333 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071-3197 USA
Katherine V.A. Smith is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Ms. Smith serves as co-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.
Ms. Smith has extensive experience representing employers in individual, representative and class action litigation at both the trial court and appellate level. Her practice focuses on high stakes litigation matters such as large-scale class actions, actions brought under the California Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), whistleblower retaliation cases, and executive disputes. She also advises employers on government investigations, enforcement of non-solicitation and non-competition covenants, reductions in force and reorganizations, independent contractor/employee status, C-suite on-boarding and separations, and other employment-related issues. She has also been involved in multiple independent investigations of high profile #metoo complaints alleging systemic sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
In 2022, Ms. Smith was ranked as a top California attorney for her work in Labor and Employment by Chambers USA and the Daily Journal; a top 500 Labor and Employment (Litigation) partner by Lawdragon; and a Leading Lawyer in Labor and Employment by The Legal 500 – United States. The Los Angeles Business Journal also recognized Ms. Smith as a 2022 “Leader of Influence” for Labor & Employment, and among its “Thriving In Their 40’s: LA’s Leaders of Influence” list. In prior years, Ms. Smith has been recognized as a “Labor & Employment Star” by Benchmark Litigation; a “Rising Star” by Law360; and an “American Rising Star” in labor and employment by Euromoney Legal Media Group.
Ms. Smith’s representative litigation matters include defending several employers in numerous putative wage and hour class and PAGA actions, including cases alleging misclassification of workers, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to provide accurate wage statements, and failure to reimburse business expenses; representing a major entertainment company in multiple forums in its actions against former employees for improper solicitation of employees and misappropriation of the company’s confidential information; and defending multiple employers in mass and class actions alleging systemic gender and race discrimination.
In addition to litigation, Ms. Smith also dedicates a significant portion of her practice to advising employers with respect to employment-related issues. She has managed company-wide wage and hour compliance audits, involving hundreds of job positions and all aspects of wage and hour compliance. And she has negotiated and drafted numerous severance and separation agreements for executives, including several CEOs.
Ms. Smith has represented clients in the entertainment, media, retail, restaurant, accounting, insurance, transportation, and tech industries, among others.
Ms. Smith earned her law degree in 2006 from the University of Virginia, where she was a member of the editorial board for the Virginia Law Review. She graduated cum laude from Duke University in 2003, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is admitted to practice in the State of California. Ms. Smith is also a member of the bar in the Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as numerous district courts. Ms. Smith also serves on the Firm’s Associate Compensation, Pro Bono, Community Affairs, and Global Diversity Committees, as well as on the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls’ Club of Santa Monica and the Board of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (Southern California).
University of Virginia - 2006 Juris Doctor
Duke University - 2003 Bachelor of Arts