employment Law During Covid-19: Social Media, Politics & The Remote Workplace,"Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, November 10, 2020
  • "COVID-19: What Does Doing Business as Normal Mean Now? The Top 5 New Normals for Law Firms and Corporations," Corporate Counsel Women of Color 16th Annual Career Strategies Conference, October 3, 2020
  • "Navigating COVID-19: The latest guidance for US employers" National Bar Association, May 4, 2020
  • "California Employment Law Briefing," January 30, 2020
  • "Independent Contractors and the Gig Economy: What Happens Next?" National Bar Association, Miami, Florida, October 25, 2019
  • "Employment Litigation and Labor Law in 2030: Anticipation of the Changing Dynamics," National Employment Law Council, Palo Alto, California, October 4, 2019
  • "California Employment Law Briefing," January 15, 2019 (San Francisco), January 17, 2019 (Silicon Valley) and January 31, 2019 (Los Angeles)
  • "Sense on the Dollar: Pay Equity Trends and Strategies for Compliance," August 2018
  • "ACC-SoCal: Harassment Prevention 2.0 - Best Practices for the #MeToo Era," March 2018
  • "ACC-SoCal: Employment Law Toolkit for Startups," September 2017
  • "ACC-SoCal: From Body Art to Unisex Bathrooms," April 2017
  • "Business and Legal Resources (BLR): FMLA/CFRA Master Class," June 2014
  • "The Latest on Background Checks and 'Ban the Box' - What Employers Need to Know," Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) Mid-Year Legal Update, June 2014
  • Panelist, "Independent Contractors, Interns, and Volunteers: The High Price of Misclassification," National Employment Law Council (NELC) 2014 Annual Conference, April 2014
  • Panelist, "Ethics: Navigating Multiple Representations and Other Choppy Seas," National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) 2013 Annual Meeting, September 2013
  • "The Start of a Beautiful Relationship? Hiring in California," Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) 2013 Mid-Year Legal Update, June 2013
  • "Employee Compensation and Pay Equity: The Impact of The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Ricci v. DeStefano," Los Angeles County Bar Association, Employment Law Section Annual Retreat, April 2010 

Media Mentions

Civic and Charitable

  • Teach for America Los Angeles, Advisory Board Member, 2022 – present
  • Bel Air Preschool, President of Advisory Board, 2020 – present
  • Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, Board of Directors, 2019 – present
  • Junior League of Los Angeles, Corporate Secretary and Board of Directors, 2012-2013
  • Upward Bound House, Board of Directors, 2007-2013
  • The Links, Incorporated, an international public service organization, 2000 – present
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., an international public service organization, 2000 – present

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Global Advisory Board Member, Women in Law Empowerment Forum LLC, 2020 – present 
  • Member, Law360 Employment Editorial Advisory Board, 2020
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Sections
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Sections
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), faculty member, teaching trial advocacy at the North West Regional Trial Training Program in Seattle, in 2009, 2010 and 2012 − "Building Trial Skills: Southern California," for practicing attorneys in Southern California − "Effective Advocate Training Program," for practitioners in dependency court funded by the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Grant to teach trial skills to attorneys in California
  • Civil Referee Assisted Settlement Hearing Program of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Volunteer Settlement Officer 
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representative, July 2012-June 2016
  • Alumni Association for the University of California at Berkeley, Board of Directors, 2005-2009 – Vice President, 2007-2008